Fleet management can be a challenging job. Monitoring all vehicles, drivers, violations, and important metrics and data points can be overwhelming. In recent years, fleet managers have also been dealing with another problem—driver shortage and retention.
According to surveys, more than 50 percent of truck drivers leave their jobs within the first six months. This makes it tough for fleet managers to nurture a workforce that can uphold the carrier’s safety, service, and reliability standards.
Here are a few steps that fleet managers can take to improve the driver retention rate.
1. Earn the trust of your drivers
If you want to improve the driver retention rate, earning the trust of your drivers is a good place to start.
First, try to be more approachable. Organizing regular meetings with the company’s drivers is a step in the right direction. In doing so, you can establish yourself as a fleet manager who’s approachable, supportive and has an open-door policy.
Talking to your drivers face-to-face enables you to share your expectations while giving them an opportunity to voice their concerns. Just be sure to stay consistent and be there to answer their questions, even when the meetings are over. This leads to a two-way communication channel, which may have a significant impact on overall retention and driver happiness.
Another important point to remember is to set clear expectations and leave no room for ambiguity or confusion. Transparency and clear expectations can help you earn the trust of your drivers because they will know where you stand.
2. Build a more robust mentorship program
Just like professionals in other fields, truck drivers appreciate being acknowledged and valued. Drivers should feel that management pays attention to them as individuals and does not consider them mere statistics in reports.
Fleet managers can make drivers feel valued by designing mentorship programs suited to their specific needs. This may include assigning experienced truckers and mentors to guide younger employees on how to deal with the everyday challenges of being a truck driver.
Not only will a mentorship program help new drivers improve and address their weaknesses, but it may also give them the opportunity to form positive relationships within the company.
Start by identifying drivers who require coaching and mentorship. To help contain the early driver turnover rate, you can also start mandatory mentorship programs for new drivers—especially during the first couple of months of their employment.
3. Actively seek feedback
Actively seeking feedback is key to being a good fleet manager. Truckers face numerous challenges every day. Hearing the problems they are facing can ease some of their stress and help them feel valued. This also includes seeking feedback about the company as well as the management style.
A good strategy is to run anonymous surveys or group chats. Give them an outlet where they can safely share their opinions and put forward suggestions.
Whatever they say, always be thankful for the feedback you receive. It may encourage drivers to be more open and cooperative when tackling important issues. Driver retention rate may improve once drivers realize that their opinions are valued in the company.
4. Invest in better equipment and maintenance
Truck drivers may not be around for long if they’re not happy with the vehicle they operate. Poor equipment and maintenance schedules won’t help improve the retention rate in your fleet.
Implement a fleet preventive maintenance plan. Scheduling regular vehicle inspections should be a part of your regular fleet maintenance plan. You can also leverage the power of the Motive ELD solution which automatically monitors fault codes through the direct connection to on-board vehicle diagnostics. If an issue occurs, the Motive ELD alerts fleet managers through a fault-code notification.
For more information, learn how the Motive ELD help you catch vehicle maintenance issues early with fault code detection and real-time alerts.
5. Improve working conditions
As a fleet manager, it is your job to improve the working conditions for your drivers.
Introduce competitive salary packages for your drivers and promote healthy competition with performance-based compensation and reward systems. Identify the best performing drivers (e.g., drivers with the best safety scores and lowest unsafe driving behavior) and offer monetary and non-monetary rewards. It may increase loyalty and retention rate. It may also encourage other drivers to be safer on the road.
If you are managing long-haul drivers, make sure to create their schedules with their personal time and families in mind. You will want to offer them a healthy work-life balance if you want to keep them happy.
In the case of an accident, protect your drivers when they are not at fault. Front-facing smart dashcams can help you see things from your driver’s perspective and enable you to protect them against fraudulent claims.
Driver shortage and retention are growing problems in the trucking industry. Fleet managers should play crucial roles in ensuring that the driver retention rate in their fleet is not affecting efficiency and profitability.
For more tips on fleet management, stay tuned.