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Listen To Your Drivers

November 17, 2021 | Recruiting

The 2021 ATRA Report Has Arrived!

The ATRI (American Transportation Research Institute) recently released this year’s report on critical issues in the trucking industry. 

Compiled annually from various surveys taken on an industry-wide spectrum (company drivers, owner-operators, carriers, etc), the report offers a macro-level snapshot of current industry concerns. The presentation provides a ranking of results in order of response frequency, along with three ranked suggestions for solving each issue.

While the combination of drivers and carriers can at times reveal parallel priorities, the results tend to offer a good overall look at how things are going. Some results are predictable (drivers want more pay, carriers want more drivers), but the report holds surprises as well. For instance, 2021 marks the first year where a lack of diesel technicians appears as a concern.

As one might expect, the biggest overall issue is the driver shortage. It’s been number one with a bullet for five years now. Number two, however, is a bit more interesting: Driver Retention, an issue that tends to be in the lower-five range.

Looking at the report’s suggestions for dealing with the driver retention issue, they are all united by a bigger, broader suggestion:

Listen To Your Drivers

Yes, driver retention is an issue. Despite everything, a high number of CDLs are issued on a monthly basis. Potential drivers are out there and even trying the industry on for size. They just aren’t staying.

According to the ATRA report, here are the biggest things companies can do to fix this:

“Research and prioritize retention strategies based on driver feedback and driver tenure data.”

So, find out from the drivers themselves what they want from the job and how work conditions could be improved. Yeah, more pay, but they also might have other suggestions that surprise you.

In other words… 

Listen To Your Drivers

“Evaluate the impact of truck driver benefits, including health insurance and retirement benefits, driver retention.”

Find out what benefits you can offer beyond just straight pay. But more than that, make sure to evaluate whether they are benefits that hold value to those receiving them.

In other words…

Listen To Your Drivers

“Quantify the relationship between safety technology deployment (e.g. cameras, speed limiters, active braking systems) and driver satisfaction and retention.”

Maybe you have some fancy bit of safety technology you’d like to put in all your trucks. How does it affect drivers? Does it disrupt the way they currently prefer to drive? If so, perhaps a class needs to be developed to introduce usage. If everyone hates the new feature, maybe it’s not worth having. Safety is important, of course, but sudden changes that affect driving can be a big deal as well. 

In other words…

Listen To Your Drivers

Obviously, there is no magic bullet that will solve the major issue of driver retention. But reading between the lines of these three suggestions, one thing becomes more and more clear: you have to know what people want before you can deliver it to them.

And the only way to do that is to ask.

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