The American Trucking Association estimates that annual driver turnover among long-haul commercial truck drivers nearly approaches 100%, according to a recent article on Forbes.com. Fleet managers find themselves scrambling to find drivers to meet demand, often spending beyond their budget to recruit and hire – only to see those same drivers leave for the competition. It’s a vicious cycle that costs the industry an estimated $4 billion a year, and has slowed growth for many trucking companies.
WHY IS DRIVER RETENTION SUCH A CHALLENGE?
Breaking that vicious cycle depends upon understanding what drives it. Why do so many drivers jump from fleet to fleet, and how can fleet managers increase driver retention?
When researchers asked drivers why they chose to leave a company, a few expected answers were revealed:
- The potential of greater pay elsewhere,
- the hope for a greater work/life balance, and
- personality conflicts with supervisors.
According to research, these three complaints contribute to nearly 81% of all driver resignations. However, there is a fourth reason that is given nearly as often as those standard refrains that you may not have considered, and yet is an issue you as a Fleet Manager can directly affect and improve:
Drivers will leave a company which does not care about the condition and proper maintenance of their vehicles.
Why does this matter? Consider the long hours and numerous miles one of your drivers puts in. That truck is your driver’s home away from home, and it needs to provide a certain level of comfort and reliability. If the truck itself is perceived as an uncomfortable or unsafe environment, the driver is going to be unhappy – and unhappy drivers quickly become former employees.
We offer a number of solutions that can help ensure your fleet’s vehicles are well-maintained, safe and offer a smooth, comfortable ride.
ONLINE MAINTENANCE GUIDE: THE LIFE OF A TRUCK
Whether you run a fleet or are only beginning your driving career, this guide will help you understand the little things that add up to big wins in fleet productivity.
KEEP DRIVERS COMFORTABLE
Driver comfort begins where the rubber meets the road, literally. Tires that are unevenly worn or out of balance are among the most common causes of poor ride quality. Specifically, drive tires that are out of balance cause much of the fatigue that drivers feel on the road. The vibrations caused by tire issues can shake a truck – and its driver – to the core. Beyond causing excessive wear-and-tear on a vehicle, constant vibrations on the road have been proven causes of back pain, joint and leg pain, headaches, vision problems and more. Drive tires that are out of balance cause much of the fatigue that drivers feel on the road.
EQUAL FLEXX solves both the challenge of keeping tires constantly in balance and ensuring even wear. Working within the tire, FLEXX is redistributed with every rotation. This allows it to adjust to changing conditions throughout the life of each tire, correctly balancing the tire, and consistently dampening vibrations. In addition to creating a more comfortable ride, FLEXX extends tire life and creates fuel savings, meaning your driver spends more time on the road – and less time in the shop.
LESS DOWNTIME, MORE TIME AT HOME
Tire safety issues are also a number one concern for drivers, most notably punctures and blowouts. Nearly anything – a stray nail, a shard of glass, an unseen crack in the tire lining – can cause a tire to fail, putting your driver temporarily out of commission at best, and in danger at worst. As he’s standing around waiting for repair, he knows he’s losing drive time (and money and time at home). Frustration builds, and your driver may soon begin to dwell on the parts of the job that irritate him most.
STS TIRE SEAL provides preventative protection against punctures and blowouts, creating an immediate and permanent repair anytime the tire is compromised. Easy to install and proven to perform, tire sealants like STS TIRE SEAL should be part of every driver’s road kit.
SAFETY AT A GLANCE
In addition to being comfortable, a driver wants to know he is safe on the road, and that his truck will pass a CSA inspection. CSA violations reflect poorly on both the fleet and the driver, and nothing is more dangerous than the risk of losing a wheel. Normal wear and tear on a commercial truck will result in wheel nuts loosening over time, increasing that risk of a wheel-off. When that happens, the results can be deadly.
That’s where CHECKPOINT helps out. By providing a clear visual indication of nuts that need tightening, pre-trip preparations are easier – giving your drivers peace of mind knowing their wheels are going to get them to their destination safely and in compliance with CSA standards.
SO, WHAT’S IT MEAN?
Nobody ever wants to feel unsafe or uncomfortable in their workspace. Happy employees are far less likely to leave, and are more productive and profitable as well. Your drivers are no different.
As a Fleet Manager, finding simple and cost-effective solutions to big problems like driver retention can be challenging – but if done correctly, will have a positive impact on your profits, people and customers. This is why outfitting your fleet with innovative solutions like EQUAL, STS TIRE SEAL and CHECKPOINT is one business decision that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Your drivers are important. Keep them happy.