Transportation fleet operators are finding that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract, hire and retain quality truck drivers as the U.S. driver shortage continues to intensify.
Fleet operators are bound to experience growing demands from drivers to include higher earning potentials. Regardless of what these drivers are hauling, a reputable driver is a fleet operator’s most critical asset. The economy will likely continue to rebound, and as a result, nearly every segment wants to move product to their end users.
This shortage of drivers has continued to deteriorate the industry for years now. Drivers from the Baby Boomer generation, who had made transport their career are now retiring. Very few of the millennial drivers are willing to be away from their homes and families for weeks on end while delivering cross-country loads. Estimates made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics say that the current average age of U.S. commercial transport driver is 55 years of age. According to a DAT Solutions analysis, at the beginning of 2018, there would only be one truck available for every 12 loads that required transport. This the lowest recorded ratio since 2005.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has reported that trucking is responsible for approximately 70% of the transportation of goods and services. It’s time to address how fleet operators may improve their opportunities to attract, hire and retain quality drivers to serve all of the American industries who desperately require their services.
Proper Recruitment Practices –
• Be sure that you’re hiring honest and effective recruiters. They should be properly trained in the trucking industry and your policies.
• Recruiters must be honest with every applicant concerning pay structure and estimated time at home.
• Utilize Social Media, state-based military, and veteran programs to hire reputable drivers.
• Offer driver referral bonuses to be paid when a new driver is acquired as a result of another driver’s referral.
Recruiters Must Carefully Review Applications for Employment to Avoid Unacceptable Drivers –
• Avoid drivers with excessive turnover in their employment information. This should be a red flag to any recruiter as any good and satisfied driver will have remained with one company for extended amounts of time.
• Ask questions of the driver to ensure that the driver is in alignment with your current company culture.
• Recruiters must consider the Pre-Employment Screening (PSP) report provided by the FMCSA that will provide information about the driver’s safety records.
• Recruiters should also carefully review the driver’s Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) which is generally issued by the driver enforcement agency that also issued your CDL license.
Provide a Well Maintained Fleet –
• Reputable truck drivers will be more inclined to work with companies that keep their trucks clean and mechanically well maintained.
• Any reputable driver will refuse to step into any truck that may cost him/her money in repairs and roadside inspections. Should proper truck maintenance become an issue, you should not expect that the driver will remain with your company.
Provide Quality Orientation and Keep it Positive –
• If you’ve carefully qualified a driver, you will have paid particular attention to their safety reports. If the reports are clean you will have no reason to stress consequences to safety issues.
• Provide a positive orientation period that will leave the driver comfortable with the fact that you trust their abilities and past experiences.
• Consider provision of an introduction to other company employees, especially your dispatchers and educate them with regard to all other aspects of the company.
• Allow the driver to begin working as soon as possible, once orientation is complete.
Provide Fair Driver Compensation –
• Truck driving is one of America’s most challenging occupations and compensation has been a serious issue for several years. Be sure that the pay that your company advertises reflects the same in take-home pay.
• Make sure your recruiters are correctly informing applicants concerning your complete package including reimbursement and retirement plans.
• Be sure that your payroll processing procedure will ensure that every driver is compensated on time every time.
Provide Well Trained and Empathetic Dispatchers –
• Educate dispatchers on all issues pertaining to the trucking industry so that they can provide a smooth process for your drivers every time.
• For new drivers, provide a dispatcher that is dedicated just to them.
• Provide an ombudsman with the intention to ensure that all issues that should arise between driver and dispatcher are handled with a positive outcome every time.
Keep Your Loads Moving Constantly –
• Truck drivers need to keep moving so don’t leave them stuck or sitting at terminals. Less movement, less pay, it’s not to be tolerated any longer.
Keep In Touch With Your Drivers –
• Train dispatchers to keep drivers informed if they may be heading into bad weather or traffic.
• Offer better routes where it’s possible to do so.
Create a Company That Drivers Will Be Proud to Work For –
• Provision of uniform shirts, jackets, patches, T-Shirts, hats, or even things that drivers and employees can give to others along the way to enhance your specific brand.
Incentivize Your Drivers –
• Last but far from least; offer cash, gift certificates and/or other rewards to any driver who maintains an exemplary safety record. Once they’ve completed the quarter, they will stand with pride with their accomplishments and your company will reap the benefits of these recognitions.
• Advertise these perks with your ad to hire truck drivers.
If you have other ideas about how to effectively hire reputable drivers, we would love to hear about them.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: