Trucks at Work

Could health benefits be key to attracting and keeping drivers?

Though it’s not focused on the transportation industry, new research conducted by global consulting firm Accenture got me thinking: could health benefits be deployed as a recruiting and retention tool for truck drivers?

It’s not a new topic, for sure, but the Accenture research, which included an online survey of some 2,709 largely white collar U.S. workers, found that 76% of them see health insurance as a “vital factor” for them to stay their current employer – and that if such coverage got terminated, nearly a third would leave within a year.

Here some more of Accenture’s findings on this topic:

  • Some 82% report high levels of satisfaction with their employer-sponsored healthcare coverage;
  • An overwhelming majority (94%) are confident their employer will continue to provide health coverage.
  • Another 76% of workers see health insurance as a primary or important factor for continuing to work at their current employer.
  • When survey respondents were told, hypothetically, that their employer would no longer provide a group health insurance benefit, 64% expressed dissatisfaction with that decision.
  • While less than % of respondents said they expect to lose employer-sponsored health insurance in the future, roughly one-third (31%) said that, if they did lose their insurance, they would leave their job within 12 months, with half of those (15%) saying they would quit immediately
  • Furthermore, nearly one third (32%) of survey respondents declared they would be less motivated to work hard if they lost employer-sponsored health coverage.

Now, here’s an interesting wrinkle Accenture added to this mix, one that trucking firms might find interesting.

According to the firm’s calculations, for a company with 1,000 employees who earn an average salary of $50,000, those turnover costs cited above (31% of employees leaving, 15% immediately, etc.) could total more than $3 million in the first year alone, with the per-employee cost of turnover estimated at 20% of that salary base.

By Accenture’s reckoning, then, turnover per $50,000 employee costs $10,000 – about $2,000 higher than the $8,000 rule of thumb used when discussing truck driver turnover.

 “When exploring alternatives to employee health benefits, employers must carefully consider whether the health-insurance cost savings outweigh the projected impact to turnover and productivity losses,” noted Rich Birhanzel, managing director for Accenture Health Administration Services, in the study.

“When it comes to employee satisfaction, our findings show that maintaining a relationship with employees may be just as important to companies – if not more important – than the cost of providing those employees with health insurance,” he said.

That’s something worth considering, especially as more and more fleets are putting driver pay increases into effect as a way to attract new blood into the industry while keeping savvy veterans behind the wheel as well.

Of course, we can always just focus on developing technology that eliminates drivers altogether – thus eliminating the need for discussing the value of health benefit packages at all. But that moment isn’t quite here yet.

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