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Strategic Approach to Driver Retention

By: Lori Furnell, VP Business Development, ACS Advertising

Driver turnover peaked in 2005 at 110%. Though the American Trucking Association (ATA) reports that driver turnover is now averaging 83% for truckload dry van drivers, retention remains an issue that has to be dealt with if companies are going to meet the demands placed on trucking.

In the past, retention has been a “hand” issue. Safety would point a finger at Operations for not coaching the drivers. Operations thumbs back at Recruiting for hiring the driver in the first place, and Recruiting throws up both hands in frustration. It’s a never ending cycle of no one taking ownership and everyone placing blame. The companies that develop cultures that embrace retention will lead the industry in growing their fleets.

There are four basic retention strategies: Preemptive, Proactive, Reactive and Win Back.

The majority of us have a rehire strategy. We spend a lot of money to bring back 10% of the people who have left us. However, there is an abundance of actions to take that will reduce the amount of drivers leaving.

Preemptive and proactive strategies will require companies to measure driver satisfaction and implement policy and cultural changes. As corporate cultures develop, recruiting efforts will become more efficient. If we continue to focus on reactive and win back strategies, the industry will continue to spend millions on ineffective solutions. Effective retention programs will implement solutions across all four strategies.

So, will you raise your hand and lead the company’s retention efforts, or will you continue to raise your hands in frustration?

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