The driver shortage has been a pressing issue within the distribution and trucking industry during recent times. Recent insight has, however, cast doubt on the existence of a shortage. Instead, industry research is pointing to excessive turnover rates in connection with the perceived shortage. This could shed light on the myths surrounding the shortage of drivers in trucking.
Carrier companies are experiencing a shortage of available drivers. Previously this was widely perceived to be due to fewer truck drivers entering the industry. Now, however, beliefs are changing. New research shows that the primary cause of shortages in available drivers is actually a result of excessive turnover rates within most carrier companies. This means that drivers are leaving carrier companies for competitors almost constantly. When turnover rates are this high it can seem as though there are too few available drivers. They are actually just moving from carrier to carrier at abnormally frequent rates. If a carrier company could retain the necessary number of drivers there would be no shortage.
What’s causing the shortage?
Now that the myths about the driver shortage have been tied down and the shortage has been attributed to high rates of turnover, then it is important to ask what could be causing the turnover. Some explanations for turnover within the industry are driver conditions, carrier company environment, and the treatment drivers are receiving. Many drivers point to mistreatment when they explain why they are switching to a different carrier company. Mistreatment could include unfair pay, disrespect, lack of home time, overwork, etc.
In order to solve the issue of driver turnover, the most important step is to create a positive environment in which drivers feel valued. This can be accomplished in a number of simple ways. These ways focus on improvements in work-life balance, culture, conditions, and trust. A simple way to improve trust between management and drivers is to set up an honest dialogue between the two parties. To do so it is important for management to clearly state what they expect from drivers and provide realistic expectations for drivers to live up to. Work-life balance is a particularly important subject when discussing how to retain drivers. Truck driving is an inherently time-consuming profession, but everyone appreciates some time off. It is beneficial for both drivers and carrier companies when drivers are allowed adequate down time away from the road. In most cases, driver conditions go hand in hand with their satisfaction. A simple way to improve driver conditions is to offer positive feedback. A positive work environment is proven to improve retention as well as work output.
The bottom line
Myths have sprung up regarding the driver shortage within the distribution industry. It has been determined by industry professionals that driver turnover within carrier companies creates the illusion that there are never enough drivers to go around. The most effective solution for this issue is to improve the environment that your company offers its drivers. This can be done through fair pay, developing trust, and offering positive feedback. We hope this article helps reduce your companies driver turn-over, let us know what you think!
Source: Transport Topics
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