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How to Recruit and Retain Good Truck Drivers

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Despite the Shortage, How Can You Retain Good Truck Drivers?

You’ve probably read the headlines recently about the truck driver shortage, and may even be feeling the effects yourself. The mismatch between good, available drivers and the number of truck driver jobs means it’s more important than ever to keep your best drivers from going to another carrier.

The best way to prevent turnover is to focus on it from the beginning of the hiring process. Pre-employment testing can sift out who is a good fit for the job – and who isn’t. This can be done by using various personality tests or screening questionnaires. If you have very high turnover, it may be worth working with a consultant who can design a program that fits your company’s needs.

The cost of obtaining a commercial driver’s license keeps many people who would be qualified from joining the business. By offering driver training programs and continuing professional training for those who are experienced, you can distinguish yourself from other trucking companies.

Another clear way to keep your best drivers around is to offer higher pay, competitive with other carriers, and better employment benefits.  The most important thing is for drivers to feel like the good work they do is valued. You can send that message to them by paying them a fair wage. Great health insurance, reasonable amounts of paid time off, retirement planning options such as 401Ks and other perks work as great retention tools, as well.

Some trucking companies are coming up with innovative reward programs to make drivers happy. They catalog certain metrics they want drivers to meet and then reward them based on good behavior. For example, each time a driver is on time for a delivery or pick up, he or she is entered into a drawing for a free iPad. The qualifications or the prizes can vary, but the purpose is to incentivize good behavior and to show that it is valued.

Above all, the most important thing employers can do to keep great drivers around is to treat them fairly and listen to them when they have frustrations. A recent study by global consulting firm Accenture shows that 2 million Americans quit their job each month. Of that figure, 31 percent quit because they don’t like their boss and 43 percent quit because they were not recognized for good work. Happy drivers add to a better business and a reduction in costly turnover.