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ROADMap BEYOND PAY Retaining drivers in the modern day economy


BY MAX FARRELL Contributing Writer


Have you ever filled up an air mattress,


fallen asleep on it, only to wake up and most of the bed was deflated overnight? You have a few options when this


happens: 1. Throw the air mattress away 2. Keep putting more air in the mattress 3. Find the leak and patch it up Now why are we talking about air


mattresses in a trucking magazine? Because the retention issues the industry faces are right in line with how we deal with the air mattress. Now let’s put this problem in the con-


text of trucking. Most carriers can’t keep drivers (the


American Trucking Association states the annual turnover is 97 percent across the industry).


40 Summer 2015


So when drivers leave there are one of


three choices: 1. Don’t replace the departed driver and take on less freight 2. Keep recruiting new drivers to replace the departed ones 3. Continue to find where the biggest issues are internally and improve them to make drivers want to stay with your carrier In this context, we’re certainly not


going to pursue the first option because we want to improve profitability, but let’s think about the other two. New drivers can be recruited from an


ever-dwindling pool of drivers, but like fill- ing the mattress with air, this does not nec- essarily stop the shortage or turnover, it merely prolongs it. Recruiting more drivers has become


the de facto approach to tackling the big- gest issues that keep many executives up at


night, with millions of dollars being poured into a variety of recruiting cam- paigns to tell in new drivers. Some carriers shared they recruit as many as 300 drivers a week! The other option: working to improve


the driver experience and the culture of the organization to keep more drivers is the topic I want to dig into. This option doesn’t have a silver bul-


let, but it’s the silver buckshot all carriers should be firing to make a difference in their companies. Trucking traditionally has been a


“best practice” industry. One where carri- ers wait for others to explore new approaches to business and then follow suit. The problem with this idea of “best practice” is that best practice means every- one is doing it and it’s probably mediocre. Right now, the best practice is imple- menting the best ways to recruit drivers.


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