The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimated that 2021 would experience an all-time-high driver shortage of about 80,000. They reckon the deficit will rise to 160,000 by 2030.
During this “Truck Driver Appreciation” awareness month, here are tips you can use to show your appreciation and avoid driver shortages in your business:
One of the biggest contributors to driver shortage is low pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual mean wage in all occupations was $58,260 in 2021. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers’ average mean wage was $50,340, while light truck drivers’ pay was $42,630.
Truck drivers quickly figured out they could make more working in other fields, with the Great Resignation simply adding fuel to the fire.
You can raise pay above the industry average to attract and retain the best drivers, as Walmart did by increasing first-year drivers’ pay to $110,000.
Appreciate and reward good work
Let drivers know you appreciate hard work, safe driving, vehicle maintenance, and unblemished driving records. It might be costly, but it will prove it’s worth it in the long run. Rewarding drivers enhances loyalty and keeps workers motivated You can reward your drivers in the following ways:
- Gift cards
- Trophies and awards
Improved working conditions
ILO research shows that better working conditions and improved driver safety and health can reduce the rate of employees quitting, so here are ways you can provide conducive working conditions for your drivers:
- Flexible working hours: Don’t let your drivers work for too long. Long shifts will tire them, causing them to make more mistakes. Further, since drivers spend a long time away from their loved ones, provide extended off-days when they return from long trips.
- Listen to employees: Maintain open communication with drivers, evaluating their satisfaction level. Employees who feel heard are more likely to stay in the company.
- Improve lifestyle: Provide driver training on how to keep healthy, educating them on the benefits of physical activity, healthy eating, and sufficient rest. These all contribute to optimal health and productivity.
Fleet management system
A sound driver management system helps you keep track of your drivers’ schedules and improve fleet safety. For instance, you can determine when a driver is tired and give them a break.
Alternatively, the fleet management system will inform you where every driver is, so you can send notifications to stay alert if they are in a danger-prone area or if there are accidents ahead.
The fleet safety device is also handy for pinpointing the truck’s location, enabling rapid emergency response. Dash cams are an excellent tool for providing evidence when there’s an accident.
Provide driver training
It would be best if you considered providing training programs to improve drivers’ skills. Workers who receive training are likely to feel part of the company’s future, so they will likely stay longer.
Indeed 70% of respondents in a survey said job training and opportunities to develop themselves were among the main influences in their decision to stay at a job. Providing training also ensures the drivers work according to your company’s standards.
Change hiring strategies
Perhaps it’s time to cast your net wider in the search for drivers by considering enrolling women. The ATA notes that female truck drivers constitute less than 7% of truck drivers. Women could make up the much-needed number of fresh employees in the industry.
To address the current driver shortage crisis, employ driver retention tactics such as hiring more women, providing driver training, improving working conditions, and providing rewards and incentives.