Driver retention can be a serious issue for some fleet managers. With the industry short around 35,000 drivers, keeping those drivers you do have is imperative. We have talked about tips on keeping drivers happy before, but that was advice from our point of view. This time, let’s delve into how to get your drivers’ point of view on job satisfaction and retention…
Drivers don’t decide to quit in an instant
Employers and fleet managers are often surprised when an employee unexpectedly gives their two-week notice. Usually, the employee has been unhappy at work for some time, but no one in management knows it, so the resignation seems to come out of nowhere—but it didn’t.
If management had some inkling that the employee was unhappy earlier on, before the decision to quit was made, there’s the possibility that issues could have been addressed and the employee wouldn’t ever get to the point of saying, “I quit.”
Typically, however, management doesn’t know anything is wrong because there isn’t a culture that encourages that kind of communication.
Do regular check-ins and know which drivers have issues
What can you as a fleet manager do to know when drivers have issues and might contemplate leaving? Make regular check-ins a part of your processes.
Many organizations do “exit interviews,” somehow thinking the only time to ask an employee for input is when that employee is walking out the door. Why not turn that around and seek that kind of information as part of how you manage?
For ways to open up the lines of communication between you and your drivers so you can nip problems in the bud before they become grounds for quitting, try these suggestions:
As you open up the lines of communication, also be open (and responsive) to suggestions and complaints. When a controversial issue comes up, don’t try to defend yourself or the organization. Listen and try to see the issue through the driver’s eyes. It might be something you can calmly explain, such as why schedules or routes were changed. Or it might be something you’ll need to research, such as why a paycheck was docked. Listen and take in what the driver is saying, then work to resolve the issue if you can. Also be responsive to emails and phone calls. When a driver is reaching out to you, reach right back so they know the lines of communication are open–literally.
Additional resources for retention and communication
For additional information on driver retention and better communication skills, see these earlier articles we’ve published on these topics:
And if any of the problems have to do with truck cleanliness, call on Fleet Clean for exterior fleet washing and now interior cab cleaning too!