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track how well you’re keeping your promises to your drivers. Are they getting the miles they were promised? How much is each driver getting paid each week? Are drivers getting home as often as promised? By tracking your Kept Promise Indicators and taking actions to intervene before small issues become serious problems, you can dramatically reduce driver turnover.


Start by documenting what you promise.


When you bring new drivers on board, don’t simply make verbal promises about miles, pay, or home time. Put it in writing so it’s clear. Some companies get new recruits to sign a form about expectations, so there’s no question that everyone is on the same page. Having a signed form can be useful when you need to explain to drivers that you have kept your promises when they think you haven’t.


Find ways to measure the intangibles.


Many companies tout that they have a “family atmosphere.” The idea is that the company is a friendly place where drivers can feel at home. But how do you live up to that promise? Start by measuring how often someone reaches out to each driver. Keep records so that you know. Do you have events for drivers? Do they participate in those events? Do you answer their phone calls? Measure how many calls from drivers go unanswered or how many messages drivers have to leave because they can’t get in touch with a dispatcher or someone in payroll. Giving attention


to these things can go a long way towards creating the family atmosphere you’ve promised.


Avoid promising more than you can deliver.


It’s not unusual to see companies say that drivers can earn “as much as” a certain amount. It’s tempting as a recruiter to offer the upper end of the pay scale, but it’s a mistake. Only the top performers make that much, so you’re setting yourself up to be seen as breaking your promise to all of the drivers who don’t reach that level. Make sure your promise is something you can keep to all of your drivers—not just the top performers—but all of the drivers who are willing to do their part.


Be sure your drivers see the real picture.


Sometimes drivers think they’re not doing as well as they really are. Find a way to let each driver see how they are doing in terms of your promises. Nothing beats sitting down with the driver and talking to them. Give them figures they can understand easily. At one place I worked, our drivers were paid on percentage. Sometimes I would hear from drivers who said, “I’m thinking about leaving and going with this other company who is offering me this much per mile.” I could show them that our percentage pay was actually giving them 20 cents per mile more than the other company was offering. So make sure you get everything in apples-to-apples form. This also applies to recruiting. Don’t put vague numbers out. Give them the real numbers. That way, you can measure against a real number.


Bend over backwards to avoid breaking promises.


You should go to extremes to avoid breaking promises, even if it hurts the bottom line a little. If you have a driver who is due home on Friday, but you don’t have a load to make that work, bring the driver home anyway. The deadhead loss or the cost of having the equipment sit idle is a small price to pay compared to the expense of losing a driver and needing to hire a new one. Even if the driver says it’s okay and agrees to stay out, bring the driver home anyway. That’s what you promised. You never know if this is your last chance with a driver.


Keep Your Promises and


You’ll Keep Your Drivers Drivers have to follow all kinds of rules every day, from hours of service restrictions and safety protocols to traffic rules and company policies. They have to play by the rules, so it should come as no surprise that they don’t like it when you break the rules and don’t live up to your promises. Measure their miles, track their pay, and monitor their home time. Keep your eye on these numbers regularly. Don’t wait until the end of the month or even the end of the week, because it will be too late to do something then. If you keep your promises, you will keep your drivers, and you will have more success recruiting new drivers as well.


By Barry Brookins, McLeod Director of Data Science


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