Increase driver job satisfaction by allowing drivers to modify their routes—without sacrificing your margins
hen drivers are allowed to adjust their routes, within constraints that you set based on business goals, they enjoy their jobs a lot more, while helping achieve greater overall fleet efficiency.
For most truck drivers, job satisfaction is low.
Industry wide, turnover averages 100% per year. That means every driver (statistically speaking) quits within 12 months of being hired.
Unsurprisingly, fleets must find ways to improve driver happiness—and retention.
This sounds like a daunting task, but we have found that the solution is very simple: Find out what drivers want, and give it to them. If you do this, they enjoy their jobs more, and don’t quit!
Simple, right? Not exactly. There’s no silver bullet to improving driver retention or even improving driver happiness. But there are several things that, if improved, can increase the likelihood that drivers will enjoy their jobs more, and stay longer.
One thing that drivers want more than anything is less frustration in their lives. Most trucking tools and workflows are difficult and annoying to use. So we are continually looking for ways to create tools that aren’t.
We do this by asking two simple questions:
- What do drivers especially not like?
- How can we fix it so they love it?
In the process of talking to drivers and their managers, we discovered that they really hate it when they have to be told what route to take, instead of having the freedom to choose based on their expertise. It rubs them the wrong way to have to ask permission to change a route. It also frustrates them when they can’t make good decisions on the road, because they don’t have the information necessary—i.e., they might not know if a route change is a good idea for the company, because they don’t know what effect it will have on the load’s margins. They’re probably thinking more about how the change will affect their HOS and ETA.
On the other side of the coin, we have also learned that they love being able to contribute to the overall efficiency and profitability of the fleet, and like anyone, they enjoy feeling that their expertise is valued. When they have the freedom to make decisions on the road without worrying that they’ll get raked over the coals later, they are much more eager to take responsibility and do a good job.
With this in mind, we set out to create a new navigation feature that would give drivers freedom and maximize a load’s margins.
Profit-based dynamic routing with Trip Policies
It sounds technical, but it is actually quite simple.
Trip Policies greatly cut down driver frustration, improve their job satisfaction, and empower them to improve your operational efficiency.
They do this by establishing intelligent limits, based on your bottom line, within which a driver can freely make route decisions on his own.
Instead of drivers having to stick to the prescribed route, or simply deviating wherever they want regardless of the consequences, they can now take responsibility for adjustments—because the system can warn them if a trip will be too long or expensive to be profitable.
Eleos gives them truck-legal routing, with turn-by-turn directions, and like any modern nav system, it will dynamically re-route if there’s road construction or an accident up ahead.
The difference is, whereas conventional navigation will simply re-route based on that system’s predefined rules, Eleos will re-route, check the new route against your Trip Policies, and alert the driver and you if it exceeds the maximum number of miles and toll costs you allocate.
Drivers can easily add stops or POIs, like fuel centers or truck washes, to routes. This allows them to go out of route intelligently, based on the margin of the load. For instance, if they are weighing the question of whether to take a toll road, or sit in traffic, they can get a clear answer from their app, based on toll costs and mileage. The proposed trip displays its policy checks in the Trip Planner:
If the trip exceeds the policy thresholds, the driver will see a warning, with an explanation:
The back-office will also get a real-time notification, so they can follow up immediately. This means conversations between drivers and managers happen at the time of a problem, leading to faster and more proactive solutions.
All this enables drivers to make better decisions in the field…and enables you to increase network efficiency. Your drivers don’t feel like you’re breathing down their necks. Back-office personnel can be freed up from doing driver admin, so they can take care of other important tasks.
Remember, happiness and efficiency suffer when drivers are over-managed. Drivers who are continually hampered by stifling constraints (however well-intentioned) are less productive, and less satisfied with their jobs. By contrast, Eleos drivers have never been more satisfied. Being involved in route adjustments makes them feel like genuine contributors to the company’s performance.
All of this improves drivers’ own feeling of freedom, flexibility, and happiness. And happy drivers tend to stay with the company longer.