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Stay Metrics report says recruiters, dispatchers are pivotal in preventing turnover

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

That old chestnut could have served as the title to Stay Metrics’ latest white paper. Instead, the analytics firm, which specializes in driver retention, engagement and training, went with a couple of cover-page questions: “Is Early Turnover Damaging the Business? How and What Can We do to Stop it?”

The report, released July 13, is based on a statistical premise that would come as a surprise to no one in trucking: the industry has a turnover problem. It reached a “historic high” of 95 percent in the third quarter of 2017, the report says in its opening statement.

It’s also isn’t exactly a revelation that most of that turnover – 72.6 percent – occurs within the first year, with almost half of those in and out the door in three months or less.

“Considering the costs of recruitment and retention,” the report states, “one may wonder, what do we know about the leavers and what can we do to stop them from leaving?”

A research team led by Stay Metrics Chief Science Officer Timothy Judge set out to determine whether early-stage job leavers share any common characteristics, and if they do can that be used to prevent some of the turnover.

The team combined data from previous research with results obtained from Stay Metrics’ orientation surveys, which have been given to 62,000 drivers at seven days and 45 days into their employment; and its in-depth Annual Driver Survey, as well as driver turnover data provided by its 100-plus clients.

Some interesting patterns emerged from the data, said Stay Metrics Chief Executive Officer Tim Hindes.

“Every carrier’s different in terms of what the issues are, but there are some common issues,” Hindes said. “and what the hope is, is that the carriers glean through this and that they understand things like recruiter satisfaction and what that has to do with retention.”

One finding that may at first seem to fly in the face of logic is that drivers who quit in three months or less, called “early leavers” in the report, are actually more likely to recommend that company to another driver than those who depart later.

Among early leavers, 52 percent reported a positive attitude toward the company.

This can be attributed what is known as the honeymoon period, Hindes said. When people start a new job, they approach everything with a positive attitude. Even if they decided to leave, it’s with more of a “no hard feelings” attitude, Hindes said. “It’s so early they’re willing to give the benefit of the doubt, a bit, to the company that some of it might be on them.”

The Stay Metrics team also looked at which drivers tend to be early leavers. Specifically, they looked at whether age could be a predicter. Hindes said that even before this project began, he and Judge had talked about the supposed millennial problem, the popular dogma being that today’s young adults don’t have a strong enough work ethic or sense of loyalty.

“The reality is there really isn’t much difference,” Hindes said. They broke early leavers into five-year age groups. Millennials, baby boomers and every group in between were within just a few percentage points of one another in their likeliness to leave within the first year.

They also looked at whether industry experience made a difference. The study showed that veteran drivers – with “veteran” defined as a driver with more than one year’s worth of experience – were slightly more likely to be early leavers than rookies.

“The experienced driver can smell the disconnect a lot quicker,” Hindes said. If they’ve been burned before, they’re apt to come in with an eye out for red flags. If a brand-new driver senses a problem, they can’t tell off the bat if it’s a problem with the company or the whole industry. They might even wonder if they’re the one with the problem.

“The more experienced driver will be quicker to say, ‘yup, I’m cutting bait, I’m leaving,’” Hindes said.

The study concluded that driver dissatisfaction can start practically out of the gate, and that a driver’s attitude toward their recruiter and their dispatcher by their 45th day of employment are a strong signal of whether that driver will be an early leaver.

The recruiter’s role in shaping a driver’s opinion of a new company is especially crucial, Hindes said.

According to the study, drivers who expressed high satisfaction with their recruiter have a 22 percent lower turnover rate in the first three months compared to those with low satisfaction.

The importance of dispatcher satisfaction is nearly as pronounced. There was nearly a 16 percent lower turnover rate in the first three months among drivers who expressed high dispatcher satisfaction.

The reasons for the influence of dispatcher and recruiter satisfaction on drivers’ attitudes are different, Hindes explained.

Once a driver is on the road, the dispatcher is their most frequent connection to the company, and they remain an important influence throughout the driver’s employment. Data shows employees are much more likely to stay at companies where they have friends. While the dispatcher doesn’t have to be the driver’s best buddy, it makes a world of difference if they are at least work-friends.

