The heavy haul trucking industry is intertwined with virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, and trucks are consistently relied upon in the majority of communities in the country to deliver all of the products that are essential to their operations. Clearly, this is an industry which operates at an enormous capacity, and in order for it to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, carriers mustn’t slack on finding, recruiting, and retaining qualified drivers for each and every truck on the road. However, driver turnover and retention problems have proved to be a large roadblock in these efforts, and continue to persist. Retention issues are so common within the industry that they have become something of an accepted and expected obstacle. Some see it as something that is simply part of the process.
It is estimated that losing and replacing one driver in a trucking company costs and organization between $5,000 and $8,500, and up to $15,000 depending on the industry. This average cost per driver increases even more when the rate of turnover in the trucking industry is considered. Here we are left with a startling result that continues to persist in the industry, while the demand for long-haul heavy-duty truck drivers steadily increases at the same time.
Contributors to the Concern
There are a number of readily identifiable causes contributing to this rising dilemma. The most widespread driver concerns include:
• Lack of communication
• Feelings of lack of respect and value
• Strenuous time away from home requirements
• Pay/benefit issues
Drivers have consistently reported that factors that most heavily play into their decision to leave or stay with a carrier are company support: friendly managers, manageable schedules, driver appreciation and recognition, effectively trained dispatchers, and reliable training; work rewards: steadiness of work, benefits, and friendly coworkers; and non driving activities: extent of physical loading/unloading, friendliness of customers, and time lost waiting at customer locations.
Addressing the Causes for Concern Makes an Impact on Driver Satisfaction
All of the things mentioned above are routinely under-addressed, consistently leaving drivers dissatisfied and contributing to high driver turnover. Companies seeking ways to remedy these detrimental obstacles should look into finding appropriate rewards and incentives for their drivers in order to encourage loyalty and show that they care about the things that are preventing driver satisfaction. Companies that are reluctant to invest more in increased wages and benefits for their employees should beware that this will ultimately result in more loss for the company, as demand for workers continues to grow larger than the supply of individuals available or willing to be hired. Reducing driver turnover rates and improving driver retention starts at the most basic level of recognizing what the drivers need and deserve, and any attempt to find a solution elsewhere will result in a continually unsolved problem.