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How to Improve Driver Retention & Recruiting With Referrals
Mariah Barr
7 mins read

A solid referral program paired with driver recruiting software is the perfect recipe for long-term hiring success.

Think about the brands and companies you trust in your everyday life. You probably heard about them from another person whose opinion you trust. Honest word-of-mouth recommendations play a major role in the products we purchase and services we use - the same thing applies to how candidates hear about your company.

But many companies like yours are continuously investing a lot of time and money in keeping employees in the driver’s seat. No sooner do they hire a new driver, another one leaves the company. Driver retention can seem nearly impossible.

If you’re stuck in a constant cycle of hiring and onboarding new drivers, you’re not alone. It’s a widespread issue in the industry right now – American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported the turnover rate was at a staggering 91 percent in 2019. In other words, for every 100 people recruited to drive, 91 walked out the door.  

This “revolving door” trend has recruiters and HR leaders strategizing new ways to get drivers on board and keep them there. And while improving work-life balance and employee benefit plans have certainly helped, there’s a strategy that’s been paying off for many companies both in and out of the transportation industry: referrals.

Consider these key statistics from a survey by Clutch:

  • 71% of companies believe cash bonuses are the most effective compensation for employees who refer a hire. 
  • 49% of businesses say that job hires from employee referrals typically stay at the company longer.  
  • 46% of companies typically complete the recruitment process in one month or less. 

While the first point is self-explanatory (we all know that money talks), the last two are key components to solving the recruiting and retention issues companies like yours are facing. Let’s dive into them a little more. 

Referrals Build Familiarity, Teamwork & Long-Term Job Satisfaction 

Your current employees aren’t likely to risk their professional reputations (or jobs, for that matter) by referring someone with a subpar work ethic. No one wants to be responsible for setting up their connection or company for failure.  

On another realistic note, anyone can relate to the uneasy feeling of starting a new job. Getting to know leadership, coworkers, and all your company policies is a heavy weight to place on a new hire’s shoulders. But if one of your current employees refers a candidate, they already have a familiar face to help ease them into their new role. 

Related Foley Article: Your Guide to Hiring Gen Z Drivers & Combating the Truck Driver Shortage

This is the most basic reason referrals help cultivate a healthy workplace culture. Comradery is important, especially if you employ long-haul drivers who are on the road for days or weeks at a time. Team driving is much more successful and enjoyable for employees when they’re paired with someone who they already know and trust.  

Your employees want to be able to rely on one another. It only makes their jobs easier and more fulfilling. Direct referrals can help make this an everyday reality and boost driver retention for your company. 

Referrals Turn Applicants into Employees Faster 

If you have a word-of-mouth recommendation from a current employee who excels in their position, you’re likely to spend less time interviewing them than a candidate you only know based on their job application. That’s why it usually takes less time to hire referrals.

It’s important to note that even if you already know the candidate, you still need to run DOT-required background checks on them before they can legally get behind the wheel of your commercial vehicles.  

Looking for a driver recruiting software solution that both speeds up your time-to-hire AND ensures you check all the boxes with DOT-mandated screens? Dash is your go-to screening and onboarding platform. 

How does your referral program stack up? 

Do you have an employee referral program in place? If not, it’s time to consider one. And if you do, make sure it’s competitive with other companies in your space. Many larger carriers have built out successful referral programs by offering significant incentives in exchange for better driver retention rates.

Take this transportation company’s program, for instance. They offer $1,500 shortly after the referred driver is hired, then another $1,500 after they complete 60 days of employment. Not only does this encourage employees to refer new drivers, but it also saves the company from the risk of employees referring unreliable drivers just to collect some quick cash. 

Now that you know the advantages of an employee referral program, you can set your company up to get a steady flow of well-qualified applicants that you won’t have to go out searching for. 

Start Sourcing More New Hires with Driver Recruiting Software

If you’re reconsidering your referral program, it’s best to take another look at your hiring process as a whole and find any gaps you need to fill.  

Dash, Foley’s new hiring, screening, and onboarding software, ensures you have a comprehensive, streamlined hiring process from start to finish – or “application submitted” to “you’re hired!” 

Once you start using our driver recruiting software (and your referrals flow in), they’ll be pleasantly surprised to see you have a short, easy, mobile-friendly job application designed with drivers in mind. Plus, your hiring team can customize the background screening process according to the positions you’re hiring for.  

Need an MVR before you look twice at an applicant, even if they’re a referral? No problem. With Dash, your preferred screens come first.

Dive into Dash by scheduling a FREE demo with one of our software specialists now. They’ll show you how your hiring process can work better for you and your applicants, especially those well-earned referrals. 

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