Hiring and retaining commercial drivers of all stripes is particularly challenging at the moment. The American Trucking Association, in a 2017 report, indicated that the shortage of qualified drivers was projected to be 50,000 in 2017 and could grow to over 174,000 by 2026. It will become increasingly important that you’re set up to recruit good drivers.
Thus, fleets are actively looking to incentivize drivers to join and stay. If you manage a fleet, don’t overlook creative approaches. Think about upgrading your transportation insurance policy and company benefits as part of your hiring and retention programs.
Lower Premiums, Happier Truckers
Insurance rates for commercial autos may continue to rise, but being proactive may reduce your premium cost, resulting in happier drivers. Lower premiums allow companies to staff more, releasing pressure on drivers trying to meet deadlines and handling too much of a workload. Trucking companies with any history of compliance issues or drivers with marks on their record, no matter how minor, are having the hardest time. The extent of compliance problems for insurers has caused the outright exit from commercial autos by some of the markets dominant carriers, such as AIG, Lexington, and Zurich. The good news is that relief has come in the form of an increased opportunity for specialty brokers. Trucking companies should consider using a broker to navigate the myriad of options and to create a personalized policy that better caters to their unique needs.
Due Diligence when Hiring and Good Perks
The hiring gap has put a pinch on many commercial fleets. Avoid making hasty mistakes to save money, like easing up on your hiring qualifications and requirements. Insurers will view a company with high-risk drivers and lax hiring processes unfavorably. A risky driver might become a liability that you can’t afford down the road. The following are additional perks that will help encourage your drivers’ company commitment, for any size fleet;
Easing Travel Costs in Case of an Emergency
Strictly speaking, the driver is your employee. However, the choices they make impact their families. While everyone may hope otherwise, accidents do happen. If your driver finds him/herself in the hospital several states away from home as the result of an accident, it’s not an ideal station for either them or their family.
You can consider incorporating ancillary benefits, such as “family travel” insurance, which can be an affordable perk. A voluntary endorsement can defray the costs of bringing an injured driver’s family to them in the event of an emergency at a distant location.
Health Insurance Benefits
You might consider upgrading your health insurance packages for drivers. A good place to start is to consider allowing drivers to get health insurance coverage more quickly. Another way to attract and retain drivers, according to RTS Carrier Services, is to help pay for their health insurance premiums. While many fleets pass at least some of the costs associated with healthcare plans on to their drivers, you can set your fleet apart by offering to pay premiums in their entirety.
Engaging Family Members
Because commercial drivers can spend an inordinate amount of time away from their families, finding other ways to engage them can foster trust and encourage commitment to the fleet. In a 2015 article in Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ), David Dallas of Milan Supply Chain Solutions said the company changed its hiring policies to more effectively explain insurance and other benefits not only to drivers but also to their spouses. He said the company made the change after acknowledging the role spouses play in driver retention — and after seeing turnover for that year hit 100 percent.
Attracting and retaining drivers for your fleet has been and will likely continue to be a challenge. As you look for ways to bring them — and keep them — aboard, good insurance policies and benefits can be key. Look at your drivers’ current insurance packages and see how you might be able to make them more attractive. It could help you fight the ongoing issue in hiring and retaining quality drivers.