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Truck Driver Retention Strategies

We have all heard the phrase “It costs more to hire a new driver than it does to keep a current one,” but have you really thought about that? With the average cost-per-hire right now in the industry hitting around $1,000, and competition through the roof, would you agree that it makes sense to spend a little extra time and money to show your current drivers some love? What are you spending today on truck driver retention strategies? If I was a betting’ kinda gal (and I might be), I would wager that what you’re spending on your driver recruiting strategies budget is nowhere near what you’re spending on retention. Could focusing more on retention be a cost savings initiative that any CFO will get behind?

The cliché movie quote “You had me at hello” has a ton of truth in your truck driver retention and driver recruiting strategies. Have you really gone through your driver journey and walked in their shoes? How easy is it to get their travel information to orientation? What is your orientation like? Do you provide them with a welcome gift and truly make them feel like they are part of your family? Doing something as simple as putting together a welcome package for orientation with things like a hat, t-shirt and some snacks makes an excellent first impression. Now, I am not talking about a little baggie with a pack of peanut butter crackers and a peppermint here … (true story… I’ve seen it with my own eyes.) I mean something YOU would actually enjoy receiving. Another idea is to have a little something waiting for your drivers in their hotel room with information on local food delivery options and a nice welcome note.

And, what do you do for your drivers’ families? Let’s be honest - the driver may be the head of the household, but the spouse can turn the head any direction they want. (Name that movie!) Having someone reach out to the spouse welcoming them and building a support network for them will help solidify your relationship with that driver. Send them a welcome packet with important numbers and resources and if they have kids, maybe a little something for them too. All of these things are done before a driver ever gets behind the wheel, and what have you actually spent so far? MAYBE $20 on the driver. Definitely money well spent.

Moving beyond the hello, how often do you check in on your drivers? Making sure they hear from their team and leadership consistently is beyond important. Touch points at 30/60/90 days with a quick call makes a definite difference. Getting to know your drivers’ birthdays and their families’ birthdays allows for a touch point throughout the year as well. Why not send a gift card? Sending your driver a $50 gift card and their spouse/family a $25 gift card will create a buzz that they will brag about to the industry community. Now, I’m not great at math, but depending on family size, we are up to about a $100-$150 here, which is MUCH less than the cost-per-hire in today’s industry. These are a just a few ideas that make a big difference. I know you can think of more, because I definitely can.

Truck driver retention strategies are not rocket science - but I would say they are a bit of sociology and psychology. Think about how you can make your drivers happy and feel like a part of something bigger. After all, without them, the big picture would not exist.

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