6 Ways to Tackle the Truck Driver Shortage Head On in 2018

Posted by Sharon Ernst | December 28, 2017 | blog, Newsletter
Dec 2017 services green semi truck for truck driver shortage vs retention

Time and time again, we come across the same compelling topic in the industry news: the truck driver shortage. Yet we don’t see anyone putting forth one easy or definite solution for addressing it. Why? Because there isn’t any easy or definite solution. The reasons for the shortage are complex, and therefore, so are the possible solutions.

Now that the American Trucking Association (ATA) has put together a workforce development committee to look for answers, we thought it might be time to call on all fleet managers to commit to proactively addressing the issue in the new year.

As 2018 approaches, and we hear about Uber Freight stealing away drivers and self-driving trucks stealing away jobs, there might be some comfort in taking steps to ensure that we are doing all we can to retain the drivers we have—and provide an inviting workplace to potential recruits.

With that in mind, we offer six ways to tackle the driver shortage head on in 2018, all topics we’ve addressed in the past as advice for improving both retention and recruitment of drivers:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the reasons drivers leave, so you can combat those reasons. Fleet managers often assume it’s all about the paycheck, but it’s not. Drivers want to know their time is valued. They want good communication at work. They want work/life balance. Find out why your drivers go and do what you can to give them reasons to stay instead.
  2. Invest in your managers, or, if you’re the fleet manager, invest in yourself. Learn to be a better manager and your drivers will be more likely to stay.
  3. Keep your drivers healthy. Truck drivers tend to have weight and health issues, but these can be avoided by being proactive and supportive. Learn easy ways to encourage and reward healthy habits for your drivers, and they’ll be able to stay working while also growing more loyal to your company.
  4. One way to keep drivers healthy is to keep cabs clean. Long-haul drivers in particular end up with cabs that are not only unpleasant but also unhealthy. Invest in the occasional deep cleaning of these cabs and you’ll create a healthier work environment while also boosting morale by showing drivers you care.
  5. Show your drivers you appreciate them, not just during the holidays when the pressure is on to do so, but all year long. You obviously do appreciate them! But they need reassurance, just like we all do.
  6. Forget the exit interviews, and ask your drivers for input while they are still working for you. Wouldn’t you rather find out about problems while you still have a chance to act on those problems and keep your drivers employed with you?

Drivers are aging out and younger people are reluctant to choose truck driving as a career. That means you’re better off in the long run by focusing on the retention of the drivers you already have rather than working on recruiting new ones.

Because no one is going to come up with one easy answer to the truck driver shortage—ever.

******

Improve Manager Training to Improve Driver Retention
Fleet managers play a huge role in the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of drivers. Invest in management training and you might find more drivers stay with your company for the long haul. Read more…

10 Reasons Why Drivers Quit
If you think truck drivers leave solely based on the dollar amounts they see on their paychecks, think again. The reasons are more numerous and complex than that. Read more…

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