Recruiter sourcing Talent on Computer with picture of earth in background marked in several locations. Driver with thumbs up standing to the side of earth in front of delivery truck.

17 Ways a Drivers Retention Starts with Sourcing


The competition for truck drivers right now is high. The Covid-19 pandemic sparked it. The cut-throat competition has caused a massive driver shortage. Sourcing and hiring drivers with retention in mind is now an important topic.

For example, as we speak, we have a truck driver shortage of 80,000, with most of these jobs found in the tanker market. This figure is projected to increase to 160,000 by 2030. In this article, we share tips on hiring drivers with retention in mind.

Hiring drivers with retention in mind requires the combination of the best sourcing practices with a culture that retains them. This is why we share with you the best sourcing practices before delving into cultural and environmental factors that encourage retention.

Separate Sources and Recruiters

The recruitment process you use should demarcate the boundaries between sources and recruiters. Your sources should help you trace and find qualified candidates. Your recruiters need to handle the process from the time the candidate is qualified to the time she is hired.

Nevertheless, we’ll share with you some of the places you can look at when sourcing for new drivers. You can attract new drivers by promoting job openings on your official site and social media handles. Furthermore, you can post job openings on popular driver sites such as Indeed, Transit Talent, Facebook, and Craigslist.

It’s also good practice to put on a human face during your hunt. Try to reach out to conscious drivers committed to making the world a better place. This can help you recruit from marginalized generations like millennials and retirees. Other candidates that can be reached through this approach include veterans with skills, experience, and qualities.

Create a Strategy

A plan to guide your hunt is effective because it saves you time. To create a plan, you should first look at the job requirements. The second step is to make the persona of the candidates you want. The third step is to consider all relevant job fields. Lastly, test your strategy to see if it works.

Your strategy must include the marketing approach you’re going to use because good marketing is good recruiting. Marketing helps appeal to the driver and convince them to apply. Consequently, you should let your marketing department know that they target two audiences, customers and employees.

Creating dedicated career and hiring pages on your sites will go a long way in motivating drivers to apply. You can also include a message targeted to the potential driver in all of your company’s marketing materials. Do this on social media and other digital channels you use. Including driver-centric content sends a message to prospective drivers that you care about your employees.

Start With Your Sources

Your automated transport system is the first place you should look because it’s a goldmine for potential drivers. When hunting for candidates, you should start with accomplished candidates. Begin your search with all the cream drivers who applied in the past.

Some automated transport systems enable you to access tools like job boards and referral programs. Most established freight companies have such systems, which means it wouldn’t give you a competitive advantage. This means you’ve to do something special. For example, you could offer bonuses that encourage drivers to sign up.

Drivers who stay on the job for a long time could be motivated by bonuses every six months. Another tremendous internal source is employee referral, where your current drivers help you connect with old ones. Potential candidates can also be found through crowdsourcing software to help you find diverse talent.

Evaluate Potential Drivers

The first step in evaluating drivers is carefully going through the drivers’ social media profiles. Social media helps you identify active candidates from passive ones. Passive candidates might have professional LinkedIn profiles that are outdated. Some of the things you need to consider in your research are cross-referencing other social profiles, years of experience, and high-performing companies with a team.

When evaluating potential drivers, key points have to keep in mind. First, you need to ensure that the drivers you hire have a positive attitude and enjoy working with people. For instance, you can have transit managers train your drivers on skills and the necessary mindset. Consider applicants who demonstrate excellent customer service skills but lack some essential certification, for example, a CDL.

You should also be mission-driven when evaluating potential drivers. You should tell likely drivers about your company’s mission and leadership style. It’s a good idea to talk to every candidate to see whether they understand their roles if hired on the spot. Candidates who show that they are only interested in the money should be avoided.

Do More than Basic Searches

Doing an actual search yields the same results, just like other searches. Try doing your search with terms that indicate the responsibility of the candidate. When verifying a driver’s background, one of the things you’re supposed to check for is whether they have any conditions that violate the Federal requirements.

One of the major regulations is the (FMCSRs) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that stipulate several requirements for newly hired drivers. The requirements touch on vehicle size and weight and whether they can cross state lines. Under 49 CFR Part 383, people driving vehicles falling under the following categories are required to have a valid commercial driver license (CDL):

  • Vehicles designed to carry 16 passengers or more, including the driver
  • Vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds
  • Companies working with drivers operating vehicles that require a CDL are responsible for ensuring that drivers have complied before they start work.
  • Make sure the candidates you interview are well-trained to meet federal requirements for driver training.

Control Quality

Your sources should help control quality because they’re the ones that pick candidates with matching criteria. Make sure you’re receiving top-notch submissions. Interview several candidates before inviting one. For instance, you should interview 10 to 20 candidates before picking your favorite one.

The first step to quality control is creating a hiring policy that is based on state and federal regulations that govern interviews and hires. Even companies that manage small fleets should make sure they have a policy in place. Creating a hiring policy also ensures all drivers are vetted before they’re hired.

Not rushing the hiring process also helps you safeguard quality. Take your time to execute each step accordingly. Take your time to narrow down applicants. Perform the necessary tests like a pre-employment drug test, criminal background test, and the motor vehicle report test.

Create a Sourcing Pipeline

Developing talent pools and pipelines is the number one priority for talented human resource professionals. Creating a pipeline enables you to build relationships with reluctant candidates afraid to make the next move. Having a pipeline with a pool of candidates gives you the option if the candidates you targeted fail.

Adopt Technology

Thirty-seven talented leaders believe sourcing is the best strategy for recruiting truck drivers in this competitive era. Equip your sourcing team with the right technology and tools because it will give you an edge over competitors.

