How effective are you in keeping a driver once you make the hiring decision?
In May, I shared with you the 12 critical contact points fleets have with prospective drivers before they're hired. Dave Goodson, president of the National Survey of Driver Wages, developed these driver "face-offs." This month, with the assistance of Goodson's team, I want to focus on 12 elements that are critical to the first 30 days of employment. For each item, rate your fleet on a five-point scale, with five points being the best.
Condition of equipment. When drivers get in their vehicles for the first time, equipment should be spotless.
Company logos. Wearing hats, shirts, or jackets with the company's logo helps build pride. Fleets that provide these items get a "5." If you don't hand out anything, give yourself a "1."
First dispatch. The best fleets ensure that new drivers never get off to a bad start. They will often assign new drivers to a special board where the dispatcher takes the time to make sure they understand what is expected.
First paycheck. Often the first paycheck confirms a driver's worst expectations. The best companies make sure drivers understand how pay is calculated.
First names. Avoid treating drivers like numbers; it only builds resentment. Give yourself a "5" on this one if you make an effort to recognize drivers by name.
Company leagues and contests. Build company morale - support softball and bowling teams, or a "fantasy" football league, for example.
Home front. A call to the driver's family to ask how things are going demonstrates that a fleet cares about the driver.
Getting home. Even though the importance of getting drivers home often receives lots of attention, many carriers don't take the initiative to do this during the first 30 days. Carriers that rate a "5" spend a little extra money to make sure the driver gets home during the first month on the job.
Accessibility. New drivers have lots of questions about paperwork and logs. Making it easy for them to talk to someone who can help and who has a positive attitude will go a long way toward helping them feel good about the carrier.
Shipper directions. Being able to "locate" key customers, as well as information about loading hours, good places to park, the closest truck stop with showers, etc., can be a big source of frustration for new drivers if not handled properly.
Pat on the back. Drivers, like the rest of us, appreciate a kind word. Catch drivers doing something right and let them know. If the only time drivers hear from management is when they screw up, give yourself a "1."
30-day check. Bring drivers back to the home terminal after 30 days so they can talk to the people they met during orientation and develop relationships. It's also a good opportunity for more training. If you let the 30-day anniversary go by without notice, you only deserve a "1."
To consider yourself a top carrier, you need to score 50 points or more. Remember, new drivers probably have positive expectations about your fleet. You need to make sure you meet those expectations during their first 30 days on the job.