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Raising the Stakes on Retention

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers may spend up to 60-70 hours weekly driving. With spending so many hours traveling, of course, when truckers are not driving, they are spending much of their time in their trucks. With so much time spent within trucks and on the road, there is plenty of time to contemplate whether all this time away from home is worth the hours on the road. Naturally, drivers want to feel that their time away from home and solitude is worth their hard work. But, it should be noted that worthiness doesn’t always equate to the amount of monetary compensation the driver can acquire. Contrarily, the driver wants to be thought of as more than a body to collect for labor, but that the company is looking at the driver from a holistic perspective; a holistic approach to working with drivers can improve driver retention in trucking, as we discussed in Blogs 1 and 2, which in turn will decrease the trucker shortage that is impacting the supply chain and logistics.

Oftentimes, the initial thought of truck driver recruiters is to offer sign-on bonus incentives to gain the attention of truck drivers looking to be placed. However, sign-bonuses are not always the answer to hiring CDL drivers. Why not? Firstly, sign-on bonuses get drivers the first-look attention, but it doesn’t promote longevity. For example, if a driver is presented with $1,000 for signing on to a company, and the company splits the bonus into two checks after 90-days, the additional money may have fulfilled an immediate need, but the driver may examine the position more closely or other benefits that can be wrapped inside of thoughtful gesture.

Traditional Benefits

When new employees court a new company, they consider the pay and the benefits package. Because healthcare can be a costly expense, it is one of the benefits that are considered a high priority. The Society of Human Resource Management performed a survey and the data reflects that healthcare ranks the highest among workers. The question that a driver might ask is how much does the healthcare package cost because it will be deducted from the driver’s payroll, and therefore, the driver will have less take-home pay. Then, there is the copay for a doctor’s visit. Because the copay and the healthcare deduction are going toward the same expense, the driver may feel that he or she isn’t compensated enough for the benefits to be advantageous for he/she or his/her family.

Furthermore, during the pandemic, mental health has been a topic of concern. The CDC reports that “during June 24–30, 2020, U.S. adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.” Many experienced people have to social distance from friends and family and people they encountered in public. In the aforementioned paragraph, drivers are often isolated being on the road; the pandemic amplified that isolation. It has become even more imperative that drivers have access to mental healthcare professionals. Maybe have an 800 number for drivers to call to speak to someone who could provide professional assistance and an ear in order to maintain connections while on the road. Simultaneously, mental health issues can have an adverse effect on a driver's physical health, such as fatigue, sleep problems, and other chronic diseases. If a driver is dealing with a combination of mental and physical challenges, it will make it much harder for a driver to continue to drive, thereby, further negatively impacting the driver shortage.

The next priority on the list of benefits is a retirement package. A retirement package provides a tangible outcome from the time CDL drivers invested in the logistics industry. Eventually, those who participate in the labor force will no longer be able to provide labor or have reached an age where they would like to remain local or travel for pleasure. In the past, it was standard to offer pensions, meaning "the employer [commits] to make regular contributions to a pool of money that is set aside in order to fund payments made to eligible employees after they retire.However, in the ’80s, pensions have become less common and 401k’s have replaced pensions and an employee’s retirement plan. With a 401k, the employee contributes to a savings plan, and sometimes the employer will match the contribution. Since an employer may not always offer a matching benefit, the option to have a place to save can be a benefit that a driver may find appealing to know that the company is concerned with the driver’s well-being in the moment and in the future. Moreover, if a company cannot offer a 401k plan, per se, maybe access to an advisor or planner would convey the same message that the company is invested in the driver as a whole person who needs will change as more time is spent over the road.

Nontraditional Benefits

Rig on Wheels continues to push to think creatively and brainstorm ideas to highlight the opportunities in logistics and improve the experience for drivers. In that effort, benefits do not have to be provided in the standard methods, but a carrier could use its rewards from its company card. For example, if the carrier has a money-back reward on its credit card, and the carrier just fixed three disabled trucks using the credit card, and the credit card company credits the carrier’s card because it reached the reward target, the carrier could use the reward to purchase grocery gift cards that drivers could use over-the-road. It is a token of appreciation as well as showing the driver that there is an investment in the person. Also, the driver wouldn’t have to use his or her personal funds to purchase groceries, and technically, the driver’s take-home pay increases.

Another nontraditional benefit is a referral program for drivers. If the driver refers another driver to the carrier, and the referred driver is hired to the trucking company, the truck driver providing the referral could get PTO days or vacation incentives added to what would have been used as sign-on bonuses. And the incentives are now funneled into the referral program. This process fosters a driver retention program and continually supports the driver that continues to invest his or her time into the carrier.

Generating Ideas for Benefits

Rig on Wheels Broker & Recruitment Services would like to thank you for taking the time to find out about our mission and vision for truck drivers and the logistics industry. As a company, we understand that truck drivers are the backbone of the U.S. economy. We would like to speak to you about your plans for retention.

To learn more about Rig on Wheels’ Consultation Services | Book Now

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To speak directly to Kameel Gaines, call 281-968-3100.

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