The trucking industry is facing an extreme shortage of drivers. It is estimated that there is currently a shortage of roughly 48,000 drivers. The shortage is expected to worsen. Because of this shortage, trucking companies are experiencing a rate of turnover of over 100%. The best way to hire an experienced driver is to look to competitors and entice their current employees to switch over. This is often done through sign-on bonuses averaging $5,000. One of our clients told us that, on average, it costs $25,000 to recruit, hire, and train a new driver.
In this environment, the most cost efficient approach is to keep your drivers happy. What does it take to keep your drivers happy? In a survey of truck drivers, three of the top ten reasons for dissatisfaction were directly related to communication. Number three was due to issues with their supervisor, number four was dissatisfaction with dispatch, and number nine was dissatisfaction with company communication. Much of the communication with drivers takes place over the telephone. It is critical that companies understand the nature of this communication.
Leading trucking companies have started using unified communications recording solutions to monitor dispatcher to driver communications. When reviewing these recordings, the organizations were shocked what actually took place. Some dispatchers were consistently rude, others used vulgar or harassing language. All of this can directly lead to expensive turnover. Trucking companies can benefit from a formal program of recording and reviewing communications with drivers; adopting techniques taken from call centers to create a scorecard of performance for their dispatchers. This can identify low-performing dispatchers as well as the stars. Low-performing dispatchers can be offered additional training while high-performing dispatchers can be provided bonuses. The result is lower driver turn-over and lower overall costs.