Research throughout the transportation industry shows that nearly one-third of new driver hires will quit in 90 days and half within the first six months of starting a new job. As your company expands, being able to quickly onboard new drivers will be essential to the success of your company. Here are ten often-overlooked tips to help you build an effective training program.
1. Don’t skip orientation.
Conversion Interactive Agency, an employment firm, shows drivers will decide within the first 72 hours of orientation if—and even why—they will ever leave their new employer. One of the major issues cited for driver turnover is lack of training and support, so it is essential to provide a structured onboarding for all new drivers. It can be tempting to toss an employee into the deep end and hope they figure it out, but don’t skip out on the official orientation. The first day at work will form the long-term impressions of all your new employees, and you want to appear organized and efficient.
2. Create a structured training program.
Create a presentation that outlines the expectations and rules for the job and consider creating a welcome kit with some fun company swag to make the driver feel at home. Provide documentation for their hours, the addresses for work and fueling sites, and contact information for managers in case they have questions on the road.
3. Set expectations early and review company policies.
There is nothing more frustrating than being blindsided by an unknown rule at work, so ensure that your drivers understand what policies they are expected to follow. This is also a great time to review your driver fuel card policy and ask the driver to sign and date all documentation. While you should provide paper copies of all your company regulations, take the time to walk through the key rules in person and welcome any questions your driver may have.
4. Provide one-on-one help.
Even providing an hour of one-on-one discussion can help the driver feel at home in their new environment and give them a sense of community. On the first day, consider inviting your new driver to lunch to discuss the role and connect on a personal level. Ask them if they have any questions about their training so far and remind them that you are available to answer future questions.
5. Enlist other drivers as mentors.
Your senior employees are essential to making new hires feel at home, so ask for volunteers to assist with training. After orientation, your team can mentor the new hire on the road, lead them to job sites, and monitor their performance during the first few weeks.
6. Issue fuel cards but monitor spending.
One of the primary benefits of a fuel card is being able to monitor your fuel and maintenance spending, and this is especially useful for new hires. Call your fuel card provider and ask for a new card to be issued, and request email alerts to be sent to your fleet manager every time this card is used. This will allow you to monitor the new hire’s spending until you are comfortable with their character and work ethic. You can also opt for stricter spending limits on the new card, depending on how often the driver will need to fuel at the start of their employment.
7. Have a resource database.
Before you hire new drivers, ask your current team what they wish they had known when they started. This can help you to build a list of FAQs and tips to assist new drivers. You should print out this info to create a resource binder that employees can access at all time if they need clarification.
8. Ask for honest feedback (after training and 90 days out).
After your driver is comfortable in their new role, ask them for their honest feedback on the onboarding process. This will help you adjust your strategy for the next driver and determine what information is missing from your employee resources.
9. Conduct exit interviews.
When employees depart your company, it is essential to ask why they are leaving. It may be an issue with communication or training that needs to be fixed. Asking what departing employees would improve about your company will help you prevent future turnover and fill any gaps in your onboarding process.
10. Revise your process when needed.
Even the best onboarding process should be evaluated from time to time, so don’t be afraid to alter your training when something isn’t working. By asking for honest feedback and evaluating the issues that arise in your fleet, you can determine if any changes need to be made.
Driver turnover is a huge problem fleets face, so creating a structured onboarding process is essential to the health of your business. By setting expectations, creating structure, and asking for feedback, you can help your new drivers feel comfortable and welcome in their new role.