The staffing shortage in the United States has reached crisis levels in some industries, including the trucking industry. Many trucking companies report that they’re having a challenging time retaining their long-haul drivers. It shouldn’t be a surprise – long-haul trucking isn’t an easy career. Many drivers are away from their families for long stretches, driving in sometimes dangerous conditions and having to sleep on the road. If your company is having trouble keeping drivers on the payroll, there are ways to retain current drivers and entice new ones that move beyond a salary increase (although that should be step one!)
Long-haul driving is a solitary job. Drivers often feel their employers don’t understand the heavy toll the job takes. If your company has lost touch with the needs and challenges of your drivers, set up regular communication with your drivers. Whether it’s a phone call, a Zoom meeting, or some other method, listen to your drivers’ concerns and address any issues quickly. If you are getting similar complaints from multiple drivers, it’s time to rethink your process. Simply knowing you are listening and responding can boost driver morale.
Comfortable and Reliable Rigs
When you’re doing over-the-road runs, you’re living in your truck. Make sure your trucks are not only dependable on the road but comfortable for drivers. Invest in cabs that have spacious interiors and sleeping accommodations. Periodically pay someone to professionally clean your trucks inside and out so they are attractive, smell fresh, and provide a safe, comfortable place to sleep.
Consider the following tips for improving driver comfort:
- Install ergonomic seats that support the back and neck properly
- Include Sirius radio and other subscriptions in your trucks to keep drivers engaged and alert
- Provide a truck cab heater for overnight assignments
- Invest in top-notch coverage for roadside service and emergencies, so drivers feel protected and valued
Let Drivers Bring Pets
Some long-haul drivers have companion pets, usually small breed dogs, to keep them company on the road. If you don’t allow your drivers to do this currently, rethink your stance. Any potential for minor damages caused by a small dog is far outweighed by the happiness provided. Drivers who have a dog riding with them are more alert and less stressed. They also take regular breaks for their pets, which improves driver safety.
Schedule Regular Time Off
Drivers with family and friends need time off to recharge and see their spouses and kids. If your current scheduling practices make it difficult for drivers to plan that family time, change how you schedule drivers. Whether it’s time off every three weeks, a guaranteed long weekend after two weeks on the road, or some other combination, a regular, reliable schedule is crucial. Knowing they can rely on having specific dates and times off is significant for drivers with families.
Truck drivers are the backbone of shipping and fulfillment services for nearly every industry. Drivers today know this and expect appropriate incentives and accommodations from trucking companies. Keep the above tips in mind for your trucking company to hire and keep the best drivers available.