A happy trucker is much more likely to stick with his truck driving job, rather than look for a better deal.
He is a trucker, not only because it is a chosen career, but because of a ‘true love’ for driving.
Well, what makes for a ‘happy trucker?’
There are many factors that influence the happiness of a trucker. The best trucking jobs, aren’t always the ones that pay the most.
There are many other factors that contribute to job satisfaction for truckers.
- Rate of pay: does the pay fairly compensate for all the work done? Waiting time, driving hours, extra work?
- The schedule: is the schedule reasonable? Reasonable delivery expectations? Number of days to work balance with time off?
- People: Are employers, customers, dispatcher relationships satisfactory? No major conflicts or issues?
- Fair treatment by the carrier: Proper and respectful treatment to the driver, whether company driver or owner operator.
- The destination: Like the destinations? Many truckers detest driving and delivering to points in the eastern U.S. states.
- Satisfied with work/home time: Truckers need to have sufficient ‘home time’. Some are ‘workaholics’ and ‘don’t’ take enough time off. This is where ‘paper logs’ fall short….. some drivers will work till they drop, and many end up loosing their family or a spouse as a result. There must be balance.
- Truck driver’s pay: For the number of hours they put in, often the pay truckers receive is inadequate. For owner operators and company employees, take your earnings for a particular pay period and divide by the number of hours you spent to earn that money….is the final result a fair wage for the time invested? Often times, it’s not.
The trucking industry is known to be ‘tough and cold’.Truckers are sometimes treated like dogs….. and this isn’t right.
The business would easily attract drivers, if the front-line workers, were treated with more respect.
I don’t think there is any such thing as the perfect job. But, if we could get the bulk of things right in this business, a driving job has all the makings for a decent living, and can keep a driver reasonably happy.
It’s only been recently, that the industry is waking up to the fact that professionals need to be treated as professionals. Much of the industry has taken advantage of the trucker, to the point where the appeal of the work has been declining….. and no wonder. As a result, there are insufficient numbers of new drivers getting into this line of work, thus, the trucker shortage.
Focus on Retention, Not Recruitment
A happy trucker will ‘stay put’, and not jump to where the ‘grass may be greener’.
Carriers must be able to not only recruit professional drivers, but more importantly, keep them. When a driver starts work for a company that’s not delivering the hiring promises, he soon realizes he’s been lied to, and quits. The industry is just waking up to the fact, that there’s a REAL problem here. But, it may be too late.
Companies would benefit from having someone to specifically take care of ‘driver retention‘…. someone to listen to the drivers and work with them as best as they can, to help work out issues and bring about fair and equitable treatment. Many carriers are way too focused on recruiting, not retention.
Ever notice that most carriers have the driver recruiter’s office either on the second floor, or well away from the driver’s lounge or reception waiting area? It’s a bad start to the ‘hiring a driver process’, right from the beginning.The driver will realize right from the beginning, that he/she obviously isn’t too important to the company, when access to the hiring department, is ‘out of bounds’.
Safety and recruiting people, as a rule, just don’t seem to cut it, for successful retention of the trucker. Carriers need safety and recruitment staff with ‘teeth and authority’ to make necessary changes.
When a driver says he’s been out on the road and has had enough and he wants to be home for the weekend, or he’s been on the road for weeks at a time, someone needs the authority to go to dispatch and say, ‘get this guy home’.
The companies need to learn to ‘keep their drivers happy’. Often times, it doesn’t take much. Sometimes, it just takes someone to listen to their point of view.
If they keep them happy, they will have them for life. Sadly, this industry hasn’t paid much attention to this issue.
Why? Because, until now, they didn’t have to.
The Golden Years of Trucking: When the Bucks Were There
Once upon a time, back in the glory years of this business, life as a trucker, truthfully, wasn’t a great life either….there’s really no argument that a trucker’s life was a happy one then either. BUT, drivers did it for the money.…. there WAS good money in driving.
Every trucker wasn’t a happy trucker……..but AT LEAST the job paid well.
But now, running hard, if a driver can get away with it, doesn’t pay like it once did. For the same money, why not work at a local construction company and be home every night?
It’s Not Just About Getting the Driver in the Door
NOW? Companies MUST pay attention to the needs of the trucker. No longer can drivers be be lied to, just to get them in the door. They’ve heard the old stories, WAY TOO MANY TIMES.
This old method of recruiting just doesn’t work anymore.
Make ’em happy, keep ’em happy and they will stay…. and others will follow.