Reader Commentary on Retention Tips

We’ve gotten a lot of encouraging feedback from our subscribers and casual readers about the mini-series on Recruiting and Retention. 

Today, we’ll share some reader comments and suggestions on ways to influence both Recruting and Retention.

TIPS FOR EITHER RECRUITING OR RETENTION:

  • “If you’re not using them now, consider driver surveys.”
  • “Your current drivers may be able to provide insight into why they are loyal, what they’d look for if they were looking for another job at another company, what would make them consider staying here until they retire permanently from driving.”
  • “The driver survey process can be informal discussions, or formalized feedback. If you do implement any changes based on driver feedback, sell the fact that you implemented a driver suggestion. If you can’t implement their suggestions, offer a short reason why it’s not practical.”
  • “Keep rules simple and then enforce those rules consistently. It’s easier to recruit when the company is perceived as being fair with clear rules and expectations — no one likes surprises (either drivers or managers). If you want “rule followers” on your team, you need simple rules and fair, consistent enforcement.”
  • “Develop an advancement program or draw up the “career path” of a typical driver. Everyone wants an opportunity to move up somehow. Is there a way to advance in title, pay, and “seniority” and if so what are those titles, perks, etc.? Have drivers ever transitioned to management or other types of positions (can you cite a specific story of a driver who has moved up)?”
  • “Pay, Pay, Pay, – guess what drivers drive for…”
  • “From my conversations it is not always money”
  • “Most drivers that I’ve seen would rather have the $ up front, rather in a savings / retirement plan.”
  • “Another option is to offer benefits in a cafeteria type plan, so those who have working spouses with benefits, can opt for more money in their normal paycheck.”
  • “Consider promotion from within, someone who has been reliable driving fork-lift trucks on the shipping dock [may be another way to find drivers]”
  • “The best fleets have nice vehicles, assigned to one driver so they can fix them up like they like them and keep them clean. ‘Bells and whistles’ are desirable…”
  • “There is a lot to be said about keeping the driver in clean and well maintained equipment, SAFER results, if the account has a Pass rating instead of Inspect there is a good amount of time saved in roadside inspections”
  • “Dispatch attitude and tone directed at the drivers is important”
  • “EZ Pass and electronic toll options can save time and reduce paperwork”

TIPS FOR RETENTION:

  • “Orientation and Training. How much “hand holding” goes on with new employees versus drivers who’ve completed a year of service. Training isn’t just lecturing about rules and processes – it’s a chance for drivers to ask questions (if encouraged properly) and to provide feedback. Sometimes the “right” training isn’t what the management team “assumes” is needed – it may be on how to communicate with cranky or pesky customers/shippers. Refresher training isn’t just an investment of time and money, it’s also a way to acknowledge drivers who’ve been doing a good job and involve them in the training discussions/sessions.”
  • “Train, Train, Train. We are seeing that drivers actually like to receive quality, innovative training. After receiving it, they actually ask for more. The stereotypical image of commercial divers who loathe classroom training only applies if they’re being dragged into the classroom to hear the same old material they’ve already heard a thousand times. Their attitude, “I’ve been doing this for years. I could probably teach this course better than you!” But if you provide them with high-quality insight training, their attitude is, “I’ve been doing this for forty two years and really didn’t want to be here for this, but I learned something today. Thank you.” (I actually had a driver say that to me last week, and I’ve heard similar statements hundreds of times over the past couple of years)”
  • “Properly training drivers not only shows them you care as an employer and are prepared to walk the walk when it comes to safety, but it helps to prevent the crashes and violations that might lead to you having to terminate them.”
  • “Traditionally, we have thought of training as a way to help prevent crashes and protect ourselves in litigation, but we are now beginning to understand it can be another piece of the recruiting/retention puzzle. The key is that the training must be of high quality, and relevant.”
  • “Place all corporate purchases are done on a “rewards card” linked to a central account. The daily purchases add up and then “rewards points” are used to fund the driver safety pool for awards and trips, etc.”
  • “For retention using some of the new behavior tests to see if one has the “temperament” for driving I think is good and would be a predictor for longevity.”
  • “GPS in vehicles for those who have delivery type jobs are considered helpful. Especially if the driver doesn’t have to load the info; if they can do it from the company computer with the shipping load.”
  • “Home at night is the best for drivers. Even if the company needs to “relay” the load across the country. They can eat better and have a more stable family life. Their health is generally better.”
  • “Steady work with steady customers and routes.”
  • “Stable management with reasonable business policies and paperwork requirements”
  • “Scheduling the driver to be home on a regular basis. The longer the trip in the number of days the more likely that there are issues with turn over”
  • “Use of electronic tools and weekly settlements of out of pocket expenses. With the cost of fuel companies with a two week settlement of expenses with paper checks on return frequently have issues with drivers floating money. If they send via computer the data for expenses and the money is electronically returned to drivers accounts this is an asset.”
  • “Surprise drivers [that report to a central location] with a box lunch or healthy snacks. It shows you’re thinking about them”
  • “Always be honest – they may not like what you have to say, but they have to respect that you’re not patronizing them”
  • “Implement a communication plan – give them feedback, ask for feedback on your own performance as a management team. You may not like what you hear, but it’s a start towards something better”

We even got suggestions on books you might investigate as additional resources:

  • Motor Fleet Safety Supervision: Principles and Practices –by NATMI (North American Transportation Management Institute)
  • You’re NOT the Person I Hired! — By Janet Boydell, Barry Deutsch, Brad Remillard
  • Perfect Phrases for Perfect Hiring: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Interviewing and Hiring the Best Employees Every Time — by , Lori DavilaMargot King
  • Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees (Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting and Orienting New Employees) — by Diane Arthur 
  • The Employee Recruitment and Retention Handbook — by Diane Arthur
  • 101 Strategies for Recruiting Success: Where, When, and How to Find the Right People Every Time (Paperback) — by Christopher W. Pritchard
  • The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It’s Too Late — by Leigh Branham
  • Employee Opinion Questionnaires: 20 Ready-to-Use Surveys That Work — by Paul M. Connolly, Kathleen G. Connolly
  • Employee Surveys: Practical And Proven Methods, Samples, Examples — by Paul Connolly
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