“One of things Stay Metrics does with its clients is gauge driver satisfaction levels with dispatchers so carriers can work with dispatchers who need to up their game,” Hindes said. “What we suggest on the dispatch side is using a psychometric tool, that you can actually pair a driver with the right dispatcher.”

While the relationship with the dispatcher may be key to a driver’s long-term satisfaction, it’s the recruiter who makes that all-important first impression.  At first, that person is the face of the company to that driver, and they set the tone for everything that follows, starting with orientation.

“A lot of carriers have underestimated the value of the first impression,” Hindes said. “A lot of carriers need to stop and ask, when was the last time they looked at their orientation process. Most of them are cookie-cutter, they’re orientating their drivers the same way they were 12, 15 years ago.

“I tell carriers the most critical call a driver is going to make is the first call at break, when they’re out in the parking lot, they pick up the phone and they’re calling home. And they’re answering the most obvious question: ‘How do you like it? Did you choose the right company?’ At that point they only got experience with the recruiter, and about three hours with other people.”

Orientation, Hindes said, is where the first impression with the recruiter is tested. One of the most important things that’s going to factor into that impression is whether the driver believes the recruiter has been honest. Are the things they’re hearing at orientation matching up with what they were told when they signed on?

Something happened to driver recruiting, Hindes said, and he thinks it goes all the way back to when the CDL laws came into being in the mid-’80s.

“We’ve stopped the traditional process of screening and hiring drivers,” he said. Instead, “some carriers are almost like used car salesmen. You look at some of the marketing literature out there, some of the billboards.”

Carriers need to bear in mind that many drivers have been burned by falsehoods and misrepresentations at former jobs. You can’t even get cute with the truth, Hindes said. If they were told at recruitment they’d be driving a new truck, then at orientation they hear, “Yeah, you’re going to get a new truck, but that only kicks in after you’ve been here nine months,” drivers aren’t going to take that as a half-truth; that was a lie.

They have to hear the same thing at recruitment that they hear at orientation, Hindes said, and then that better be the way it is once they get out there.

While this report does not delve directly into the honesty-in-recruitment issue, Hindes believes the implications of the study bear out what he’s saying.

“We as an industry have to be much more transparent with drivers,” he said. “We have to stop marketing practices that are misleading, because they’re not helping you. They’re actually hurting you. That’s the biggest takeaway I’d like to see come out of this.”

To obtain a free copy of Stay Metrics’ new whitepaper, “Is Early Turnover Damaging the Business? How and What Can We Do to Stop It?” visit staymetrics.com.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. John

    August 3, 2018 at 6:29 am

    I can certainly relate. Tried going to work for Knight in Lakeland. The FIRST thing their orientation Lead asked, “Are you all stupid” ??? And he was Serious…. I immediately started to question my choice to work there….

  2. John hazlett

    August 3, 2018 at 8:56 am

    The problem lies with “OPERATIONS AND DISPATCH” ! With this “DO IT OR ELSE ATTITUDE” ! The way they schedule you, if you stop to get a cup of coffee, you’ll be late.
    Leaving you stranded at customers and unloading and your out of hours, when you re supposed to be recovering from a hard days work, “ALL DAY”, unloading on your break, and if you say something…Youll sit, you’ll never get home, you won’t get miles, and you’ll go to the crappiest places on the planet ! Why is it always the driver ? THE PROBLEMS LIES WITH OPERATIONS AND DISPATCH ! I ‘ve seen it for 28 years now ! Can’t believe Y’all can’t figure it out !

  3. Steven Hill

    August 4, 2018 at 5:09 am

    I agree on recruiting is a problem they fill position that is a piece of crap company. You go there and the lies begin. The trucker has a track record and a bulleye he/she not going to stay. So they don’t hire because of your track record to many jobs/crappie company. So a good what hire you how can we change this problem

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The Nation

U.S. Senate introduces bipartisan bill to promote women in trucking

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Women make up 47 percent of the United States’ labor force, yet represent 24 percent of America’s trucking workforce and only about seven percent of drivers.

WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today introduced the Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act.

Currently, women make up 47 percent of the United States’ labor force, yet represent 24 percent of America’s trucking workforce and only about seven percent of drivers. This legislation would support women in the trucking industry and would establish a Women of Trucking Advisory Board.

