Truck drivers are the backbone of the American economy, but the trucking industry continues to struggle with attracting and retaining those with all levels of experience, especially in over-the-road operations.
The American Trucking Association estimates the driver shortage is 80,000 and growing. The same trade group reports annual driver turnover rates for the industry that consistently surpass most, if not all, blue-collar professions.
Driver turnover has reached a critical mass that will require a new approach to reverse course. Some fleets are taking a new direction by using technology to engage, empower, and encourage drivers at every turn.
A technology-driven approach for reducing turnover can be deployed relatively easily thanks to modern tools that focus on the driver experience and make fleets more productive and profitable.
Why the ‘Driver Experience’ Matters
Driver turnover can be attributed to a number of factors but the common thread is feeling undervalued and unappreciated. These gut-wrenching emotions trigger decisions to change jobs or leave the industry altogether.
A recent study found that nearly 60% of drivers say they don’t feel their carrier cares about them as people. Feeling undervalued often starts with feeling isolated or lonely — two additional reasons drivers cite for leaving.
Most drivers say they are unsatisfied with their work/life balance. Being away from home for days and weeks at a time has that effect, but it can also negatively impact one’s physical and mental health.
By now it’s clear the industry needs a new approach to keep more drivers on the road, happier and healthier than before. Changes are underway at fleets who are transforming the driver experience with technology.
3 Ways to Improve Driver Retention with Technology
Ironically, modern technology can help fleets of all sizes put more humanity in trucking – something drivers may feel has been missing for years.
Some fleets are using driver apps that let their employees, not just their owner-operators, book their own loads. Another way of showing drivers they are valued, day after day, is with safety technology that protects their lives and livelihoods. Dash cameras, for example, record actions of surrounding motorists to exonerate drivers and capture insights that help drivers improve their skills.
Some fleets are also taking a holistic approach by using technology that helps them focus on who drivers are as much as what they do. Below are three ways to accomplish this unique strategy using features included in a modern workflow and communication platform.
1. Enable easy feedback
New mobile tools give drivers a way to provide anonymous feedback to improve routine processes. When drivers see changes are being made they will feel valued and more in control of their work. Also, fleets can use mobile technology to automate work-related feedback by giving drivers visibility of performance metrics. In-app tools can increase engagement by showing drivers where their performance ranks among their peers and their progress toward earning rewards and incentives from company programs.
2. Expand communications
Modern apps give fleets a way to create multiple communication channels for drivers. Just like office workers use instant messaging tools like Slack to improve communication, fleets can give a direct line of communication to drivers with dispatch, human resources, and corporate staff, as well as to other drivers. Opening these new channels will help drivers voice concerns and request assistance without fear of retribution. It also allows management to quickly identify and address issues.
3. Build driver communities
Next-generation applications that connect drivers to individuals and groups can foster a greater sense of teamwork and belonging. Drivers can use forums and other tools to ask questions, give advice, or blow off steam that builds up during the workday. Having communities that keep drivers connected inside and outside of the cab helps them form relationships and build trust with their companies.
Does Your Fleet Have Driver-Centric Technology?
If your company wants to really move the needle for driver retention, now is the time to consider adding a next-generation mobile platform to better address the essential human factors that are getting missed and causing them to leave.
Whether it’s letting drivers book their own loads, gamify their work, or use new communication channels – among other strategies – it is now possible to make big changes quickly and effectively using a modern technology platform that quickly adapts to your needs. In most cases, improving driver satisfaction and retention will also result in better operational performance and savings that multiply your return on investment.
Download Our Guide
For a more in-depth look at how to utilize the latest driver-focused tools inside and outside the cab, download our free guide, Transform the Driver Experience Today.
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