Driver Turnover: Straight from the horses’ mouth

Drivers quit because of reasons you rarely thought were important. Read on to find out more. 

A whopping 94 out of 100 truck drivers are set to walk out the door this year - according to American Trucking Association. This annualized turnover rate for large truckload carriers was 6 points higher than what it was last year. 

At smaller truckload carriers, the turnover rate sunk to 73% but was still seven points higher than last year. 

Soon after the ATA put out this report, a bunch of truckers and fleet owners shared their 2¢ on why truckers chose to walk out the door on different forums. 

Here's some insight - straight from the horses mouth.  

Brace yourselves folks. This ain't going to be pretty. 

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Ken: “I drive for a company that delivers its own product. Our high turnover rate is due to management who knows nothing about the trucking industry, trucks or drivers. We have trucks that accounts say we can have (very uncomfortable), cameras and a no phone policy. Our pay fluctuates weekly and we have to complete with contract carriers. We talk to the managers about our concerns but to no avail nothing changes. They can’t figure out why drivers are quitting. We have new hires quit days after hiring on.”

(Sourced from here)

 Truck drivers have oodles of skill, gumption and never-say-die attitude. Just because they don't fit into the corporate workforce, doesn't mean they're to be treated with any less respect. 

Truck drivers have oodles of skill, gumption and never-say-die attitude. Just because they don't fit into the corporate workforce, doesn't mean they're to be treated with any less respect. 

Billy: “..The relationship between driver and company is a “marriage” of sorts. If a driver is in a good “marriage” why would he want to leave that and start over. Pay me a fair wage/miles, give me good equipment to drive, and treat me with respect. With 40 years in the industry many upper management folks do not get it!

(Sourced from here)

In fact, shin-kicking is an accepted behavior within most organisations. Recently, Kent Ferguson, the director of transportation solutions at HireRight recounted an incident where he was physically assaulted by his driver manager. Ferguson had gone undercover to investigate the treatment meted out to new drivers, and this incident only confirmed his suspicions.  

 In fact, most departments within the company including sales, payroll, human resources - are known to look down upon drivers as second-class employees.  

 To cover more miles, the trucks need to at least hit the speed limit. If not, you're doing a disservice to both your company and you drivers.   

To cover more miles, the trucks need to at least hit the speed limit. If not, you're doing a disservice to both your company and you drivers.   

Mike: “Alright, let’s cut to the chase. Good Truck Drivers, those of us with great driving records and 20 plus years experience, are not going to drive for peanuts! Transportation companies simply need to realize that grossing 1,100 a week is not enough pay (sic) for a Professional Driver to be gone all week. Furthermore, turn the truck up, to run at least the speed limit!! Fix these issues, you retain more drivers.”

(Sourced from here)

 Yes. 0 turnover in the trucking industry can be a reality. 

Yes. 0 turnover in the trucking industry can be a reality. 

“I am with a small carrier and we treat our drivers very well. In comparison, we have “zero” turnover. The last driver that left our employ for another job was over 5 years ago, and he has since returned.
Management is the problem. Whether it is how drivers are treated/compensated or the sales side with poor load revenues. What I refer to as the under-cutters or bottom dwellers. Don’t blame it on driver availability, that is outright false. Good carriers attract truckers, not drivers!”

(Sourced from here)

While small carriers can afford to have a high-touch relationship with their drivers, and genuinely take care of them - those that employ drivers in 100s can't. To retain drivers, companies need to do more than just onboard new employees and hand out trip sheets. 

Drivers want to believe that the company they're working for genuinely cares for them. For starters, here's what the drivers seem to be asking for right away: 

  1. Sharing updated information on pay/incentives
  2. Inculcating respect in the workplace for drivers
  3. Setting up a grievance redressal mechanism - for all issues that drivers face. 

For a company that operates 100 or more vehicles, doing this is no mean task. Processes tend break down when the workforce increases. This explains why the small carrier (mentioned above) had 0 turnover, at a time where all large truckload carriers are starved for .

Managing a large distributed workforce such as this requires robust processes. Something that Noticeboard has been doing for companies across industries.  The platform helps you institutionalise all of the above and then does, some more.  

Driver turnover is not a HR problem. It's a company-wide problem. It's your problem.

Now, do you have a game-plan ready?

If not, reach out to us!