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Driver surveys cut to the heart of retention crisis

Tenstreet offers carriers a full suite of engagement tools

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The United States saw a record shortage of 80,000 truck drivers last year, according to the American Trucking Associations. While this shortage has inspired many carriers to up their recruiting game, the data suggests that turning their attention toward retention could prove even more fruitful.

Carriers often experience turnover rates above 90%. To combat this staggering statistic, carriers need to know why drivers are leaving. The best way to figure that out is to ask them.

Tenstreet has made a name for itself in the recruiting and retention space. The company offers carriers a full suite of driver engagement tools, including fast, easy, and accessible surveys. While surveys may seem simple in theory, this tool has made a world of difference for Meiborg Brothers recruiter Shawn Broach.

“It has given us a chance to feel out the drivers and make them feel like they have a voice,” Broach said. “I was a driver for 20 years, so I know how important that is. A lot of the time drivers feel they aren’t heard or their opinions don’t matter.”

When drivers choose to leave carriers, it is often because too many “minor” issues have gone unsolved over time. Providing drivers with an easy way to communicate about small frustrations — and then addressing them — is integral to creating a supportive environment and promoting retention. 

“If I have a driver leave, I can typically look back and see the warning signs that I missed before,” Broach said. “The more we can automate, the more effective we are at connecting with our drivers and making sure they are being heard before they quit.” 

Just sending out surveys is not enough, though. As the trucking industry has become more tech-savvy, many companies have started placing an emphasis on data collection. Having data from drivers doesn’t mean much if it stays trapped in an overlooked spreadsheet. In fact, asking questions and then not acting on the answers may be worse for driver morale than never asking at all.

Broach has followed up on the data collected from the Tenstreet surveys, engaging with drivers to assure them that their concerns are being acknowledged. 

“These issues are overlooked without the surveys because the drivers don’t stick around long enough to bring  problems up to management,” Broach said. “The surveys allow the driver to get the issues that build up off their chest.”

The company has already made small changes as a direct result of driver feedback, including adding portable toilets to their drop lots. 

Tenstreet’s driver surveys feature a standardized list of questions and responses, which makes it easy for carriers to aggregate data and track trends over time. This can be done on an individual driver basis — as well as a fleetwide basis — which allows carriers to pinpoint specific employees who may need more support. 

Ultimately, hiring and retaining folks in any industry is a complex, human-oriented process. By automating the most repetitive parts, managers can spend more time and energy focusing on the people themselves, leading to better outcomes for everyone involved. 

Click here to learn more about Tenstreet’s retention tools.

Ashley Coker

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.