One of the things I love about this industry is that if you keep your eyes and mind open, you can learn something new every day. Recently, I’ve been honored to be invited to sit in on a large company’s retention team meeting every week. I have worked with this company for a couple of years, and I am delighted with what they have accomplished. They have reduced their driver turnover during that timeframe by 59%. They still have a way to go to get to where they want to be, but they have shown a significant improvement.
While working with them, one of the efforts that was started was creating an expectation sheet. You have heard me talk about this before, it is a critical part of the TCA Driver Retention Program that I represent. In a nutshell, carriers are asked to consider this simple paradigm; you hire drivers and owner operators to fill seats and sustain your customers’ capacity to succeed. Hopefully everyone can wrap their heads around that idea. If you understand that concept then it shouldn’t be much of a stretch to reverse things and understand logically that both drivers and Owner Operators will consider your company as a place to entrust with their labor because they also wish to be successful.
So, if we were to get to the root of what it takes to be successful for both parties, this makes for a great starting point for both sides to work from and hopefully end up with success for all involved. If you could do that, would you be able to be successful in retaining more of your employees and Owner Operators? Would your company become a place where people want to come to work and stay working?
If the above idea makes sense, then let me walk you through how it might work. You would have each of your dispatchers itemize the critical elements that are needed from each driver, the minimum number of miles, communication requirements, time off notice, etc. whatever is specific to their operational responsibilities. This information is, of course, shared with any potential new hire. This same information is required from the drivers. What is the minimum number of miles you need monthly to be successful, what kind of home time do you need, what amount of money do you need monthly to be successful, etc.? Of course, you only hire the driver who is reasonable with their expectations and can meet your minimum expectations also. If you hire someone with ridiculous expectations hoping they will fall into the program and love you anyway, you will have hired your turnover because they will leave for greener pastures, guaranteed.
We all know that doing these exercises and then filing the document away somewhere is a waste of time. Here is what my client is doing with it. They created a scorecard for each of their dispatch boards. Those scorecards are reviewed monthly, and they check all drivers who have met their own and your expectations. They send a quick note of appreciation, reminding them that they are on track. The drivers who have missed the company’s expectations or their own expectations are talked to, and a plan for success is agreed on to move forward. Here is the question: how do we get things on track so that we’re back in the win/win column?
If done correctly, this effort is both proactive and a simple process to start to understand what is going on with your turnover, especially if you take it to the next level, which this carrier has. What do unrealized expectations have to do with turnover? Everything! This carrier has turnover numbers measured by each dispatch board; they match those turnover numbers to each board’s met and unmet expectations. You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that there is a correlation between that board’s unmet expectations and its turnover numbers. I love this idea because it is straightforward to design the forms and is easy to implement and monitor. It has been my experience that most new innovation is merely common sense revealed, and this is an excellent example of that in practice.
If you’re interested in exploring this idea and any other part of the driver retention project, please feel free to reach out to me at the address below. The bottom line is that no one goes to work in the morning and tries to fail. People want to be successful. It’s in our nature, and if you believe that, what is your company doing to help people succeed? If the answer to that question is nothing, what makes anyone think your employees will reciprocate with accomplishing your company’s success? Today’s labor force is all about the WIIFM, the wiffim, of course, stands for “What’s In It for Me.” The above exercise goes a long way towards answering their WIIFM.
I get great satisfaction from helping carriers reduce their driver turnover. Every driver that stays with their current carrier is one less that has to go home and tell their families that they don’t have a job. That there will be an interruption in cash coming in to pay the bills. That they failed, that they either quit or were fired, this industry disrupts families far too much, and I believe we’re too good to be this bad with our labor pool. We collectively need to start taking this situation much more personally. All of this turnover is fixable, it is not intrinsic to this industry, that idea is BS. There is no need for it, and it can be fixed.
Take Good Care and Safe Trucking.
TCA Profitability Program retention coach