Truck driver recruiting and retention practices are really an exercise in adjusting company culture, Retention Coach Ray Haight said during a Truckload Carriers Association webinar where he shared top tips for creating and maintaining a driver-centric culture within a company.
In order to create a culture of commitment at a company, fleet owners and managers need to be leaders, rather than bosses, Haight said. And as leaders, they must teach their drivers how to trust their instincts, encourage them to offer insights, and offer them what they need to succeed. To accomplish this, Haight suggested focusing on getting these five things right: pay, safety, communication, recognition, and self-actualization.
1. Competitive Pay
The No. 1 factor in attracting and retaining top talent is to ensure pay is the top percentile. Beyond having a high gross pay package, drivers also need to know they will have enough work to get there.
2. Safety Culture
Drivers want to work at safe companies, a designation that can’t be bought – only earned. Second to pay, safety is the next most important thing for drivers, and companies need to capitalize on it, Haight said.
“Wrap your branding around this message,” he said. “Flaunt your good safety record.”
3. Communication and Support
Company officials should create a “success plan” for their drivers that establishes minimum expectations for money, home time, and other goals and aspirations.
This success plan can include support for their family life, as well. If they have a goal to own a home, for example, the fleet manager can incorporate that into the driver’s success plan. Once a plan is created, the fleet manager can check in weekly and discuss if expectations are being met.
“Communication is the baseline for culture,” Haight said. “It is empowering to the individual.”
Fleet owners and managers should showcase their employee’s successes to let them know their efforts are appreciated.
“People walk taller when they are recognized for their efforts, including what they do on the job, off the job and in the community,” Haight said.
When owners give genuine thanks and appreciation, it goes a long way.
“Professionals want to be around progressionals,” Haight said.
If fleets want to attract professional drivers, they should support those drivers by providing tuition reimbursements or offering new equipment. The secret to retention is to build value, and that will drive a positive sense of community, he said.
“Get the money and safety right. Those things are huge and the biggest for recruiting – but if you don’t have the other [three factors], then you’re going to have high turnover and it's going to be hard to get over that," Haight explained.