The younger generation has strayed from pursuing professional driving to partake in more favored professions for some time now. As a result, there has been a substantial shortage of drivers in recent years, despite the increasing demand.
According to Ryan Jenkins, a Millennial and Generation Z Speaker and Generations Expert, millennials are career impatient, fixated on flexibility and mobility, need to belong to a team, and are dependent on feedback. To tackle this issue, consider: prioritizing the needs and demands of millennials to company offerings and redefining how professional driving is perceived.
Driver Retention is Top Priority
Truck drivers are leaving the industry due to a lack of job stability, work-induced health issues, and retirement. And with the lack of interest among the younger generation, we are at a crossroads. Retaining your current drivers is arguably the most critical priority for your carrier to focus on.
Carriers are making more of an effort in driver recruitment and retention by increasing base pay and bonuses. But unfortunately, even after companies increase truck drivers’ pay, there is no significant difference in driver retention and increasing pay can only go so high. Moreover, even though companies are now paying almost double the amount in salaries, millennials are still hesitant about getting behind the wheel.
How Can you Keep your Known Drivers of Today?
When every driver counts, reducing driver turnover is necessary to ensure the smooth running of your business, if not the U.S. economy. Trucking accounts for most of the freight in America, with trucks carrying almost 73% of the tonnage transported in the U.S. However, as salary increases have failed to slow the decline of driver retention, companies need to double their efforts into creating a driver-centric culture.
Below are a few ideas that help bring together the millennial demands and the reasons we’re losing truck drivers to build a solid recruitment and retention game.
- Know Your Drivers: Your current drivers might be on the verge of being medically disqualified. 45%-55% of drivers are certified with less than one-year DOT medical cards. If your drivers are at risk due to health conditions, you can offer specific driver health programs to get them recertified with their two-year card, keeping them on the road.
- Listen to Your Drivers: Companies need to show drivers that their complaints and requests are essential. Therefore, hear them out with the utmost attention and resolve issues promptly. If you need an experienced professional to help them with their frustrations, it would be beneficial to remove barriers and give them immediate access to talk to someone professionally.
- Offer Incentives: Truck driving is a risky profession, and most companies do not offer health and safety incentives to drivers. That is why it is essential to build safety policies, provide health insurance programs, and CDL health coaching programs. Combine your health and safety programs with competitions or prize giveaways. Make it fun to get your drivers engaged.
- Create a Driver-Centric Environment: Creating a two-way communication system between employers and employees shows the drivers that they are vital members of the team. Moreover, providing them easy access to a counselor to share their personal or work-related frustration can improve work satisfaction.
- Maintain Equipment: When a driver comes to the employer with an equipment issue, a professional inspection should be completed to ensure the driver’s safety.
The shortage of truck drivers must be exclusively addressed to maintain the flow of supply and demand. As truck drivers are vital to the timely transportation of goods, companies need to offer better incentives such as health incentives, access to counselors, and driver-centric programs.
With changes that reflect the values of millennial workers, there will be a greater appeal to the truck driving industry. Thus, providing mend to the current crisis that the profession faces.