Retaining Your Drivers – It’s the Smartest Thing You Can Do
If you have a company fleet and company drivers then you know how serious the driver shortage is today. Drivers have many employment options that include signing bonuses, inflated pay rates, and many other incentives. Other employers are actively recruiting drivers, your drivers, and you should have a plan to keep them happily employed with you.
Professional drivers are on the road most or all of their day and generally feel excluded and removed from activities and information that other employees receive. Additionally DOT regulations seem to change quickly and drivers know they must stay current but often feel unable to keep up. Keeping them engaged, interested and current on DOT is an important part of retaining your drivers.
Some of the more progressive employers are keeping their drivers engaged using online tools and web-based training available anywhere at any time which is important for drivers on the road. Online programs have been used successfully for years to train and engage office and operations personnel, to provide professional and compliance training, safety training, educational credits, industry information and many other topics.
So how can online training help you retain your drivers and make them feel valued? Here are just a few possibilities….
☞ Send monthly, or weekly, company updates on policies, procedures, announcements, organizational changes, HR updates and other company specific information so they don’t feel forgotten or “the last to know”.
☞ DOT is always publishing new information and a number of driver specific newsletters exist that can be electronically forwarded to them and archived for recall if needed.
☞ DOT physicals are a requirement for all drivers and unfortunately, some miss their deadlines. An online program can automatically send them reminders 60 then 30 days in advance of their due date. If anyone gets within 7 days of their due date a notice can be automatically sent to the company alerting them to this problem.
☞ Deadlines as basic as license expiration can be loaded into the online portal so drivers are reminded well in advance to renew.
☞ Safety bulletins are common in transportation but how many drivers actually read them? An interesting approach is to put these bulletins online, then send a reminder that a new edition is waiting for them. Now add 3 short quiz questions at the end of the bulletin that they answer online to confirm they read and understood the safety topic. If they have not read the bulletin after a predetermined time then reminders are sent and eventually a notice to the home office alerting them.
☞ Real life examples are helpful for learning what to do or what to avoid to remain safe and productive. An online forum available only to your drivers to share stories, successes, opportunities and challenges, and occasionally humor, will give them access to information from their peers which is often viewed as more “real” than other sources.
☞ Keeping up with time off and vacations is often a problem for employers when drivers are seldom in the office. Use online tools for drivers to schedule their time off and give visibility to a master calendar.
☞ Often employers have required training and coordinating these sessions is a challenge especially if conducted as classroom training. Put the training sessions online for drivers to take at their convenience. Online training has been used for years for other professions and many tools exist to ensure they are engaged, paying attention and understand the material. Allowing them to do this on their terms, at their convenience shows you value their time.
☞ Online programs can be used to provide ancillary or voluntary learning to enhance their knowledge on non-work topics like financial investing, software skills, English language skills, e-mail training and more. Progressive employers know these inexpensive offerings set a positive tone with your drivers that you care about them as a person.
These are just a few of the ways an integrated online program can help engage your drivers. Most importantly it is portable and available 24/7 so they access it when convenient for them via smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops at home. If your drivers return to the shop each night then an inexpensive kiosk can be set up to allow access to this information.
Drivers are an important part of your business; turnover is expensive and finding experienced drivers is very difficult. So avoid costly turnover by spending a little to retain the quality drivers you have and offer them something other employers cannot; access to information on their terms and a way to engage with the company so they feel like part of the team.
Online training is surprisingly affordable and easy to get started with little or no involvement from your IT group. To see how online learning can benefit your company contact KMI Learning for a free demo.