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Risk in Context

Ten Ways to Attract and Retain Qualified Drivers

Posted by Richard Bleser July 31, 2015

In the highly competitive market for qualified drivers, it’s becoming harder for companies to attract, hire, and retain quality drivers. According to recent surveys, three primary factors account for the growing concern: (1) a shrinking and aging pool of qualified drivers, (2) competition in pay and benefits, and (3) a challenging regulatory environment.

In addition, an employer’s equipment, facilities, and culture contribute to drivers’ career satisfaction. According to a Marsh Risk Consulting survey, driver tenure dramatically declines after three years of employment, suggesting that driver attitudes and perceived career opportunities deteriorate rapidly.

An Unstable Driving Force

Traditional printed media and phone campaigns alone cannot attract enough drivers. The tools used now are constantly changing as technology and social media evolve.

Yet even an effective recruiting campaign and screening process don’t necessarily translate to long-term fleet success. In the face of a shrinking labor pool, retaining your valuable, qualified drivers is equally important.

So how can you attract new, qualified drivers and lower turnover? The following best practices can help.

Best Practices to Recruit and Retain

Regardless of your fleet size or industry, you should be aware of and continually address these 10 core elements of recruiting, hiring, and retention.

  1. Strategy — What type of qualified drivers do you need, where are they located, and how will they be recruited and retained?
  2. Budget — How much funding will you direct toward recruitment and retention?
  3. Advertising — Does your campaign emphasize your company’s brand, values, benefits, and differentiators?
  4. Tracking metrics — Which metrics do you use to track and analyze driver activity, adherence to safety protocols, etc.?
  5. New driver orientation — How do you address new drivers’ concerns? What skills and safety guidance do you provide?
  6. Dispatchers and leaders — Do your dispatch operations personnel act as driver managers?
  7. Existing fleet retention — Are you assessing why drivers joined your organization, what keeps them there, and if they refer others? What benefits, bonuses, and career paths are offered? And are managers held accountable for and financially rewarded for retaining good drivers?
  8. Key factor management — Does management — from senior level to the front line — pay attention to key retention factors like the quality of equipment and facilities and how drivers are treated?
  9. Compensation — Does your company offer competitive compensation?
  10. Exit interview process — When a driver voluntarily exits the company, do you perform a structured exit interview? Are efforts made to recruit former drivers?

Outperforming in these areas should be your goal. By focusing on these 10 core elements, you can create a robust hiring and retention program and ultimately keep the skilled, career-oriented drivers your business demands.

Richard Bleser