With a national turnover average of 95%, the trucking industry is one of the most volatile sectors for employers and employees alike. To combat these startling numbers, employers must start at the very beginning, by building a strong sense of loyalty between the organization and its drivers.
Here are five ways that organizations can build strong, long-lasting driver loyalty.
Make it easy for drivers to submit feedback.
In the world of trucking, everyone has an opinion as to how processes should be managed. When it comes to retaining drivers, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to submit feedback to your organization. It should be handled as an everyday aspect of workflow, to get rid of the “taboo” mentality that might be associated with typical corporate feedback, and replace it with a standard operating procedure.
When drivers feel comfortable submitting feedback to their hiring organizations, they’re more likely to be open and honest with their answers. They might also view it as an opportunity to establish a direct line of communication with managers, and rightfully so. When an organization asks for feedback, it should be receptive to it, whether positive or negative.
Take feedback into account.
Driver feedback should be used to update or adjust current operating procedures to reflect the valuable information that’s being shared. When drivers see their input being implemented into day-to-day workflows, they know their feedback is being taken seriously. Everyone likes to be listened to, and everyone feels good when their opinions are taken into account.
Moreover, if a company goes out of its way to not only ask drivers for feedback, but actually implement it into daily operations, it speaks volumes for the integrity and respect of the organization. If you’re looking to create life-long, value-based relationships with drivers, it starts with listening to what they have to say.
Foster in-person communication.
In today’s modern online world, so much communication is done via text messages and e-mails that it’s easy to forget about the importance of in-person communication. While technology is important to moving the industry forward, nothing can beat the sense of speaking to someone over the phone, or meeting face-to-face.
Even a quick phone call to check on how the onboarding experience is going can go a long way toward retaining the relationship down the road. Drivers get the message that you don’t just think of them as a way to get trucks on the road – you see them as people, and you value them as such.
Build valuable relationships with drivers.
In an industry with high turnover and tough competition, it definitely pays to develop strong relationships with drivers. This goes beyond speaking with them a few times during the application process. Management should make a point of checking in now and then to see how they’re doing, and asking if they have any issues they want to discuss.
In addition, employers should do everything in their power to help drivers succeed and grow in their positions, whether through providing access to the right training tools and resources, or introducing them to internal personnel who can help them move up the ranks. Think of it as treating drivers as CEOs of their own businesses. This level of trust can go a long way toward retaining drivers in the long run.
Ensure driver loyalty from the beginning.
Establishing lasting, value-backed relationships with drivers starts with the recruitment process. Without an easy, streamlined system for recruitment that improves the applicant experience, drivers won’t be around long enough for your team to focus on retention. Employers can start delivering value-added engagement to drivers with the first interaction. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a second chance at a first impression.
Jeremy Reymer is chief executive officer of DriverReach.
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