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How to Minimize Your Driver Turnover Rate without Breaking the Bank
Mariah Barr
8 mins read

Keeping safe, qualified drivers behind the wheel (and reducing your driver turnover rate) is easier with MVR monitoring and well-maintained DOT driver qualification files.

Does it seem like you’re losing drivers just as fast as you’re hiring them? You’re not alone.

Unfortunately, it’s a common problem in the industry. American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported the turnover rate was at a staggering 91 percent in 2019, which means that for every 100 people who were recruited to drive, 91 walked out the door.

This doesn’t mean 91 percent of drivers are leaving the industry. There is a very real driver shortage, but our economy would simply collapse if this was the case.

Instead, it means these drivers are moving between carriers for a variety of reasons, including:

  • New equipment and routes – If drivers see another carrier sporting upgraded trucks and hear through the grapevine (yes, drivers talk!) that their routes are well-planned, easy to navigate, or scenic – or a combination of all three – they're more likely to make the jump.
  • More home time – Everyone loves a guarantee. A driver is much more likely to choose the carrier that confidently promises they’ll be home at a certain time, rather than the one that doesn’t mention it at all.
  • Better pay and incentives – Many companies are offering impressive sign-on bonuses and full benefits – something all carriers simply can’t afford to do.

The last point is a big one. American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that commercial drivers’ top concern is compensation in their 2021 Top Industry Issues (TII) report.

CDL drivers now have more control over their careers than ever before. Nothing is stopping them from joining a fleet, collecting their sign-on bonus after the required working period, and leaving to do it all over again with another company.

Everyone is competing for the same limited pool of highly qualified drivers. And even if you’re offering all the above, how can you stand out and keep drivers behind the wheel?

While creating an attention-grabbing and informative driver job ad and following through with the compensation, benefits package, and supportive company culture you’ve promised is extremely important, the key to helping drivers stick around is investing time into understanding the experience of your employees after they’ve been hired.

What does this experience have to do with your driver turnover rate?

According to a study by Brandon Hall Group, a human resource consulting agency in Delray Beach, FL, companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

This means you have much more control over your driver turnover rate than you may have realized. Finding out what your current drivers think about your post-hire processes (think introducing them to the company, training, and fulfilling initial compliance requirements), can help you find out what you need to change.

How can you collect this information quickly and efficiently without interfering with your day job? Here are three ideas.

Conduct Driver Exit Interviews

Even though losing a driver can be unfortunate, it’s the best time to find out how they really felt about working for you. Drivers tend to be more honest about their employment experience when they already have one foot out the door.

Make sure to ask questions about their training experience, if they felt prepared for their job after completing their onboarding, and if they faced any issues during their employment that may have swayed their decision to leave your company.

Check Out Online Reviews

Current and former employees will often leave reviews on websites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, or (in the trucking industry) thetruckersreport.com. It’s a good idea to check these career websites regularly to look for driver feedback.

Not only does this allow you to address issues as they come up, but it gives you an inside look at the morale of your workforce – and whether any issues are brought up repeatedly – which can cause your driver turnover rate to skyrocket.

Encourage Employees to Take Anonymous Surveys

Most employees – especially in the early months of their employment with your company – will be hesitant to give critical feedback for fear of backlash. Rather than bottling up this information until they ultimately leave, an anonymous survey can help uncover issues as they arise so that you can keep drivers in the cab longer.

You can use software like Survey Monkey to create questionnaires for your drivers to complete anonymously. There’s no risk for them with the reward of honest feedback for you. Win-win.

Improve Your Onboarding Process from the Beginning

Whether they’re afraid of jeopardizing their employment, or simply looking bad, the information you get from your current employees doesn’t typically answer all your turnover questions and concerns.

By using the ideas above, you can get critical information and opinions about your company straight from the source. It’s then much easier to take the right steps to improve the areas drivers have trouble with.

We mentioned this additional method of reducing your driver turnover rate: do what you can to make your onboarding process quick, easy, and enjoyable for everyone involved.

Foley’s Driver-First eApplication goes hand-in-hand with seamless driver onboarding. It’s easy for applicants to complete on any mobile device, saves all uploaded documentation to build their DOT driver qualification files once they’ve been officially hired, and it’s DOT-compliant so you’ll be fully prepared when an auditor comes calling.

The Foley eApplication is just one part of our DOT compliance software. With it, you can conduct background checks, schedule and manage DOT physicals and drug tests, and even keep an eye on your employees’ driving habits through MVR monitoring.

What more could you ask for, except maybe a free software demo? Good thing we offer them, too. Fill out the form below to get started.

Keep an eye out for the release of our NEW driver recruiting, onboarding, and management software, Dash, coming soon! 

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