Companies able to retain their veteran staff members are in a better position to effectively compete. This is certainly true in the trucking industry, where experience is valued above almost everything else. But companies have to work hard to retain their veterans. They cannot simply assume that a worker will be content to stay with them just because a job exists. There are far too many other opportunities out there.
In the trucking industry, there are tens of thousands of other opportunities. The driver shortage is so profound that a seasoned veteran with a good track record could get hired just about anywhere. Companies know that, so they have to be on their toes all the time. They need to do whatever it takes to retain the experience they value so much.
Pay and benefits tend to be at the top of the list of retention and recruiting strategies. Still, managers need to ask if more can be done. Ask a driver and he or she’s likely to tell you that there are lots of things that can be looked at beyond just pay and benefits.
Be Considerate of Their Time
Truck drivers must pay attention to strict rules regarding work hours. Unfortunately, far too many shippers and receivers do not concern themselves with this. Drivers can sit for half a day or longer just waiting to be loaded or unloaded – time that counts against them even though they are not actually on duty. The company that stood behind its drivers and insisted shippers and receivers respect driver time would certainly earn the loyalty of those who make their living behind the wheel.
Weigh That Freight
There are plenty of shippers that neither have their own scales nor weigh the freight they load onto trucks. This leaves truckers in a precarious position. They must find scales themselves to ensure that they are not overweight, risking getting pulled over before they know how heavy their rigs actually are. And if law enforcement happens to be nearby as the truck approaches the scales, they may choose to weigh before the trucker has an opportunity to do it him/herself. Being overweight would mean a hefty fine even though the load was beyond the control of the driver. Shippers can, and should, change this.
Stand by Your Drivers
Even the most experienced driver can have an accident now and then. Unfortunately, any accident requiring contact with the authorities exposes a professional truck driver to incredible scrutiny at a level not faced by non-professionals. Drivers are immediately subject to alcohol and drug tests while log books can be examined as far back as eight days. Experienced drivers would be a lot more appreciative of their employers if those employers stood behind them in these kinds of incidents.
It’s All about Being Valued
At the end of the day, truck drivers just want to be valued by their employers. They are no different than employees in any other sector. Experienced truck drivers want to know that management actually appreciates the contributions they make. They want to know that if they give 110%, the company is going to do the same in return. In other words, loyalty works in both directions.
The most important thing trucking companies can do to retain their experienced drivers is to give their best effort to make sure drivers are treated well. That includes treating them with respect and acknowledging they are people with their own lives, their own families, and their own hopes and dreams. When truck drivers are seen as people rather than a commodity, they know it.