6 key strategies to engage drivers during onboarding
Early leaving has become a huge problem in the industry today, with 35% of drivers quitting their jobs within the first 90 days of employment. So it’s best to have these fundamental blocks in place to ensure that your company is doing everything it can to appeal to the new joiners.
Onboarding is a great time and place to get it right - it’s your chance to get your story out and get a buy-in before prejudice or preconceived notions sway them in the other direction. Especially in a climate where turnover rates are steadily increasing. (The American Trucking Association (ATA) said rates climbed 6 points higher to 94% for LTL in Q1)
A well-designed onboarding process is known to have better retention and engagement than those trucking companies without it.
Here are six things that you should most-definitely do to ensure that your drivers are engaged from the get-go.
Get a buy-in
Get that wow-factor early on. It's not the salary that matters. Employees love to work for something larger than themselves. Sell your motto and vision in a language and context that drivers understand.
Showcase what’s unique about your trucking company, while also mentioning how it’s different from peers in the industry. Make your drivers feel like they’re a part of a special group of truckers who’re working towards a cause no one in the industry is chasing.
Let your company shine through in the first few minutes.
To get this messaging right, start with: What makes your company truly special?
Then, to make this message consistent across the various batches of new drivers, have an automated message from the CEO go out to drivers on day 1.
Leave nothing to chance, especially when it comes to the first impression.
Set the right expectations both ways
The expectations that drivers have of the fleet are just as important as the expectations the company has of the driver. There should be no room for assumptions here. For instance, some points you need to clear early on are:
Communicate that weekend starts from late Friday night to Sunday evening only, not a minute after that.
How salary is structured (is it calculated based on miles, days or tonnage)
How are incentives calculated?
What counts as a misdemeanor?
Who pays for detention?
Drivers cannot absorb and remember all points on Day 1. They appreciate when they have this material in a format and place that is accessible. With Noticeboard, you can provide your drivers with a 24/7 access to crucial data so that both parties can hold to their end of the promise.
Assess their personality and match with right dispatchers
In most cases, drivers quit not for the lack of money - but the strained nature of the relationship with their managers/dispatchers. For most days, dispatchers are the only form of human contact that drivers have. So, use your better judgment to identify and match candidates with dispatchers they are most likely to get along with. Give them time to socialize, and become familiar with each other’s workstyles and pet peeves.
With Noticeboard, drivers and dispatchers can connect over public company forums, or privately to get to know each other better. Oftentimes, drivers don’t speak out for the fear of exposure - with our complaints’ section, only the top management will be privy to their concerns and can follow up/ address issues at an organizational level.
Collect their feedback through the 35-day process
Check on your drivers at the end of every week. Collect feedback actively and take corrective measures if need be. Drivers need to know that their opinion and feedback matters.
Your survey should actively highlight certain important aspects
How comfortable are they with the current dispatcher?
Was there some part of the training they didn’t understand?
Did they make contact with all departments?
Was everyone respectful to them - including those from other departments?
How comfortable are they with the current equipment. Do they need more time to get familiar with it?
Automate a survey to be sent out to any new joiners at pre-assigned times. It’s a one-time effort and a gift that keeps giving, with Noticeboard.
Make training fun
Creating a human-driven connection between new truckers and the existing infrastructure is important. Ensure that the people chosen to be the fleet's representatives are good at teaching.
Having a trainer that understands and respects the limitations of the driver folks - their age, their acceptance of new technologies and absorption of new regulations - is crucial.
But, please keep in mind that drivers - whose average age is about 45-50 years old, cannot and will not remember everything taught to them on Day 1.
Stagger necessary training by a day or two. Refresh important safety aspects regularly. Make learning fun and competitive so drivers are enthused to outrank their peers. Using a technology solution to ensure that drivers remember and act upon what is taught, yields best results for your training efforts. See our case study here.
Employee handbooks are necessary, but not effective. Truckers, like most of us today, don’t speak legalese and pore over long chapters. They prefer something more visual. Noticeboard helps you create the content you need to train your employees on. We help you create quizzes, measure performance levels and assess progress - so your truckers will get refreshers on only those things they’re not informed on.
Make a connection with the accounts and other departments and set the right tone of communication.
It’s a common grouse of drivers across most social media channels - no one treats them with respect in the company. Changing this starts with instructing your departments - be it ops, accounts, safety to treat drivers like they would treat the employees of their department.
For example, drivers should be mandatorily introduced to the accounts department, and know whom to approach in case there was lapses/miscommunication.
Or, when the ops team reaches out to the drivers: the conversation should go beyond using a software. They should be told to actively inquire about getting detention pay when detained or discuss upcoming hometime requests.
They need to feel comfortable to walk up to the concerned person without having to second-guess what the other person’s reaction would be.
When the company proactively seeks out these white elephants in the room and solves the problem, the driver knows that s/he’s with a company that’s doing everything to take care of them.
Here's all of it at a glance
Noticeboard’s advance features analyze what every truck driver needs and brings up data in a form and format that the management can take data-driven decisions on.
In doing so, the management takes on a more human face, one that is more approachable and more likely to retain drivers.
Our goal is to improve retention of truck drivers. Try us to replicate this model within your company.