Focus on Driver Retention

Focus on Driver Retention

By: Brandon Baxter - Staff Writer
Posted: Jun 5th 2023

It almost seems a given that driver turnover rates in the trucking industry tend to hover around or above the 100% mark. However, there are some fleets out there that have figured out a way to reduce their turnover rate and provide a better working environment for their drivers. Which has shown to be more beneficial for both driver and company. For those in the back, here are some suggestions for how to go about providing a better atmosphere, while lowering driver turnover.

Communication and Better Treatment

Consistent, honest, and proper communication between a driver and dispatcher, or recruiter, and/or any other department that touches a driver on a regular basis cannot be stressed enough.

All a driver seeks in communication is that they are not lied to, that they are not treated like just a number in the fleet. Is this too much to ask? Not only that, but positive verbal reinforcement like displaying accolades and gratitude for a job well-done, will also help increase the prospects of retaining a driver as opposed to shooing them away and then searching to find their replacement.

On top of a more positive spin on verbal delivery, a more critical form of communicating with a driver would be to simply listen to what they have to say. Whether a carrier has an entire driver relations department that is equipped to listen and react to a driver's concerns, or perhaps a dedicated driver manager who is attentive to and focused on each driver's needs, the message being delivered should always be clear and concise. Listening demonstrates to every driver that they are more than a number in a fleet, they are a part of the family.

Show Them the Money!

"Money talks and BS walks," right?! At least that's how the old saying goes. But when drivers are properly compensated for their hard work, their efforts will tend to display a greater encouragement for their job and their happiness will often manifest in their work. Along with the increased likelihood of them sticking around for the long haul (pun intended).

Not only would it make sense for companies to pay their drivers a more competitive salary, especially when in comparison to other carriers who operate similarly and boast higher pay. But showing a driver that they might also be rewarded for their work ethic in the form of periodic rate raises and bonuses also goes a long way in providing a driver with a place to be happy.


While a strong base pay is nice, and a competitive pay package is even better, what encourages many drivers to stay positive and fully engaged with a company are the occasional bonuses that a driver could accrue throughout their tenure with a carrier.

A company that provides even just an incremental bonus for hand-loading or unloading a shipment, or a referral bonus for recruiting additional drivers to join the fleet, or maybe even a bonus for reaching another year with the carrier, can provide enough encouragement for a driver to want to stay as opposed to leaving for greener pastures.

A company that displays the ability to show even an ounce of any of the aforementioned avenues to driver retention will undoubtedly see the added value of keeping a driver happy, and thus, keeping the driver. What it does is it proves to an existing fleet that the company cares and demonstrates to any potential newcomers that this is a carrier worth driving for.

All anyone ever wants is to be appreciated.

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