The numbers don’t lie: Engaging your drivers undeniably improves retention rates. According to a study published by the Corporate Leadership Council, highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their role than poorly engaged employees, making high engagement strategies one of the most effective interventions a fleet can make to reduce driver turnover.
So while it’s clear fleets should try to actively engage with their drivers, a question remains: How should they engage with their drivers? What does effective engagement look like?
This week and next, our two-part blog on retention and driver engagement answers that very question. This week in Part #1, we’ll be focusing on “frequency and consistency” and will explain why and how to regularly engage drivers to keep them with you for the long haul.
Infrequent and Inconsistent Engagement Pushes Your Drivers Away
Every manager should want their drivers to think of their fleet as more than just a place to draw a paycheck. After all, if that’s all their fleet is to a driver, then there isn’t much incentive to stick around—there are a lot of places they can get paid.
If a driver is only ever contacted by their manager to receive a dispatch, then they won’t build meaningful relationships or feel as though the time is being taken to get to know them personally. For many drivers, their manager oftentimes becomes just a person they take orders from.
Even worse is when they mostly receive calls over a hard braking event or a CDL expiration. This can lead a driver to associate negative feelings with their manager, which could make them unwilling to reach out when they need help and tarnish their perception of their fleet in general.
This common practice of reaching out to drivers only for dispatch or discipline leads your drivers who need help to sour on the idea of seeking it, while leaving your safest drivers feeling neglected.
Engaging Drivers Means Retaining Drivers: Here’s How
There’s a simple process driver managers can follow to foster more meaningful relationships with their drivers:
- Contact them on a consistent schedule
- Discuss non-dispatch and non-disciplinary topics
When drivers regularly interact with their supervisors outside of disciplinary or day-to-day issues, they’ll begin to make real connections with them and see their fleet as a community rather than a place to earn a paycheck.
Additionally, by ensuring outreach occurs on a consistent basis, fleets set the expectation with drivers that they will have an outlet to give productive feedback and voice their concerns.
While negative events will always need to be investigated, it is critical to acknowledge the other side of the coin and reach out when a driver is also having a great week. By setting aside as little as five minutes to check in on their drivers on a consistent schedule, fleets can give them the resources they need to succeed and the desire to stay with your fleet.
An engagement process like this provides drivers an opportunity to feel heard by managers and involved in their fleet’s success. Ultimately, this retains drivers.
The Tool You Need to Engage Your Drivers
Though instituting this process may seem difficult, there are tools available that can make it easy.
With Safety Suite’s Task Module, managers can automate touch-base reminders to help form meaningful relationships with their drivers and build a culture of retention at their fleet.
With Safety Suite, fleets have the tools they need to retain drivers for the long haul. If you’d like to learn more about how Safety Suite can help you drive engagement and increase retention, watch a 2-minute demo and sign up for a deep-dive here.