Fixing Culture & Management Problems to Retain Drivers

by Elyse Byers
3 min read
August 24, 2022

The driver shortage is a myth. Good drivers are leaving bad companies.

But what constitutes a bad company? Is it a lack of vision, drivers' concerns that they’re not being heard, or a little bit of both? 

We speak with Jeff Karr, President and CEO at Transport Risk Management Consultants, about the culture and management shortage and how to keep your best drivers.  

Join us as we discuss:

  • Why companies without a mission are losing good drivers
  • Creating buy-in and supporting your drivers out on the road
  • The importance of treating your drivers with respect


Why companies without a mission are losing good drivers

Driver shortage or not, carriers are having trouble finding drivers. But why does it matter what the actual reason is behind the absence? Without a clear idea of the cause, carriers could waste time fixing a superficial problem that only temporarily helps. 

Think of it like taking pain medication for a knee injury: The medicine helps the pain go away for a short time, but only surgery will truly correct the issue.

When it comes to the driver shortage, the true cause is a lack of company mission. 

“The driver shortage is not as prevalent as people may think that it is; good drivers are leaving bad companies.

— Jeff Karr

But a company mission isn’t only about the direction you’ve set for your company, it’s about choosing the right people to work with. Two ways to find the right people:

  1. Make sure they have the right kind of attitude that aligns with the company when first getting hired
  2. Pay attention to how the company portrays itself so the right people will apply naturally.

If employees feel that their voice is heard and the company mission is consistent, you’ll create that loyalty needed to retain your top talent.  


Diving into what makes for a bad company

But aligning employee attitude with company portrayal is easier said than done. What your vision looks like today might be totally different than when you first started to align your company and employees. 

As an executive, paying attention to those changes in vision is the only way to avoid slipping back into a company where employees leave. 


Creating buy-in & supporting your drivers out on the road

Not every company has the luxury of attracting the right employee attitudes. How then, do companies support these drivers that feel frustrated when the executive team tries to enact change?

Bring those employees into the discussions. Not only will they have industry insight specific to your organization, but allowing them to voice their opinions, rather than just delivering changes will create buy-in.

No one wants to be told what to do without reason. Helping your drivers understand why you’re taking the company in a desired direction can help ease tensions. 

“It's not just about treating drivers well, but it's about paying them well and making them feel like a part of that organization.”

— Jeff Karr  

Connecting w/ your drivers

When drivers are out on the road, it’s easy for them to forget that they have a support network back with their organization. And if the executive team isn’t taking the time to foster that relationship, they’re losing a lucrative opportunity to bond and support their team. 

While no company is perfect, there are ways to improve your working relationship with your drivers:

  • Create a newsletter: Discuss current issues and raise awareness so that drivers can recognize how they can collectively improve. 
  • Have a team of driver managers: These people will manage the driver experience — Talking with them once a day and discussing any issues they can help the driver with. 

The importance of treating your drivers with respect

It’s no secret that everyone wants to be treated with respect. But making it a top priority in your organization when it comes to your drivers can reward you with a list of benefits:

  1. Word of mouth: Drivers in a good work environment want their friends to experience the same situation — Leading to more hiring.
  2. Better feedback: Letting drivers know the exact issues in your organization helps them deliver better solutions. 

You want your drivers to be part of your organization; not just holding a steering wheel. Especially when drivers have so many opportunities with other companies. 

If you treat them with respect and make them feel like their ideas mean something, you’ll get ten-fold the value from your employees. 

“People aren't going to work for companies they don't want to work for anymore. They don't have to.

— Jeff Karr

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