Cartoon of two men shacking hands in the background above two delivery trucks

Use Data to Make Decisions

Sourcing and recruiting are two different things. To succeed in the process requires the use of other metrics. The metrics you can use include candidates’ experience, screening feedback, time submittal, response rate, and sources of hire.

Learn Culture

If you want your sourcing team to keep doing a good job, you have to keep improving your company’s hiring culture to reflect the times.

After sourcing and hiring candidates, the next task is to retain them. In the following section, we share with you guidelines that can help you keep your drivers.

Strategies to Retain Drivers

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Driver Retention for more information.

Create a Safe Working Environment

Working in a safe environment is key in any profession. Driving trucks is operating heavy machinery. You have the responsibility of creating a safe working environment for your drivers. You should also keep your drivers comfortable and ensure they can access the necessary equipment.

The first step towards creating a safe working environment is making sure that drivers comply with the code of conduct. Codes of conduct prohibit drunk driving or while under the influence of drugs. Acts like driving while disqualified or without a proper license, reckless driving, and failing to stop after a collision are also prohibited in codes of conduct.

Including technologies that prevent injuries like dash-cams is also effective in helping drivers in case of unfair fines and fraudulent claims. Video evidence is the best line of defense to prove it’s not the driver’s fault.

Better Time Management

The time drivers take executing small daily tasks is taken for granted. Some of the functions drivers are meant to perform include workarounds, filling logbooks, and receipts. Drivers could spend all this time behind the wheels if they’re equipped with fleet management software. Most fleet management software can automatically perform and organize the functions as mentioned above.

Giving drivers extra time when necessary is also another way of helping them manage time. For instance, it’s good practice to provide the driver with some extra time when driving along unfamiliar routes. Drivers may encounter emergencies like traffic and weather, which they didn’t plan for. They could also take a wrong turn and add extra miles to their journey.

Allowing drivers access to apps that help them find parking spots and avoid traffic is also a great way to help drivers manage time. Setting mileage goals help your drivers determine how productive they are. Encourage drivers to break their route into sections which will enable them to spread their stop and stay time.

Cartoon of man planning out a package shipping internationally.  Not wasting a drivers times goes a long way to driver retention

Feedback and Incentives

Surveys have proved that feedback is an important motivator. Telematics and fleet management systems enable you to monitor drivers’ behavior and reward performing drivers. Constructive feedback also allows drivers to track their performance and control their success.

App-based feedback is effective in preventing crashes, especially among novice drivers. They’re responsible for most road accidents. Lack of driving experience is why new drivers commit most traffic offenses. However, real-time feedback made possible by telematics technologies has been shown to reduce accidents by 15 to 30%.

Telematics feedback gives drivers information on several factors that contributes to safe driving. These factors include speed, acceleration, cornering, braking, driving while using a smartphone, and signal use. Telematics also generates valuable information on close following and brake position.

Lower Occupational Stress

The best way to lower occupational stress for truck drivers is to use technology. This saves you the time and resources you spend on maintaining your drivers’ health. Reducing occupational stress makes drivers compliant and guides them through difficult times. It also prevents injuries.

The most common cause of occupational stress for drivers is health problems. The health problems include muscular-skeletal issues, psychological issues, and sleep disorders. The most common muscular-skeletal issues reported by drivers include back, shoulder, neck, upper back, and knee pain.

Drivers often report intense feelings of fatigue, mental pressure, and tension. Stomach and intestine problems are common among truck drivers. Sleep problems are also highly prevalent among truck drivers.

Negotiate But Be Tough

The pandemic has made truck driving one of the careers with the highest demands right now. The increased demand means that the freight rates are booming. For instance, during the COVID-19, people bought 35% more goods or services.

The net profit margins for hiring a driver reached 4.2% by the beginning of 2022. This situation gives drivers an upper hand during negotiations. The best solution is to adopt a driver-centric approach during the process.

Drivers should be treated as valuable partners. The most common causes of high driver turnover include low wages, unpaid work, unfair fines, high risk, and unfair treatment. Spending most of the time away from family and friends is another reason drivers quit.

Keep the Drivers Informed

It makes a big difference for your drivers to know what to expect. The drivers need to be furnished with the shipping details and where the goods are to be taken. The NITL (National Industrial Transport League) and the TCA recently published guidelines on best practices between the business carrier, shippers, and receivers.

Drivers are likely to gravitate towards companies with clear communication channels and leadership. The most effective type of leadership is peer leadership, where drivers have an open communication forum to convey their grievances.

Creating a soundboard that deals with driver-related issues will go a long way in keeping drivers on board. Communication is critical in making sure that drivers adhere to the policy. Having a driver council to deal with issues related to drivers can boost retention.

Cartoon of two people analyzing data and informing through a checklist. Supply chain analytics concept vector illustration

Facilitate Access to Amenities

Drivers need to access delivery points and parking lots that are well-lit and safe for the driver if they stop at a distance. Drivers need a 10-hour break. They need access to a waiting room even some coffee if the stay is extended. Drivers who have been on the road for a long time may also need access to the bathroom.

Accessing basic facilities is a challenge to drivers during the pandemic. Facilitating access to amenities also means ensuring drivers have access to well-kept equipment. You should also make sure that drivers are using the equipment correctly. Trucks should be in condition to prevent injuries and breakdowns.

Trucks and equipment that breaks down leave drivers dissatisfied and damage your company’s reputation. Maintaining trucks and equipment helps you meet federal regulations while preventing injuries and high employee turnover.

Sourcing and hiring with driver retention in mind require the combination of the best sourcing practices with a company culture that retains them.

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