Tackling Driver Turnover – Part Seven – The Circle of Success

Here we are at the end of this series. If you were to try and follow this process from beginning to end, I would suspect that the whole process would take six to twelve months. If done correctly you should see a substantial reduction in your turnover numbers. The trick is how to sustain and improve your results consistently. When my company went through this and we finally got to 20% annual turnover, we celebrated. But shortly thereafter, we also experienced a bounce where the turnover numbers jumped back up. Nowhere near to where they were when we started but still a concern.

This was when we realized that we might have begun to take our successes for granted. So, we decided that we needed to double down our efforts to ensure we never came close to triple digit turnover again and we didn’t. We came in consistently between 20-30% after the initial bounce we experienced.

Of course, you can use your judgment on some of this but for your company to avoid this experience; the final section of this series is called the Circle of Success. It is an abbreviated review of most of the milestone moments of the first six sections so in a nutshell, consider some or all of this in your ‘go forward’ strategy.

1.  Your leadership team should restate the original commitment to the whole company and at the same time, recognize all the effort that has gone into the gains that the company has achieved to date. This could be arranged as a celebrational event making a big splash over the whole process, a chance to recognize the folks who were the stars and to reassure them that the effort continues.

2.  Ensure the process is in place to know where you are in the marketplace with Driver and Owner Operator remuneration and make sure that you set your process up in a SOP (standard operating procedures) that repeats itself at a minimum, annually, if not quarterly. You must know where you are always compared to the competition and that that position aligns with your companies ‘go forward’ strategy.

3.  How much stronger is your commitment to safety and how is this focus reflected in your numbers? Is your safety record central to your input of new Drivers and Owner Operators? How could you further this commitment to safety as this must be at the forefront of your recruitment and retention effort.

4.  Have you entirely built out your communications strategy by filling your company’s rumour mill with all the good things that happen at your business daily? Remember my saying; “I share information with you because I trust you” and, “I don’t share because I am not interested in your opinion, do your job”. People who feel engaged in the workplace will contribute more; they are more productive and will make this effort more successful, that’s a fact.

5.  Have you established a recognition program that catches people doing the right things and then rewarding and recognizing it? Nothing is better than to ensure that ethical behaviour is repeated. Everybody including the biggest, toughest truck driver likes to get a pat on the back once in a while. There are folks at your company that do amazing things in their communities, for charities and for your company. Shine a light on those folks and watch them grow.

6.  What information do you share with your people about our industry? There is so much going on at any one time at the city level, county level, state level and federal level. You should assume that your people want to stay up to date with what’s happening in the industry they have chosen to spend their careers. Do you have a process for them to continue their education in any area they have interest in? Making the offer of continuing education is a sign of respect and shows interest in their future and that is good for your business.

7.  Now that you’ve completed the program, how are you going to sustain and improve on the turnover numbers you have been able to achieve? You must continue to support your communication strategy and the Communication Action Team. You will need to continue to support the Recruitment and Retention Action Team. You must continue to measure, measure and measure every element of the operations department to find any anomaly that might require attention.

Here we are at the end of this series of articles. These teachings are at the root of the TCA TPP Driver Retention Action Plan. The action plan consists of forty-six, three to five-minute videos separated into seven sections described above. There is also a very granular manual; one for each video and they have expected outcomes. They also have deliverables, accountabilities and time frames to comply to.

To ensure things get off on the right foot, the program starts with a full day workshop, focusing on your company’s specific pain points. During the workshop, we also do a high-level strategic planning session where we try and get things kick-started and off on the right foot. Also, we have monthly phone calls with the program sponsor and whoever else might have oversight on the plan. We discuss where things might get hung up, we address unforeseen challenges and how to deal with them and we review the last month’s turnovers numbers to ensure we’re on track. The entire program takes between six and twelve months to get you on the right path depending on your situation with your retention numbers.

I have a personal goal with each of the companies who are in the TCA TPP Retention Project Plan and that is to see them achieve a 33-50% reduction in their overall turnover in the first twelve months, which I know is achievable. How do I know? Because I have seen it and I have lived it. I’ve done it and this is one of the reasons I commit myself to this effort. Our industry deserves better than the turnover numbers we have been plagued with over the past number of decades and it can be beaten.

Safe Trucking

Ray J. Haight

About Ray J. Haight

Areas of Focus: Operations, Recruiting & Retention, Human Resources With a career spanning four decades, Ray has been involved in all facets of the North American Trucking Industry.