July 10th, 2024 | Sterling

Best Practices to Attract, Onboard, and Retain Quality Drivers

Key Takeaways

  • With projected driver shortages increasing to 82,000 in 2024, trucking fleets need to find ways to stay competitive to recruit and retain quality drivers.
  • Effectively onboarding and retaining drivers is just as critical, if not more important, as finding new drivers.
  • Trucking fleets should partner with an experienced background screening provider with transportation expertise that can help them hire safely and confidently.
  • Embracing automation and streamlining processes can enable trucking fleets to focus more of their time on engaging and mentoring their drivers.

Trucking fleets are the backbone of commerce, and finding and keeping qualified drivers is more critical than ever considering the escalating demands projected for the 2024 freight market. Despite higher demand for freight transportation, the American Trucking Association (ATA) projected a driver shortage in the United States of over 60,000 in 2023, which has only increased to 82,000 in 2024.

You and your hiring team are tasked with finding ways to stay competitive so your organization can continue driving their business forward. We break down ways trucking fleets can tackle these challenges, from recruiting top talent to keeping your best drivers on the road.

Attracting Drivers

  1. Utilize Advanced Recruitment Techniques: Leveraging digital platforms and social media can expand your reach to a broader audience. Partnering with driving schools and vocational programs can also further build your talent pool of drivers who are early in their career.
  2. Offer Flexible Scheduling Options: More drivers are now valuing work-life balance. Offering flexible schedules, including guaranteed home time or shorter routes, can make your trucking fleet more appealing.
  3. Leverage Industry Expertise to Manage Compliance Regulations: Partnering with a background screening provider with transportation expertise can keep your hiring processes compliant and in line with the latest industry standards and regulations.
  4. Embrace Automation to Simplify the Hiring Process: Sterling’s Hiring Reimagined Special Report: Industrials showed that 41% of recent transportation candidates dropped out of the hiring process because it was too complicated. Hiring managers need to ensure that every step of their hiring process is easy and straightforward, giving your quality candidates a positive experience.

    Implementing automated processes, such as Sterling’s Integrated Driver solution, can greatly increase efficiencies by having candidate data and their DOT application details auto-populate in all the necessary platforms, allowing trucking fleets to maintain compliance and simplify the driver qualification process so their drivers can get on the road faster.

Onboarding Drivers

  1. Automate the Onboarding Process with More Integration: Configurable API options with applicant tracking systems (ATS) can further streamline and organize the onboarding process, allowing high volumes of candidates to onboard without requiring support from HR teams.
  2. Provide Comprehensive Training and Support: Providing detailed and thorough training on safety protocols, handling equipment, and even advanced driving techniques and compliance can leave a positive impact on new drivers joining your company.
  3. Create an Effective Onboarding Experience: 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they had a positive onboarding experience. An efficient onboarding process should set the tone for a driver’s experience with the company.

    Take a look at Sterling’s 30/60/90-day Onboarding Plan here.

Retaining Drivers

  1. Fostering Driver Safety and Well-being: Investing in driver safety can go a long way. In a Sterling Live episode, Rich Lacey, Chief Product Offer for SambaSafety shared, “Drivers want to learn more. They want to work for companies that care about them, that are teaching them skills, coaching them, making them better. If you train your drivers, you’re going to find it easier to retain them too.”

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  2. Implement an MVR and License Monitoring Program: Pulling a MVR report once a year only captures a snapshot of a driver’s performance. An MVR and license monitoring program can help trucking fleets better enforce their safety policy by proactively addressing the driving behavior of their drivers.
  3. Celebrate Drivers with Recognition and Rewards: Acknowledging your driver’s dedication and hard work through public recognition, awards, and even bonuses can boost their morale and loyalty. Celebrating milestones and achievements helps sets the foundation of a positive work environment.

Driving the Wheels of Commerce Forward

Trucking fleets need to embrace a holistic approach to attract, onboard, and retain their best drivers. By staying ahead with innovative strategies and strong partners, companies will be in a better position to remain competitive, sustain growth, and achieve organizational success.

Learn more about Sterling’s transportation background check solutions.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.