Improve Driver Retention with Modern Communication Tools
Driver recruitment and retention is a massive, ongoing challenge facing all leaders in the transportation industry. Last year, the United States saw a record shortage of 80,000 truck drivers and turnover rates hovered around 90%. While there are overt reasons drivers leave (i.e. pay, long hours, incomplete training), one issue that often goes unnoticed is driver dissatisfaction that results from poor, inefficient communication.
Holding on to outdated, clunky technology systems is a main perpetrator for poor communication and a quick way to lose talented workers. Systems that office teams and drivers rely on for communicating with each other can be slow and difficult to use, leading to delays, miscommunications and spikes in frustration.
This is true for every industry, but it’s especially relevant for the transportation sector. Motor carriers have a mobile workforce that relies on effective communication tools to relay messages. When communication channels aren’t updated or prioritized, drivers on the other end of the message can be easily confused, even angry, when information is received from disparate systems and they have to toggle back and forth between screens to map everything together themselves — or worse, when information is incomplete or received too late.
Disparate modes of communications inevitably lead to mistakes that can cause unnecessary stress for drivers and increase their likelihood to quit. Improving visibility of communications by integrating the messaging across systems and devices can solve this problem.
Improving Dispatch-to-Driver Communication
Information sharing needs to be efficient and accurate to get the job done and help drivers feel more connected to their dispatchers as well as to others within the company.
Drivers spend most of their working time alone – void of face-to-face interactions and breaks or lunches spent together with coworkers. Many spend up to 300 days out of the year on the road. They’re also working long hours — some more than 70 hours over an eight-day period. Feelings of isolation and disconnectedness can lead to unhappiness, ultimately resulting in drivers looking elsewhere for employment.
It’s time for change. Simple shifts in communication, made possible by modern technology solutions, enable smarter, faster ways for sharing information that helps make drivers feel more connected to the operations team even when they’re away.
Small changes that make a big difference
There are now technology platforms that help to address the communication and messaging challenges that motor carriers and drivers experience all too often with traditional TMS and back-office systems.
Here are just a few ways technology can improve communication and, in turn, improve driver retention:
- A single source of truth: Historically, dispatchers have had to send messages to drivers through corporate devices in trucks and through mobile applications – typically two separate streams of communication to monitor and manage. This can feel overwhelming and become stressful, especially when messaging threads are lost, unavailable to the organization (e.g. person-to-person SMS texts), or overlooked. Now, with capabilities to merge the message streams from in-cab and SMS communications, all communications can be centralized in one place for better visibility and awareness of driver status. This helps streamline real-time communication and provides more confidence for both dispatchers and drivers, knowing they’re both operating from a single source of truth.
- Increased visibility: A single source of truth also helps to increase visibility and track conversations in a more organized manner. For example, fleets can organize drivers into groups to track conversations and complete digital forms on a timeline. There are also visual and audio cues that can alert dispatchers and drivers when new messages are received, so they don’t have to keep manually checking for new updates themselves, which normally takes up unnecessary time and can easily cause frustration.
- Customized by driver: Not every driver operates in the same way, so having a customized experience – something tailored to them – can make them feel understood and appreciated. Modern platforms allow everyone to customize their workflows down to an app-by-app and driver-by-driver level to create in-cab experiences with technology that best suit their specific business objectives.
Other simple and more personal changes can make a big impact. For example, fleet managers who take the time to remember and recognize small things like birthdays or work anniversaries – even thanking veterans for their service on Memorial Day – stand out to drivers and foster healthier, more supportive relationships. Moments of recognition take a minute to do but can have a lasting, positive impact and influence.
How Motorcity Systems Can Help
Good communication can make the difference in keeping or losing talented drivers. Relationships will improve when fleet managers and dispatchers are in lock-step with drivers and have a communication flow that serves the needs of all parties. Better relationships mean higher job satisfaction and willingness for drivers to stay.
Download our free industry guide, Clear Capacity Hurdles with Driver & Trailer-Focused Technology, or request a demo of our RELAY messaging app to learn more about the solutions that can help improve driver retention and asset utilization.