Communication is key to driver retention

By Joseph Evangelist

Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange

Most fleets are trying to solve the driver turnover problem and perhaps some of the findings from a recent Stay Metrics report can offer valuable insight. The report entitled, “Is Early Turnover Damaging Your Business?,” showed that a significant number of drivers that leave a fleet within the first 90 days of employment do so for reasons that the fleet manager has control over.

Let’s start by looking at some of the facts. The American Trucking Associations announced that driver turnover in the third quarter of last year was at 95%. And studies show that 70% of driver turnover happens in the first year, with 35% leaving in the first three months.

Drivers who are new to your organization see the recruiter as the embodiment of your organization. Stay Metrics found that drivers who said they were dissatisfied with a recruiter were more likely to leave the fleet. In fact, high satisfaction with a dispatcher reduces turnover by nearly 16% early in a driver’s tenure with a fleet.

But recruiters are not the only ones who can impact a driver’s decision to stay on with a fleet. Dispatchers too play a big role in keeping drivers happy. The Stay Metrics study found that satisfaction with a dispatcher reduces turnover by 15.8%.

Good relations between drivers and dispatchers are critical throughout a driver’s time with a fleet, but are especially important in the early days of employment. This cannot be emphasized enough. Is the job working out as described? Clearing up any misunderstandings early on is key to a happy driver.

What this information is telling you is that communication between recruiters/drivers and dispatchers drivers is critical, especially when drivers are new to your organization.

Consider some additional training for your recruiters and dispatchers so they can recognize signs of dissatisfaction in new drivers as soon as they surface. This will allow you to address the driver’s concern as quickly as possible, resolve the problem and continue to build a strong relationship between the new driver and your fleet.

One final and interesting fact from the survey: contrary to what many people believe, younger drivers (a.k.a. millennials) are no more likely to leave your fleet soon after they start than baby boomer drivers.

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