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How the Driver-Fleet Manager Relationship Affects Retention
Foley
3 mins read

APRIL 23, 2019 – It’s no secret that driver retention has been an ongoing issue. With turnover rates at larger fleets hovering close to 100 percent for much of the past year, employers have been rethinking how they hire and keep drivers. As we discussed last week, there is a lot of insight that can be mined from post-hire data, which when used strategically, can help you identify and fix points of weakness in your company.

Something else worth considering as you work to improve driver retention, is the relationship between your drivers and fleet managers. Because they work so closely with drivers, these professionals are the first line of defense against driver turnover.

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If your driver-fleet manager relationship has had some challenges, here are some tips to help turn it around:

  • Invite fleet managers into the conversation. These are the individuals in your company who are closest to your drivers, so any time issues arise, it’s important to get them involved. By opening up the lines of communication early, you’ll be able to get to the root cause of the issue more quickly so that you can (hopefully) resolve problems before drivers leave.
  • Help your fleet managers build trust. Work with your fleet manager to help them develop trust between themselves and their drivers. Regular meetings between drivers and fleet managers can help make managers more approachable and keep the lines of communication open. When drivers feel supported and respected by their fleet managers, they’ll be more likely to bring up concerns before they snowball into bigger problems. These meetings can also help fleet managers set clearer expectations so that there’s no confusion over drivers’ responsibilities and their expectations within the company.
  • Encourage mentorship opportunities. Many drivers have aspirations of growing their careers beyond the position they hold today. For some, this will mean securing a better route, while others will dream of moving into a different role entirely – perhaps as a safety or fleet manager. When fleet managers understand each drivers’ goals, and then provide guidance to help them get there, drivers will feel more supported in their role.
  • Give fleet managers the resources they need to succeed. Keeping drivers happy goes a long way towards keeping them employed at your company. Make sure your fleet managers have the resources they need to enhance your drivers’ experience. This includes providing drivers with reliable and well-maintained trucks, technology that makes their jobs easier (such as dash cams and in-cab Wi-Fi) and rewards for their safe driving habits.

By taking a few small steps to foster positive relationships between your drivers and fleet managers, you’ll be taking a big step towards better satisfaction and retention in your company.

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