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Why Does Truck Driver Turnover Rate Matter?

In past entries, the FreightWaves Ratings team has explored technologies that can optimize the way that carriers manage their assets. However, this time we will be taking a closer look at a problem facing carriers’ most valuable asset — their drivers. 

We are tackling the topic of high driver turnover rates and — more importantly — what you can do to prevent or at least alleviate it. Whether you are currently contending with high turnover rates or want to take a proactive approach to the problem, the information below can help you navigate this unique and complex challenge. 

What Is the Truck Driver Turnover Rate?

Typically, the word “turnover” is associated with individuals exiting a company and being replaced by a new hire. Though the truck driver turnover rate is specific to the industry, turnover is something that every business has to deal with it. 

While it’s only a small percentage of drivers that turnover to a new industry, most drivers simply switch to another carrier, taking your company secrets with them.

Why Does Trucking Have a High Turnover Rate?

In recent years, turnover rates in the trucking industry have hovered just above the 90% range. However, truck driver turnover rates can be somewhat deceiving. 

Most new drivers obtain their CDLs via paid training programs offered by some of the nation’s largest carriers. In exchange, drivers have to work for the carriers for one to two years. Otherwise, they will have to repay the cost of their training program.

Many of these drivers decide to move on from these carriers in pursuit of higher-paying opportunities after they complete their minimum service contract. 

What Is the Importance of Turnover Rates?

While it is virtually impossible to achieve a 0% turnover rate, companies should strive to minimize employee attrition. High attrition rates negatively impact the company’s bottom line. Constantly training new drivers can cost a business tens of thousands of dollars.

Additionally, high attrition leads to a less experienced workforce. Inexperienced drivers will struggle to be as productive as seasoned professionals. High attrition rates can also negatively impact a company’s ability to serve its customers. Over time, this can cause damage to a company’s brand image. 

How to Calculate Turnover Rate

Calculating turnover is actually quite simple, to determine your turnover simply divide the number of resignations and terminations by the total number of employees that you have at the start of the measurement period. It should be noted that the new hires should actually be replacements, and not just a new branch of your business. 

For example, let’s say that you want to calculate your driver turnover rate for 2021. At the start of the year, you employed 100 drivers. Throughout the year, 25 resigned or were terminated. So you would divide 25 by 100, which would be 0.25 or 25%. 

How to Increase Your Driver Retention

You can incentivize drivers to remain members of your company in several ways. A few of the most pragmatic solutions include the following:

Make Safety a Priority

Everyone wants to work for a company that cares about their safety and well-being — especially truck drivers. Operating a commercial motor vehicle and spending countless hours behind the wheel is inherently dangerous. However, you can minimize the risk to your drivers by creating a robust safety program. 

A great safety program should use a combination of employee training and investments in quality equipment. By giving your drivers the tools they need to work safely and teaching them how to use these assets, you can improve retention and keep your drivers on the road. 

Reward Driver Performance

When drivers work efficiently and maximize their delivery volume, your business benefits. Shouldn’t the drivers delivering the best performance be rewarded as well? We think so.

If you want to encourage drivers to be long-term members of your company, create a performance-based reward system. This setup will give them a reason to work with a sense of purpose and make those deliveries on time. 

Establish Clear and Open Lines of Communication

When drivers encounter a problem, they must have a clear pathway for voicing that concern. If they do not, then they will likely experience a drop in job satisfaction and may decide to leave the company altogether. 

You can eliminate this pain point by establishing open lines of communication that make your drivers feel heard. Even if you cannot immediately resolve a driver’s conflict, simply letting them know that you are listening and working to solve the problem can do wonders for staff morale. 

Provide Driver Education

Commercial drivers are passionate professionals who are dedicated to their craft. If you do not nurture this passion, they will seek an employer who does.

One great way to make your drivers feel appreciated is by providing driver education opportunities. Paying for training seminars or specialized certifications can demonstrate that you invest in your staff. In turn, drivers will develop feelings of loyalty toward the company and will become more proficient at their jobs.

Offer Benefits

Offering benefits like health insurance, dental coverage, bonuses, and a retirement plan or pension will greatly reduce driver attrition. 

While you are probably already offering these benefits to some degree, consider expanding the list of perks if your budget allows. If it does not, get creative. For example, you could partner with local businesses to obtain discounted services and products for your employees to make them feel valued

Use Technology

The right technology can make everyone’s lives easier — including your drivers’. Consider investing in tech like electronic logging devices, GPS systems, and load management apps. These technologies will help keep drivers in the loop and reduce the number of additional responsibilities that they have to keep up with. 

Turnover and Retention Rates Are Metrics You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Whether you operate a carrier or partner with logistics providers, it is critical that you do your part to combat high truck driver turnover rates. Truck drivers are integral to business continuity and supply chain integrity. Without enough seasoned drivers on the road, productivity will crash, and profitability will plummet.

With that being said, there is no single solution to addressing turnover rates. Instead, you will need to use a multifaceted approach that involves providing drivers with fair pay, quality equipment, and safe working conditions. 

Rethink what you know about trucking

GP Transco strives to provide excellent customer service while offering a modern work environment with competitive pay and outstanding benefits.

Rethink what you know about trucking

GP Transco strives to provide excellent customer service while offering a modern work environment with competitive pay and outstanding benefits.