“In Wisconsin, we make things, and we need to ensure we have a strong workforce to transport our goods to market,” said Senator Baldwin. “Women currently make up less than ten percent of the truck driving workforce, and removing the barriers that get in the way of women pursuing and retaining careers in trucking is key. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Senator Moran because more job opportunities for Wisconsin women will lead to more economic security for working families.”

“As the trucking industry continues to face a driver shortage, we need to examine new ways to recruit and retain drivers that are delivering Kansas goods across the country,” said Senator Moran. “Because women are substantially underrepresented in the trucking industry, Congress should explore every opportunity to encourage and support the pursuit of careers in trucking by women. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan and sensible bill with Sen. Baldwin that will lead to new job opportunities for women and increase equality for women already in the trucking industry.”

The Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce would direct the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to establish a “Women of Trucking Advisory Board.” Under this bill, the board would identify barriers to entry for women in the trucking industry, work across organizations and companies to coordinate formal education and training programs and help identify and establish training and mentorship programs for women in the industry. The legislation also requires the FMCSA Administrator to submit a report to Congress on the board’s findings and recommendations.

This legislation is supported by the Women in Trucking Association and the American Trucking Association.

“By creating an advisory board to utilize the expertise and resources of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and the members of the board, we can increase the opportunities for women as drivers, technicians, owners, trainers and in other relevant career roles,” said Women in Truck Association President and CEO Ellen Voie. “I look forward to working with you and your office (Sens. Moran and Baldwin) in advancing this bill.”

“On behalf of the American Trucking Association, I write to express thanks and support for the introduction of the Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act,” said American Trucking Association President and CEO Chris Spear. “Your (Sens. Moran and Baldwin) thoughtful and timely legislation brings important attention and focus to the advancement of female representation and participation in trucking.”

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The Nation

David Isaac named TMC Transportation’s Trainer of the Month for September

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DES MOINES, Iowa — David Isaac has been named TMC Transportation’s Trainer of the Month for September.

Isaac started at TMC on Valentine’s Day in 2014. He spent eight years in the military and transitioned into his job at TMC while he was still enlisted.

“TMC was the only flatbed company that stood out to me, especially the company being employee-owned,” he said.

After driving on his own for a year and a half, Isaac decided to give driver training a try.

“The instruction aspect of the job was interesting to me,” he said. “There are multiple ways to do one job, but I wanted to make sure that the end result is what is required of our company standards.”

When it comes to his training style, Isaac takes a supervising role.

“I try to let my trainees do as much as they can on their own, but I keep a close eye on them so I can correct them as needed,” he says. “I feel like this is the best way for them to get a feel of what it will be like once they have their own truck.”

Isaac’s favorite part of training is meeting other drivers and helping to be a part of their success. “It’s great to see new guys do well,” he said, adding that it is great for the company and himself as a driver.

“You can learn even while you’re teaching, whether it be a load you wouldn’t normally or discovering a more efficient way to do things,” he said.

Overall, Isaac is grateful for the opportunities he’s had while driving for TMC.

“From the discipline it takes to do the job to the relationships I have built with my peers, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” he said.

Each month a TMC Transportation trainer who demonstrates the outstanding qualities TMC looks for in a trainer is honored. The Trainer of the Month recipient is chosen based on their safety record and the safety performance of their trainees, the number of drivers trained and the retention percentage of those drivers.

For more information, visit www.tmctrans.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nation

SBTC’s anti-ELD petition stalls, Lamb uses ‘phone call’ to put blame on OOIDA

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Small Business in Transportation Coalition President James Lamb tells viewers his investigators have uncovered evidence that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is sabotaging his organization’s efforts to get 100,000 signatures on a petition to ask the White House to immediately suspend the ELD mandate. (Courtesy: SMALL BUSINESS IN TRANSPORTATION COALITION)

In an online editorial we posted August 22, we described the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) as positioning itself to be a one-organization wrecking crew targeting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the electronic logging device mandate.

In particular, SBTC and its president, James Lamb, have been on a tear against electronic logging devices.

(This is the same James Lamb who in early 2018 agreed to settle a probe into his business dealings brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which accused Lamb and several of his businesses of cheating owner-operators out of millions of dollars over the course of several years. Lamb denied the charges, but the FTC is in the process of paying out $900,000 to truckers who the FTC says were scammed.) 

