Author: Jay Krishnan, VP Marketing, Automile
An employee you love—and loves you back—is worth their weight in gold. Wouldn’t you agree that hiring a new driver and bringing them up to speed is, ahem, more expensive than keeping an existing driver happy? (And besides, who wants to manage a revolving door of employees?!) It’s no wonder every business owner has employee attraction and retention on their minds, especially with your workforce-on-wheels.
Retention is an especially hot topic in fleet management, where hiring a driver in the first place is becoming more challenging. Estimates from the ATA say the driver shortage may reach 175,000 by 2024! Even if you’re running a fleet of light commercial vehicles, you want to attract qualified drivers and keep them on the payroll. But, how? Aside from providing competitive pay and flexibility with respect to hours and work/life balance, here are 5 ways to engage your drivers and keep them happy:
1. Easy Peasy Automation
Your drivers are sure to deliver their best work—not to mention your company’s goods and services—when they have access to the tools and technology that make doing their jobs easier. These might include mobile devices and telematics solutions that keep them focused on the task at-hand. Research shows that drivers spending hundreds of hours per year completing paper logbooks, and adopting technology like telematics applications go far to free their time (and the company’s money). In other words, keep drivers’ hands on the wheel and out of the paperwork, and you’re off to a great start,
2. See-Through Transparency
Let them see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles. Drivers appreciate transparency. They want to see what you’re doing to help them—and the company—perform better, especially when introducing new technology that tracks drivers and vehicles to enhance efficiency, safety, and customer service. Areavoices.com’s How To Recruit And Retain The Best Drivers gets right to the point: “Be straight with [drivers] about the challenges and communicate the desire to see them succeed.” Share the data that’s driving your decisions—and their success.
In fact, small business owner Todd Faden who uses Automile has enjoyed 100% employee retention since making transparency a priority. “I let everybody know what I was doing,” he says. “I brought them back into the office and showed them all the information that I had. Their jaws were on the floor. They said, ‘OMG, you know the RPM on my vehicle?’ and everybody was amazed at how cool it was.” Read Small Business Owner Spotlight: Todd Faden, Faden Builders, Inc. for the whole story.
3. Impactful Communication
Sure, you communicate with employees to keep them in-the-know, but today, truly effective communications keep employees engaged. That means reaching them on an ongoing basis with messages that connect with them and in ways that are convenient—via text, e-mail, and even video. Younger drivers, especially millennials, are plugged-in and expect their employer communications to arrive digitally for on-demand viewing. And to infuse more power into your strategy, let messages cascade from the top-down and regularly ask for feedback. Both offer a sign of respect and show that you want to address issues that are important to them.
4. Behind-the-Wheel Training
High-performing drivers—those who are satisfied with their jobs and bring their best to their work—value opportunities to learn new things and advance their careers through the development of new skills. A recent survey from National Retail Systems, Inc. revealed that employee training is among the things that most attract drivers to a job. Offering your drivers access to training shows you support their potential. Driver Education vs. Driver Training on Automotive-Fleet.com, hands-on training enables drivers to put to use what they’ve learned through education, essentially taking it to the next level. And isn’t that just what top employees want to do?
5. Feel-Good Recognition
TruckingInfo.com reveals that high-performing fleets score high in areas that signify drivers’ likelihood to stay at the company, such as how the company evaluates their performance, the fairness of the company, and how certain they feel about their future at the organization. Go the extra mile—and have some fun—by motivating drivers through rewards and recognition programs. These are the “perks” that make the workweek more interesting and social, especially if they include an element of competition. Link rewards to telematics insights: consider naming someone a “Driver of the Week” and rewarding them for practicing safety or for surpassing delivery or customer service goals.
Can you get to 100% retention with your workforce-on-wheels? Yep—it is possible!
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