Aug 4, 2019
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The Plight of Truckers: Understanding Them

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Truck drivers, the unsung heroes of the highway, perform a quintessential job that keeps the blood of the American economy flowing without interruption. If you own a trucking business, you have to keep drivers in the best spirits, and you can do this by understanding them and how they work. Learning a few things, you can keep them productive while on the road and increase highway safety. 

Real Drivers Have the Best Understanding

Truckers appreciate working with dispatch workers who were former truckers. Why is that? They understand their job better. Meaning there are fewer mistakes. You can’t understand something fully unless you have worked under these conditions. Even talking to other truckers, you won’t get as much of a sense for what it is like unless you experience it firsthand. Living is the most powerful way that you can understand it. 

Truckers Work Many Hours

As a truck driver, you will put many hours into being on the road. Not everyone understands this fact, but they work anywhere from 80 hours to 100 hours per week, and this is normal. However, they usually get paid by the mile. The pay depends on the company, but it ranges anywhere from $0.28 to $0.40 per mile. On average, you will work 14 hours every day as a trucker. That’s as long as what federal regulation will allow before you have to take a break from the road for safety reasons like staying alert and having a fast reaction time. Many companies will tell you to do whatever you want in the time off, many truckers are tired, and they don’t want to do much other than sleep. 

Hard on the Family

Another reason is truck drivers deserve a lot of respect is because of the amount of work that they have put into the job. Truckers that have been driving for a while (25 years or more) report sometimes losing wives and not knowing their kids due to the trucking lifestyle. However, many truckers say that they would do it all over again for the thrill of the adventure. You will also witness many car accidents because you spend so much time on the road. Along with that, you will observe the daily movement of the American economy and how it works.

How to Mitigate Some of These Problems

When you understand how to lighten the burden of some of these problems, you can make your drivers happier so that they will be more willing to work for you. Besides, you will retain your drivers for longer, which will have a significant impact over the long term. Trucking has a high turnover rate, 2018’s average turnover for large companies was 89%. Many of the companies compete for the best drivers. This means that you always have drivers coming and going with different companies. Paying well is vital to keep company drivers, but you have other factors as well as treating drivers well and trying to understand their situation. 

Begins on the Day of Recruitment

To lower the driver turnover rating, you should understand how it begins from the first day. You have to remain clear about your expectations and communicate with the drivers right from the beginning. Keep it clear on the benefits and the miles that you will provide them. When you provide excellent benefits, the excellent truck drivers will want to stick around because they can’t get it any better elsewhere. 

Never Lie to Your Drivers

Some companies think in the short term of making quick profits, but what they don’t realize is that the truckers are the backbone of your profits. When you lie or disrespect drivers, you may make a fast buck in the short term, but you can drastically harm your reputation. Over time, the word gets out that you ripped off other drivers, and they won’t trust you or feel loyal to you. For example, never lie when it comes to bonuses for good fuel consumption. If you’re going to offer this bonus to drivers, be upfront, and be willing to pay it when the driver has earned it. Some companies fail to follow through with this, and they will send a driver through a mountainous area that takes more fuel, or they will get them on a small technicality. You might make more profits over the short term, but in the long term, it will:

  • Lower company morale
  • Destroy your reputation
  • Reduce loyalty

Try to develop a reputation for telling the truth and having integrity. Developing a good relationship with your fleet will improve the turnover rate. Some drivers have stuck around with a company simply because they liked working for them.

Have a Good Dispatcher

Having a good dispatcher isn’t the only thing, but if you have a lousy dispatcher, it can be deeply annoying as a driver. You want someone who understands truckers (and possibly was a trucker), truckers appreciate working for a dispatcher that understands them. In one survey from Stay Metrics, they learned how you could lower the driver turnover rate by keeping the drivers happy with the dispatcher.

Some of the traits that you can develop to make your drivers happier in this way include:

  • Good judgment
  • Compassion
  • High moral integrity and character
  • Strong communication skills
  • High level of emotional sensitivity and self-control
  • Use Technology

Technology today has become better than ever before, and you can use the information learned to improve your fleet and identify the at-risk drivers most likely to quit. Companies such as Infinit-I Workforce Solutions’ system lets drivers watch short micro-learning videos that help drivers train and improve their abilities.

Then, you focus on them to help improve their happiness while on the job as much as possible. You may not be able to keep them happy every time, but you will significantly improve your chances of keeping them happy in this way. 

Overcome Expectation Stress through Talking About It

One of the best ways that you can improve expectation stress is by talking about it. You want the drivers to understand their job as much as possible so that they won’t feel unhappy with it later. Companies that follow through with checking up on the drivers regularly have a lower turnover rate than the ones who didn’t check at all. Here are some of the questions that you might ask them:

  • Is there anything that you didn’t expect?
  • What makes you happy and unhappy in the work environment?
  • What could we change to make you happier in the workplace?
  • Do you need any tools or training to help you perform the job better?

Using that information, you can improve your company. When you understand the plight of truckers, you can improve your company because they will work better for you. That may not be true in all circumstances, but you can significantly improve the turnover rate and make driver productivity better so that you will earn higher profits. The truck driving industry has one of the highest turnover rates of any other industry, and if you don’t take active measures to keep it in check, you can lose a lot of profits to losing good drivers.

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