Top strategies for retaining truck drivers in 2023

Reliable truck drivers are an essential component of any transportation company. Even the most efficient shipping strategy won’t work without drivers to get your product from Point A to Point B. 

Unfortunately, many trucking companies have struggled with a high turnover rate in recent years. To prevent staffing shortages from hindering your operations, you’ll need a plan in place to improve driver retention and keep your employees happy. Here are some of the most effective ways to improve your driver retention rate in 2023. 

Why are trucking companies struggling with driver turnover?

Over the past few years, the trucking industry has been experiencing a driver shortage. The American Trucking Associations estimate that the industry was lacking approximately 78,000 necessary drivers, and there have been similar trends in other countries as well. 

Some aspects of this trend are not unique to the trucking industry. Employees in a wide range of industries lost or quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and did not return, including truck drivers. 

However, the physically draining nature of the work has made it difficult for carriers to attract new drivers. Truck drivers also need to spend long periods of time away from home while working. Many employees are looking for more work-life balance than trucking jobs provide, particularly as remote work has become so popular. 

Many older truck drivers are retiring, resulting in carriers having a difficult time attracting new ones. In order to reverse this trend, trucking companies will need to listen to both existing drivers and prospective ones, and make adjustments to help them thrive while out on the road. 

5 ways to improve your driver retention rate

To keep your best drivers on board, your business  will need to be proactive about creating a better driver experience. Here are some of the most effective ways to improve your driver retention rate. 

1. Optimize your shipping routes

Health and safety are a big priority for truck drivers, as the work can be very physically demanding. One of the best ways to reduce physical and mental stress for your drivers is to optimize your shipping routes so that they are as efficient as possible. Optimizing your shipping routes will help your drivers spend less time behind the wheel and more time with their families, which is key for work-life balance. When planning your routes and schedules, make sure to give your drivers enough time to sleep, eat, and recharge before heading back out on the road. Not only will this keep your drivers happy, but will also improve your company’s overall safety and performance levels. 

2. Implement a TMS to stay organized

Truck drivers appreciate direct, efficient communication about their shipping routes. One of the best ways to keep all things organized is to use a transportation management system, or TMS. A TMS is a software program that will help you manage every aspect of your shipments, from order processing to route scheduling to billing and more. TMS programs also have plenty of features to help keep your drivers satisfied. 

For example, Rose Rocket’s TMS has a mobile app specifically for drivers. With this app, drivers can view their schedules and routes while on the go. The software also has real-time shipment tracking, which makes it much easier for management to help drivers if issues arise while on the road. 

3. Make sure drivers receive competitive compensation

Your drivers deserve to be compensated handsomely for the hard work that they do. Competitive pay and regular raises are key, especially given the volatile nature of the current economy and rising inflation rates. However, good compensation goes beyond just pay. To retain your drivers, you’ll need to offer perks that keep them happy and healthy. This should include a robust health insurance plan with options for dental, vision, and mental health care. Competitive retirement options and flexible PTO policies will also help you attract talented drivers. 

Additionally, you should make sure your drivers are rewarded for good performance. Your safest and most effective drivers should be recognized and celebrated with bonuses and other rewards. 

4. Improve your training and onboarding

To retain your drivers, you’ll need to set them up for success with in-depth training processes. Before your driver's head out onto the road, they should have all the skills they need to succeed. They should also feel welcomed by other employees and know who to go to if they have any questions. There are many prospective job-seekers right now that could make excellent truck drivers, but need to upskill and learn new technology in order to succeed. Offering extensive training as a benefit is a great way to entice new drivers to join. 

5. Ask for feedback regularly

The best way to keep your drivers happy and prevent turnover is to go straight to the source and ask for feedback. You should regularly ask your drivers for their opinions and use them to make improvements to your operations. Implement a policy of open communication and encourage your drivers to share their concerns. Then, make sure to put your money where your mouth is and take steps to address any issues and continue improving. 

The bottom line

Taking these steps will help you build a team of reliable long-term drivers. If you’re on the hunt for a TMS, be sure to check out Rose Rocket – the #1 rated TMS with all the features you and your trucking team need for efficient deliveries. Book a demo below today to learn more! 

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