After the FMCSA denied its application asking that carriers with under 50 employees be exempted from the ELD mandate, SBTC asked FMCSA to reconsider the denial. 

With no apparent hope that FMCSA would reverse its decision (remember ELDs were ordered by Congress), Lamb and SBTC have moved up the ladder to Congress and now to the White House.

AN EDITORIAL

Currently, SBTC is asking drivers to sign a petition asking Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and President Donald Trump to immediately suspend the ELD rule.

SBTC says it needs to have 100,000 signatures (it’s not likely to happen) before the White House will respond to the request to suspend the rule (that’s not going to happen).

On October 31, Lamb published an e-mail asking the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to join SBTC in support of the petition.

Lamb apparently never heard from OOIDA, and with his petition drive stalled at around 30,000, Lamb decided to blame OOIDA for the slowdown and appears to have set out to make his point with an elaborate scheme that he is reporting through his e-mail blasts to the media and others, claiming that OOIDA is sabotaging his petition effort.

In a video released at 5:20 p.m. Central time November 11, Lamb said he had some “disturbing” information regarding the ELD suspension petition.

“We have through our private investigators uncovered that OOIDA has been sabotaging our petition. We hired a private investigator to follow up on leads that we have received regarding possible interferences with our petition and boy, did we find out what’s going on here.

“I’m going to play you the tape the investigators sent me (actually the tape of the phone call made only hours or maybe even minutes before) so you can listen to it yourself and boy is it bad news for Todd Spencer (OOIDA president and CEO) and this woman … at OOIDA.”

That “call” was obviously definitely recorded November 11 because the caller mentioned having to work on the holiday, which was Veterans Day. The man said his name was Mike (he also used the name Michael).

It was easy to tell the call was a set up because the man who identified himself as Mike was obviously and purposely speaking into a recording device and recording the other end of the call from a speaker phone.

(An average observer would likely have thought the call was legitimate and that Lamb’s investigators had worked hard to uncover it, but we rather suspect it was a set up and the tape was handed to him shortly after it was made. Or he might even have been in the room when the “call” was made.

A transcript of the tape shows Mike told the woman at OOIDA he wasn’t a member of OOIDA but had heard about the petition campaign and wanted to know if OOIDA was in support of the petition.

He even claimed he’d never heard of James Lamb.

The woman at OOIDA offered to send Mike information about Lamb.

She asked for his e-mail address and after a long hesitation he gave two: mikeferrili@yahoo.com and mikeferilli@yahoo.com.

E-mails sent to those addresses by The Trucker bounced back as undeliverable. (Surprise, surprise).

Based on the transcript, Mike kept trying to coerce the woman into telling him not to sign the petition (the “call” lasted almost 15 minutes), but not once did she do that, only suggesting that petitions were not effective in getting change in Washington.

Contacting members of Congress is the most effective way, she said, citing an instance when OOIDA and its members contacted a Congressman, contacts that led to him reversing his support of speed limiters.

The woman told Mike that some members of OOIDA had signed the petition.

Mike kept on and on, obviously and in the opinion of this writer hoping the woman would tell him not to sign the petition, but the woman said absolutely nothing to discourage drivers from signing the petition.

At one point, the woman reminded Mike that OOIDA had been fighting against ELDs and their predecessors since 1978.

After the tape of the telephone “call” ended on his video, Lamb reiterated that OOIDA had done everything in its power to keep truckers from signing the petition.

“Mr. Spencer it looks like we have a problem. Our legal team (the same one that handed Lamb the tape of the supposed phone call) is going to be reviewing this and you are going to have some explaining to do to a judge,” he said.

We too, have a problem, and it’s with Mr. Lamb trying to lay the blame for his failure directly on someone else.

We call on Mr. Lamb and his organization to get off his anti-ELD horse.

That horse is in the barn, sir, and it’s not coming out.

If you are as powerful as you say you are, turn that power into doing something about the real issues that plague trucking today, matters such as driver pay, the lack of safe parking and driver detention, just to name a few.

OOIDA and many others in the trucking industry are really concerned about those issues.

So should you be.

 

 

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