How can I keep my drivers happy?
Between long-winded hauls across state lines to shorter local trips, it’s important for fleet operators to consider the morale and health of their drivers.
It’s proven that companies that prioritize direct communication with their drivers see better satisfaction rates and lower turnovers. According to the American Trucking Association, the demand for drivers has reached an all-time high with nearly 40,000 available positions. Given that trucking companies are struggling with retaining drivers in a competitive job environment, keeping current drivers happy is a good way to measure any trucking company’s success.
Discovering why drivers may be inclined to leave the business before it’s too late provides an opportunity to act accordingly and possibly even retain some of these drivers! Here are some tips on keeping drivers happy:
Communication is Key
Communication comes in many forms. Encouraging your drivers by responding promptly and providing them with positive feedback is a good place to start.
Consider organizing a daily check-in at the beginning of the workday, giving drivers a chance to speak about the previous day’s work and discuss any concerns. This also serves as an opportunity to talk about news services, safety tips, and customer inquiries.
Additionally, be transparent about policies. New drivers shouldn’t have any difficulty finding your company’s policies and procedures, whether that’s in print or online.
Get Drivers Involved
It can’t hurt to ask drivers for their opinions every once in a while. After all, they are the ones who can relay workplace conditions and whatever else happens on the road.
Fleets should put out online surveys and let their drivers be transparent on what changes they hope to see. Once the data is collected, managers should act on the results in a timely manner.
When it comes to the vehicle selection process, companies should consider asking drivers what features would help them be most efficient. These features may include - satellite radio, Bluetooth, extra storage, etc.
The bottom line is that drivers expect their employers to care about their safety.
Offer Better Benefits
Salary may not always be the deciding factor that makes or breaks a commercial driver’s choice to join or leave your company’s team. Your benefits package could be it.
Given that salaries are generally consistent across the country, your driver will need to see graduated incentives that are unique to your company. Graduated incentives ensure that the longer the driver remains with the company, the greater their benefits are.
This can look like raises at every 6-month interval. Other ideas are: bonuses, paid vacation time and home time.
Driver Health and Wellness
The facts are clear - drivers are most likely to be involved in vehicle accidents, have heart attacks or suffer from other injuries on the job that may even require them to leave altogether. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that 70% of long-haul truckers are obese and more than 50% are smokers.
Truckers tend to engage in minimal physical activity and often sleep for six or fewer hours. So what can fleet managers do to help promote better health practices?
- Conduct surveys on the types of health-related classes and/or information truckers may want
- Offer fitness programs tailored to their schedules
- Reward drivers for quitting smoking
- Encourage preventative healthcare practices
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