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Who’s the happiest driver on the road? — Taking The Hire Road

Drive My Way takes a long-term approach to driver retention

On this episode of DriverReach’s Taking The Hire Road, guest host Leah Shaver, president and CEO of the National Transportation Institute, chats with Beth Potratz, founder, president and CEO of Drive My Way.

Drive My Way is a trucking recruiting platform that has a mission to “empower drivers to live the life they want doing a job they love,” Potratz said.

In today’s climate of high turnover, recruiting efforts are often thought about in the short term.

“The spirit of recruiting hasn’t changed, but we’ve become deeply rooted in having so much work. Trying to tackle that work, we get into this cycle of administration, and it’s turned, unfortunately, over time, into a very transactional process. We’ve somehow taken [out] the human part of the process, the personalization,” Potratz said.

Drive My Way’s approach to retention is long term, aiming to help drivers find a job that will fit with their preferred schedules, locations, benefits and other preferences. To gauge what makes them happy in their careers and lives, the company asked drivers directly in a survey.

This iteration of the Lifestyle and Job Happiness Survey will appear in print in the Monday edition of Women in Trucking’s Redefining the Road magazine, but Potratz shared some of the results in this episode. 

One interesting point is the differences in expectations between different ages and at different points in drivers’ careers.

Potratz wants carriers to take note: Three out of five of the drivers who most desired better communication from management were in their careers for less than two years.

“We have to communicate with people, have genuine conversations and recognize that what we’re doing is impacting folks’ lives,” she said.

Another statistic that begs further digging is that driver pay climbed dramatically since 2019, but drivers are less satisfied with their pay today than in 2019.

Potratz believes this has to do with the nature of how jobs have changed from before to after the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacts their ability to make money. She named long wait times as an example. 

“I think it’s the relationships between what they’re being paid for and what the added expectations are that come with that. Whether they’re spoken or unspoken, drivers want to know not ‘what am I going to make’ but ‘what do I have to do to get that.’ People are anxious to post what you could possibly make, but nobody talks about all the variables that could impact you not making that,” she said.

Finding ways to put a company’s best foot forward to attract drivers can be difficult for recruiters and leaders. But Potratz recommends transparency with drivers. This is especially important regarding what the pay is and how it’s calculated.

These days drivers are also interested in the company’s equipment, their commitment to safety, flexibility for time off, whether they’re going to have inward- and outward-facing cameras and whether their speed is going to be governed. They want to know their autonomy and the expectations going into a job so they know how much control they’re going to have and what they’re going to be required to do.

Retaining drivers means being willing to be flexible and fluid to their changing needs. Potratz recommends drivers try to speak to management about new needs that may arise and possible solutions before they jump companies.

She often tells drivers: “You need to take control of your career, you’re the only one who knows what you need. If you’re not willing to step up and have that conversation at least with your current carrier [or] explore if there’s any flexibility or any other options, then the only one who loses in that scenario is you.”

Drivers might be able to be moved to other routes and schedules or even an office where they might have more predictable schedules.

When it comes to the market, at least, anywhere a driver goes they’re going to be faced with the same challenges. On the leader’s side of the coin, Potratz emphasized the importance of communication.

“What really differentiates one leader from another is your ability to step up and have those conversations with the team and be honest and talk about what everybody is feeling and experiencing from all of their different viewpoints and different roles they have,” she said.

Click here to learn more about Drive My Way.

More from Taking The Hire Road:

For better retention, focus on what’s controllable

Fleetworthy’s mission for manageable compliance

Boosting the bottom line with compliance and wellness

Jenny Glasscock

Prior to joining FreightWaves, Jenny worked as a staff writer at a weekly newspaper and later as a safety assistant at a trucking company. She now enjoys a combination of both her interests as a FreightWaves sponsored content writer. She received her B.A. in English Publishing Studies from Illinois State University in 2018 and currently lives in Marengo, Illinois.