If you asked anyone in the trucking industry what the most persistent problem is, chances are that the driver shortage would land somewhere close to the top of the list. Year in and year out, the driver turnover rate only seems to go up. To begin combating these challenges and building a strategy for lasting retention, let’s start by looking at a few simple ways to boost driver engagement.
Communicate Clearly and Measure Fairly
The effects of poor communication are well-documented. No matter what industry you point to, when communication breaks down and people don’t know where they stand, everyone suffers for it. Productivity decreases, morale goes down, and the chances that mistakes will happen go up dramatically. All of these things can be especially problematic in trucking where any mistake can be incredibly costly to the driver and to the fleet.
Communication problems between fleet manager and driver can be chalked up in part to the metrics that are being used to gauge performance. When drivers feel like they are being tracked unfairly on measures that they can’t control, they can easily become frustrated and uncommunicative. When fleet managers have to rely on faulty metrics, they get stuck in a holding pattern where they can’t communicate effectively with their drivers about how to correct any fuel efficiency problems and improve.
To combat this problem, Vnomic’s True Fuel® system measures each vehicle’s actual fuel usage in real-time and compares it to the maximum achievable fuel economy (Potential MPG). That way, drivers can see exactly where they excel and where they can work at improving their fuel efficiency. True Fuel® acts as the unbiased third party to provide fleet managers the data they need to measure improvement fairly in a way that doesn’t compromise the driver, and provides drivers with the tools they need to improve and be successful. The lines of communication are opened back up and drivers can engage in their own development without worrying about unfair or biased measurements getting in the way.
Another powerful way to engage drivers is to reward them for continued development and performance. The right incentive program gives your drivers a clear goal to strive for and focus their efforts on achieving. The best part is that with the foundation that True Fuel® lays out, it’s easy to measure drivers fairly and reward them for their high performance.
In general, rewarding your employees can play an incredibly powerful role in motivating higher productivity and engagement, and it’s more than just a carrot on a stick. It lets your drivers know their hard work is valued. It helps them understand that there is always a higher peak to strive toward, with something waiting for them when they get there. Drivers get something deeper and more meaningful than a nice gift; they get a purpose to drive the work they do.
Even if it costs extra to reward your drivers with fair incentives, those investments are worth it if it means increased engagement and retention. Nothing hurts trucking fleets and the trucking industry as a whole more than driver turnover. At best, it costs $3000-$5000 to hire one driver. Multiply that by the amount of drivers that fleets lose each year and the numbers quickly get out of control. It’s incredible how much money could be saved if turnover went down, even by a little bit. The costs of incentivizing your highest performers pales in comparison.
Make Drivers a Partner with True Fuel®
Measuring your drivers fairly, communicating clearly, and rewarding them for their hard work are all great on their own, but they also serve a larger purpose. As much as they want more money, truck drivers want respect and recognition too. Providing them with that can play a major role in engaging them and increasing the fleet’s overall retention. When you put it all together, truck drivers stop feeling like employees and start feeling like genuine partners in the fleet’s progress and development.
You do that by letting drivers take the reins on their own performance. You do that by giving them metrics they can control and the guidance they need to actively improve. You do that by communicating clearly and letting your drivers know that their personal success is aligned with the success of the fleet as a whole. And you do that by recognizing success and rewarding it fairly. These are all the things that True Fuel® is built to help your fleet achieve.