Trucks at Work

The work-life balance issue

One of the many difficulties facing fleets in the truck driver recruiting arena – especially long-haul motor carriers that send drivers out on the road for weeks at a time – is the growing demand for better “work-life balance.”

That’s a tough one to meet in many sectors of the freight business, but it’s not a demand unique to trucking alone. Indeed, it’s apparently becoming a top concern among the younger generation of workers – the so called “Millennial” group of under-35 workers.

Take this recent survey of 389 professional workers conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting back in May. Nearly two thirds (64%) of the workers Eagle Hill polled ranked work-life balance as the most important factor for defining overall job satisfaction, ahead of both job security (59%) and compensation (54%).

On top of that, the firm found that most employees indicated that they will stay (or leave) their jobs to achieve better work-life balance. In other words, according to Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill’s president and CEO, poor work-life balance leads to attrition – to the point where among Millennials (those workers under age 35) 89% of those who reported poor work-life balance also said they were likely to leave their jobs this year.

“There are significant costs associated with attrition and high employee turnover, including lost productivity, organizational knowledge, intellectual capital, as well as the costs of hiring, onboarding, and training a new employee,” Jezior stressed.

"As employees feel strongly about work-life balance, it will positively or negatively impact engagement, productivity, and retention for organizations," she added. "As employees feel their contributions, time, and lives are valued, they are more likely to be engaged in their work. And as a result, their productivity will increase—impacting your performance and bottom line."

[One interesting suggestion for trucking firms made several years ago: treat truck drivers more like U.S. Army Rangers. To read more on that idea click here.]

Yet improving work-life balance in trucking is a far harder hurdle to surmount, due to the 24/7 nature of the freight world alongside growing demands for faster delivery times. All of that together puts even more time pressure upon those piloting big rigs for a living.

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