I was listening to a webinar a few weeks ago about the driver shortage. One of the speakers in answering the question, “Why do drivers leave?” gave this answer: “Because they can.” That struck me as simple but profound.
In fact, given today’s low unemployment level, all of your employees have many other options to choose from.
If you want to find and retain employees you must develop a culture that attracts them and makes them want to stay with your fleet. But how do you do that? A good place to start is to talk to your existing employees. Ask them what first attracted them to your fleet. Ask them what they like about working for you and what are some things they would like to see changed. Ask them why they stay.
The folks at Stay Metrics, who were conducting the webinar, talked about some of the things that make people stay. It starts with your job description. Make sure it accurately reflects the job responsibilities — the good and the bad. A job description that does not match the actual job is one of the top reasons people give for leaving a job. So don’t sugar coat things in the job description; make sure it is realistic and reflects what your drivers can expect on a day-to-day basis.
Once someone has agreed to work for you, make sure you use the new employee orientation wisely. Orientation is your best opportunity to impress your new hires and wow them, according to Stay Metrics. When was the last time you reviewed, modified and updated your orientation? If you can’t remember, then it is very possible that your orientation is not memorable. What you want at the end of orientation is for people to talk about how much they liked it. Think in terms of engaged learning and interactive technology. Use orientation to start developing relationships with the new employees and key personnel in your operation.
The relationship between a new employee and his or her immediate supervisor is critical in your retention efforts so make sure you check in with new employees during the early days of their tenure with you to see if there are any issues in that area.
One good way to set yourself apart is to make sure to include some verbal and face-to-face communication with your new employees. While electronic communication is very efficient, it should not totally replace human interaction. We all need some human contact, even at our jobs.
It’s also a good idea to touch base with your employees on a regular basis. Surveys them on a regular basis can unearth developing problems and allow you to find out what’s working and what isn’t.
An open-door policy will go a long way in your employee retention efforts.
Finally, make sure you have a budget for your employee retention efforts and continually work at improving your process for finding and keeping employees.