Key to driver retention?
Show them some respect
Mar 10, 2009 8:31 AM
The theme for this year’s Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) annual convention, "Our Driving Force—Trusted, Professional, and Proud," was inspired because fleets need to find ways to show drivers that "we value their work and recognize their role in our success," said Ray Haight of MacKinnon Transport. Haight, the outgoing TCA chairman, addressed this topic in his opening remarks at the event being held in Orlando FL.
Showing respect to drivers can lead to impressive results, he said, and noted that his company was able to reduce its driver turnover rate from 120% to 20% in 2½ years.
Of all the steps MacKinnon Transport company took to retain drivers, the real key to success was treating drivers with integrity and honesty, said Haight.
A survey of drivers revealed they wanted three chief things from the company: be consistent in its dealings with them, keep them informed about the direction in which the company was headed, and provide accountability to show the company was concerned about their safety and the safety of their community.
Conducting business with this set of values was the single most important thing done to reduce driver turnover, he said.
"The basis of all good human relations efforts is quite simple," said Haight. "People stay in situations they like and feel comfortable in, and they leave those that they do not like. Their core values have to match your company’s. You can build an entire retention strategy around that simple thought."
He maintained that if fleets "focus on quality and integrity, and make it a cornerstone of your operation, you will get quality and integrity. Don’t settle for less."
Haight stressed that "turnover can be managed. It doesn’t have to be looked on as an unavoidable evil of this industry—a disgusting theory that we have talked ourselves into."
A good starting point is to treat "the people who choose to spend their lives in this industry with a great deal more respect than we have in our most recent past."
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