One major topic of discussion currently taking hold of the fleet industry is the driver shortage. There are simply not enough fleet drivers to go around, and businesses suffer from it. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the problem, particularly for delivery fleets responsible for food products, PPE products, and medical supplies. With businesses reopening and the economy improving, the supply chain is under a massive strain to keep products moving. However, the driver shortage has not been resolved. Fleet businesses are under enormous pressure to retain the drivers that they have. We must determine why drivers are quitting to determine the best practices for keeping them on our teams.
Why Do Drivers Leave?
Truck driving is a hard job for various reasons.
First, the pay is not particularly high in most cases, especially when compared with the hours worked and the difficulty of the job. Many drivers don’t consider the risk worth the money. Secondly, it requires a lot of time away from home. Drivers with families or other obligations often don’t want to spend so much time on the road or quickly grow tired of it. They also may have issues with scheduling that cannot be reconciled. Finally, some struggling fleets may not provide the proper equipment to keep drivers on board. Drivers want to work with tools that make their jobs easier and safe. If these resources are not available, they may look for employment elsewhere.
A significant reason for the shortage is also the retirement of older drivers. The average truck driver is 55 years old. This means they will be retiring very soon, and unfortunately, it isn't easy to replace them. Younger drivers are simply not interested in the trucking industry because they do not want to be away from home for so long or engage in the taxing nature of the work.
As a result of these problems, the American Trucking Association worries that the trucking shortage could swell to 160,000 drivers short by 2028.
Tips for Retaining Truck Drivers
No. 1: Reward Top Performing Drivers
Creating an environment where drivers are incentivized to excel benefits everyone. Of course, drivers get the rewards incurred from a job well done, and businesses get drivers trying their best every day on the job. There are many metrics to measure when it comes to performance, but the most important is safety. With telematics, you can track bad driving habits like speeding, rapid acceleration, hard braking, and more.
You can go even further with tools like Azuga’s rewards program, with will track these behaviors and assign each driver a safety score. Then, it will accumulate these scores and reward the best driver with a gift card in a denomination of your choice. When drivers know that their efforts are appreciated, they are more likely to feel at home with the team and work harder for its benefit.
No. 2: Improve Communication
Poor communication is a common complaint among fleet drivers. It makes their day-to-day jobs frustrating and can even create a negative relationship between drivers and supervisors. Having an efficient field service management system in place can resolve this issue. Field service management software covers all aspects of dispatch, communication, and customer relations. Whenever managers and drivers need to update each other throughout the day, they can simply click a button on the software or app, which updates in real-time. This eliminates the need for frustrating games of phone tag or missed text messages. It improves driver-manager relationships and makes a driver’s job far easier every day.
No. 3: Prioritize Driver Training
Fleet driver training is a critical part of a fleet driver’s impression of your company. It shouldn’t just happen during onboarding but throughout their driving career. With all of the technology at your disposal today, you can provide more personalized training. Telematics helps you pinpoint a driver’s specific needs and create targeted training programs that address them. Tools like Azuga Coach do exactly this. General training is often boring, tedious, and wasted on drivers who know certain aspects already. But targeted training is personalized and engaging, helping drivers improve their habits.
Retain Your Drivers with Tools from Azuga
Investing in the right technology is a must if you hope to retain drivers in a competitive job market. Luckily, Azuga offers state-of-the-art tools that support your fleet, making it more efficient, productive, and safe so that your drivers feel confident and at ease working for your business. Try a demo of our software to see what you think.