Have you ever thought about the impact the transportation and logistics industry has on your daily life? From putting food on the table, to ordering and receiving a package within a day, the orchestration goes unnoticed by most. More than 70% of the goods we consume are carried on the nation’s highways. Have we considered what would happen if there weren’t enough drivers?
We’re living in that reality today. According to an October 2017 report from American Trucking Association (ATA), the driver shortage is around 50,000 drivers, and if current trends hold, this number could rise to over 174,000 by 2026.
And if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the reported turnover rate for 2017 was 88% for large truckload fleets and 80% for small fleets. “The driver market remains tight and the driver shortage remains a real concern for fleets and the industry,” said Bob Castello Chief Economist at ATA. “If the economic climate continues to improve, I expect both turnover and driver shortage concerns to rise in the near future.”
Attracting and retaining talent is an issue faced by every business, in every industry. A focus on reducing turnover makes sense for several reasons:
- It’s costly in both expenses and lost productivity. The average cost-per-hire is $4,129 and the average time to fill a position is 42 days (SHRM).
- It affects the performance of an organization.
- It’s increasingly difficult to manage as unemployment dips.
The knee-jerk reaction to increasingly competitive markets for employees, drivers or not, is to boost pay, improve benefit packages and offer sign-on bonuses. But is this approach sustainable when churn rates are so high?
Investing in the well-being of your people could be the answer to retaining your talent and enhancing your recruitment strategy. Here are some quick suggestions:
- Build a well-being champion network: Practice a sense of team camaraderie even for remote employees. For drivers, it’s about getting peers to check in on one another. Incent a culture of support. In a Gallup study, individuals with thriving well-being in the study’s first measurement period were 20% more likely to have thriving coworkers six months later.
- Encourage healthy behaviors on the road: Engaging drivers or other remote employees in your wellness program and breaking addictive behaviors is tricky. When convenience is king, changing habits and maintaining the willpower to keep taking steps in the right direction is difficult when you’re not necessarily surrounded by others who can support you and are working towards similar health and wellness goals. Offering the support of a personal health coach over the phone can be a game changer, especially for long-distance drivers.
- Create a checklist for health and wellness: Help your drivers develop a personal checklist of daily activities, much like a safety checklist, to empower them with schedules that include time to dedicate to physical care. Arm them with tips and tools for staying in shape, staying rested and energized, and eating nutritiously on the road like these articles and videos from Men’s Health and YouTube.
Comprehensive wellness programs rooted in improving organizational culture and employee health—mental, physical and emotional—can help strengthen your employee benefits and serve as a lifeline to attract and retain top talent. Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, and they aren’t necessarily working for the money. A 2016 Fidelity study found that 25- to 35-year-olds would be willing to give up an average of $7,600 in pay for a better situation at work, such as more career development and a healthier work/life balance.
Alongside a wellness program, you might also consider offering a variety of other benefits like retirement programs, tuition reimbursement, childcare, schedule flexibility and employee recognition programs.
Providing the motivation, tools and support to increase employee resilience, reduce injuries and decrease health risks, and continually celebrating their achievements, allows your employees to see the value you place on their well-being.