A truck driver in his truck smiling at the camera outside his window
Jul 6, 2023 — Carly Miller

Truck Driver Retention: Keeping Drivers the First 180 Days

The trucking industry has long been plagued by high turnover rates among drivers, especially within the first 180 days of employment. This problem can be expensive and time-consuming for recruiters and damage a company’s reputation. To address this challenge, there are several strategies that trucking companies can use to improve truck driver retention during this critical period.

By implementing a solid driver retention program and prioritizing strategies that target truck driver turnover, you can create a work culture that encourages drivers to stay with the company long-term.

This blog post will delve into the most effective driver retention strategies and how they can ultimately reduce driver turnover rates and increase job satisfaction and loyalty.

The Importance of Truck Driver Retention

A truck driver holding on to the side of his truck and smiling at the camera

Truck driver retention is a critical issue in the transportation industry. The truck driver shortage has been a significant concern for the industry, and retaining drivers is just as important as recruiting new ones. Professional drivers are an essential part of our economy, and without enough qualified truck drivers, the supply chain could be severely disrupted.

One of the main reasons it’s crucial to reduce driver turnover is the cost of recruiting and training drivers. Recruiting drivers and providing them with the necessary training can be expensive. Retaining existing drivers can save companies time and money by avoiding the costs associated with recruitment and training.

Another reason why it’s crucial to improve driver retention is that experienced drivers are more efficient and safer than new drivers. Professional drivers know how to navigate challenging road conditions and can help ensure that deliveries are made on time. They also better understand the importance of maintaining their equipment, which can help prevent breakdowns and delays.

Moreover, retaining truck drivers can improve customer service. Drivers who have been with a company for a long time are familiar with specific routes and customers. They can build customer relationships and provide a higher level of service than someone new to the job.

Finally, driver retention can lead to increased job satisfaction and morale. Companies that invest in their drivers and take steps to retain them create a positive work environment. When drivers feel valued and appreciated, they are likelier to stay with the company and perform at their best.

Truck Driver Turnover: Why Do the First 180 Days Matter?

Two red trucks

The first 180 days of trucking employment are crucial for the driver and the company. During this time, the driver is getting acclimated to the job and learning the ins and outs of the company’s operations.

For the company, it’s an opportunity to ensure that the driver is a good fit for the organization and has the necessary skills to perform the job safely and efficiently.

This period is also when most accidents occur, so companies must provide extensive training and support to help new drivers adjust to the job’s demands.

The first 180 days are also critical for the driver’s career development, as many companies have specific requirements that must be met before a driver can receive a pay increase or other benefits.

Therefore, recruiters investing in their new drivers during these crucial first six months are more likely to increase driver retention rate, ultimately leading to a more experienced and productive workforce.

12 Strategies to Retain Drivers the First 180 Days

A truck driver holding on to the side of his truck and looking at the camera

Implementing truck driver retention programs can lead to a better experience for both motor carriers and drivers. Employers can reduce their turnover rate and ensure a more stable workforce by investing in driver retention programs that prioritize driver satisfaction and well-being.

Additionally, implementing driver retention strategies can increase employee engagement and help attract great drivers looking to switch jobs.

Ultimately, following the strategies outlined below will lead to happier drivers, more efficient operations, and a better overall experience.

Provide Thorough Training

Trucking recruiters should provide comprehensive and ongoing training to new drivers to ensure they have the skills to drive safely and efficiently. This can include training on company policies and procedures, defensive driving techniques, and vehicle maintenance.

Recruiters should also provide ongoing training to help drivers stay up-to-date with industry changes and regulations. By providing continuous learning opportunities, you can help drivers feel confident and prepared to meet the demands of their job.

Establish a Truck Driver Mentor Program

Assigning a mentor to a new driver can be an effective way to help them adjust to their new job and provide support and guidance. A mentor can serve as a sounding board for drivers, helping them navigate challenges and offering advice on improving their performance.

A mentor can also provide valuable driver feedback to the company on improving its training and onboarding processes. By fostering a culture of mentorship, companies can create a supportive work environment that helps drivers feel valued and supported.

Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

To attract and retain talented drivers, recruiters should offer competitive compensation and benefits packages. This can include competitive pay, health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks such as flexible schedules or paid time off.

Offering these benefits can help drivers feel valued and keep fleets moving. It can also help you stand out from competitors in the industry and attract the best talent.

Cultivate a Positive Work Environment

Creating a positive work environment is critical to reducing your turnover rate. You can do this by recognizing and rewarding drivers for their accomplishments and providing opportunities for career advancement.

This can include bonuses for safe driving, recognition for meeting or exceeding performance goals, and opportunities for training and development to help drivers advance in their careers. Creating a positive work environment can foster a sense of loyalty and commitment among your drivers.

Develop an Open-Door Policy

Developing an open-door policy can be beneficial for both recruiters and drivers. By encouraging drivers to voice their concerns and provide feedback, you can learn about any issues impacting driver job satisfaction and address them promptly.

This can also help create a culture of trust and transparency, increasing driver loyalty and reducing your driver turnover rate.

Conduct Regular Check-ins With Drivers

Conducting regular check-ins with drivers ensures they adjust well to their new job.

Schedule regular meetings with drivers to assess their satisfaction, address any issues or concerns they may have, and guide them as needed. This can help drivers feel valued and supported, increasing their likelihood of staying long-term.

Support a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Recognizing the importance of work-life balance is critical to retaining drivers during their first 180 days. Truck drivers work long hours and often spend extended periods away from their homes and families.

By providing support and resources that help drivers manage their personal and professional lives, such as flexible scheduling or assistance with childcare, you can show drivers that you genuinely care about their mental health and well-being.

Prioritize Driver Safety

Prioritizing safety is critical to retaining drivers during their first 180 days and beyond. Companies should provide high-quality equipment, adhere to strict safety protocols, and offer ongoing safety training to help more drivers stay safe on the road.

By prioritizing safety, you can show drivers that you care about them and create a culture that helps reduce accidents on-the-job.

Build Relationships With Drivers

Building new relationships with drivers is essential to retaining them during their first 180 days. Recruiters should try to get to know each driver, learn about their aspirations and goals, and understand what motivates them.

This can help you create a personalized approach that better meets the individual needs of each driver. Creating meaningful connections with drivers can also foster a sense of loyalty and commitment that helps retain your drivers long-term.

Stay Current With Industry Trends

Staying up-to-date with industry trends is essential for recruiters to attract and retain drivers. This includes staying current with new technology, regulatory changes, information on the status of the driver shortage, and any other developments that may impact the trucking industry.

By keeping current with industry trends, recruiters can provide new drivers with the most up-to-date information and ensure their job offers remain competitive.

Offer Professional Development Opportunities

Recruiters should provide professional development opportunities for drivers to help them stay ahead of the curve in their careers. This can include offering access to online courses and certifications, covering tuition costs for specific programs, or providing reimbursement for other career-focused activities.

By investing in your drivers’ professional growth, you can show that you value their development and help them build the skills they need to be successful in their roles.

Establish Performance Goals and Incentives

Setting performance goals can be a great way to help drivers stay motivated during their first 180 days. This could include goals surrounding safe driving, on-time deliveries, or any other metrics that are relevant to the job.

Using rewards to incentivize drivers can encourage them to strive for excellence. By providing incentives, drivers are more likely to stay engaged and motivated. Additionally, setting clear performance goals can help create a culture of accountability that helps reduce turnover rates.

Keep Your Truck Drivers Around Longer

A truck driver sitting in his truck and looking out the window

By implementing the strategies outlined above, recruiters can increase driver satisfaction and loyalty and reduce turnover rates during the first 180 days of employment.

With a comprehensive driver retention plan, you can foster loyalty and commitment to keep your drivers around long-term.

By investing in your drivers and understanding their unique needs, you can create an environment that helps them feel valued and motivated. With the proper support and resources, recruiters can ensure a successful first 180 days for new drivers – and beyond.

Share This Article

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TrackFive Team Members

Let's Chat

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.