Driver retention has always been an important subject within the fleet management industry. With high turnover rates throughout the industry paired with the driver shortage, it makes it hard for fleet managers to retain experienced and trustworthy employees. Some progress is being made as the turnover rate for both large truck fleets and small truckload fleets is going down, but it is still higher than it was in previous years.
There are several ways to address the issue of high turnover in your fleet, but one of the most effective methods is through a data-backed solution. As new tools and technologies are introduced into the fleet industry, decades old problems like driver retention become more realistic to tackle.
There are a few key areas to focus on when addressing driver retention:
3. Tools and Equipment
Each one of these categories impacts a fleet driver’s perception of their job, and therefore influences the amount of time they stay in that role. Having access to the right data will give you an advantage in these areas so that you can increase driver retention in your fleet.
Fleet Driver Pay
“With a more profitable business comes the opportunity to increase pay.”
One of the best ways to keep a driver is to pay them the right amount. According to American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello, one likely reason as to why the turnover rate decreased in Q4 of 2017 is that driver pay increased due to larger volume.
Since the ‘70s, the amount that fleet drivers earn has gone down by about 50% when adjusting for inflation. In fact, data from the National Transportation Institute (NTI) shows that a driver in 2016 who earns $52,406 would have earned the equivalent of $101,600 as a unionized driver in 1979 doing the same work.
In the case of driver pay, data can be a viable solution. When a fleet manager uses a data platform, like Idelic’s fleet safety software, they are implementing solutions that will directly affect their business’s bottom line and create massive cost savings. With a more profitable business comes the opportunity to increase pay so that your drivers are happier with their jobs and perform better for you and your company.
“Retention by Prevention.”
Fleet safety has a huge impact on a business’s bottom line and therefore also plays a role in driver retention. Things like DOT compliance, injury reduction, inspections, and accident avoidance are all part of risk mitigation for a fleet driver. At the end of the day, the less issues a driver runs into the happier they will be with their job. On the other hand, if a fleet is not managed properly, and a driver gets pulled over to find that the vehicle’s registration expired, this may impact his view of management.
Accident avoidance is another way a business can become more profitable and direct some of the excess funds towards their fleet drivers. Drivers love to feel a part of a safe culture where they are being watched after and not watched over. A simple check in with a driver to ask, “How are things going?” may be all it takes. The main problem here is: with so many drivers and other tasks that take priority, which drivers do you reach out to?
This can accomplished through machine learning algorithms that help predict which drivers are at high risk based on changes in their behavior. A tremendous amount of data is required to train the artificial intelligence (AI) systems how to correlate real-time action to possible outcomes. When using a safety solution like this, a fleet manager can prescribe action to prevent accidents from happening to both increase profitability and dramatically improve a driver’s experience. This provides impactful Retention by Prevention.
Tools & Equipment
Another effective method that increases driver retention is the proper implementation of tools and equipment that improve the working conditions of a fleet driver. New and properly maintained trucks and trailers go a long way with providing a comfortable working environment for your drivers.
Tack on technology like collision avoidance systems and stability control and you effectively show what you’ve been preaching to your drivers: that they and their safety are incredibly important to the company.
There are even better data-based tools, like Idelic’s Safety Suite, that gives fleets more clarity and understanding into their driver’s behaviors. Idelic’s Safety Suite uses data to help increase driver safety, adherence to regulations, and the fleet’s ability to help the driver before a critical and terminating event happens. It even allows for incentives and awards involved based on the driver’s progress. These are all factors that lead to greater driver retention.
Optimize With Data
Overall, having access to accurate and useful data allows fleet managers to optimize their operations, increase profitability, and create a more enjoyable working environment for their drivers.
When this occurs, driver pay can increase without negatively affecting the bottom line, drivers will gain more independence and comfort over their responsibilities, and they can enjoy a safer, overall driving experience. All of which leads to an increase in driver retention.