Which came first: the chicken or the egg? What is more important: Recruiting or Retention?
With the driver marketplace in the condition it is today, there is no doubt in my mind that Retention takes priority over Recruiting. Do not get me wrong, recruiting is important providing it is not predatory recruiting. Unfortunately, there are companies that will say anything to a driver to get them in the door. That is what I call predatory recruiting – lying to a driver or anyone else. This has left a bad taste in the mouths of many drivers. You have now lost their trust and respect which is vital to a successful and happy driver. The Happy and Successful Driver is the foundation of a prosperous and profitable company.
Drivers do not like or want to change companies, jobs or positions. It costs them money, down time, paperwork (which is the beginning of a new learning curve with a new company), and more.
Remember one very important thing … people do not leave “Companies” – People leave People
When I speak to different trucking companies, the Owners or Senior Management will tell me that they care about the driver and how important the driver is to their company. Where the rubber meets the road is often a different story. Do your dispatchers, CSR’s, Payroll and Safety have that same feelings and thoughts that Senior Management has when it comes to drivers? Do their actions and lips match?
If you answered yes to these questions, tell me … what is your turnover rate? That is where the truth lies. When you lose a driver, is it always the driver’s fault? How often do you blame the driver for making a mistake or doing something wrong? Does your culture allow negative talk about drivers in the workplace? Do you hold your managers or department heads accountable for a driver that leaves the company? Drivers are people, too – they have wives, families, football practice, recitals and other events that are important to them.
This article only scratches the surface of issues and problems that we as trucking companies face today. Most companies have a “Retention Problem” and not a recruiting problem. If you have to keep recruiting drivers, ask yourself … WHY? Is the problem the driver or is the problem inside the walls of your company?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Anderson is a management consultant specializing in Driver Recruiting and Retention. You can reach him via phone at 605-595-3039, or via email here.