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



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

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  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

Mack Trucks doubles down on debut of RoadLife 2.0



Mack Trucks kicked off RoadLife 2.0 with the debut of two episodes on One features the grueling efforts of Alaska Department of Transportation snowplow drivers to clear one of the snowiest highways in the United States. (Courtesy: MACK TRUCKS)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Mack Trucks is doubling down on the debut of RoadLife 2.0 with the launch of two episodes on

Featuring the grueling efforts of Alaska Department of Transportation snowplow drivers to clear one of the snowiest highways in the U.S., to the challenge of building a modern logistics business from the ground up, RoadLife 2.0 picks up from last season, sharing the stories of everyday people doing extraordinary things.

“Our first episodes feature Alaska DOT and Full Tilt Logistics, two organizations with very different missions,” said John Walsh, Mack Trucks vice president of marketing. “Yet in both of their stories, a number of commonalities emerge: hard work, dedication and the ability of Mack trucks to help them achieve success.”

The Richardson Highway is the only road in and out of Valdez, Alaska, the terminus for the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, and Alaska DOT relies on two Mack Granite model snowplows to keep the road open.

Battling in the neighborhood of 400 inches of snow annually, Alaska DOT relies on the trucks’ brute strength to clear the road, as well as some high-tech tools to make sure they stay on the road, even in whiteout conditions. A sophisticated differential GPS system with an in-cab display shows drivers where the truck is located to within less than an inch.

“Now, it’s almost like a video game,” said Mark Hanson, Alaska DOT terminal manager in describing the differential GPS system. “If I start going over the centerline, the indicator on screen turns red to tell me I’m not where I need to be. If I’m in a white out, I still know where I’m at in the road.”

Reno, Nevada-based Full Tilt Logistics takes the meaning of a family business to the next level. Starting with just three trucks, five members of the Novich family quickly grew the business into a 16-truck fleet hauling high-value loads across the western United States.

Full Tilt operates with the Mack Anthem model.

“When we were first starting out, I was doing some research into the driver shortage, where it’s at now and where it’s going,” said Cris Novich, managing director, transportation for Full Tilt Logistics. “It became abundantly clear that our No. 1 customer is the driver. If we keep them happy, they will want to come work here.”

Additional RoadLife 2.0 episodes will premiere throughout the summer and into the fall. Viewers can watch RoadLife episodes on and Amazon Prime Video, with additional content featured on Mack Trucks’ social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.






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The Nation

WIT, Freightliner seek nominee for Influential Woman in Trucking Award



The winner of the 2019 Influential Woman in Trucking award will be announced at the WIT Accelerate! Conference & Expo held in Dallas September 30-October 2. (Courtesy: WOMEN IN TRUCKING)

PLOVER, Wis. — Women In Trucking Association and Freightliner Trucks are seeking candidates for the 2019 Influential Woman in Trucking award.

The award was created in 2010 and recognizes women who make or influence key decisions in a corporate, manufacturing, supplier, owner-operator, driver, sales or dealership setting.

The winner must have a proven record of responsibility and have mentored or served as a role model to other women in the industry.

“The Influential Woman in Trucking Award recognizes exceptional women leaders who have been advocates and role models to others,” said Ellen Voie, president and CEO, Women In Trucking. “Each year, I am thoroughly impressed by the caliber of women nominated.”

Now in its ninth year, the award honors female leaders in the trucking industry.

Past recipients include Marcia Taylor, CEO of Bennett International Group; Rebecca Brewster, president and COO, American Transportation Research Institute; Joyce Brenny, president, Brenny Transportation/Brenny Specialized; Rochelle Bartholomew, CEO, CalArk International; Kari Rihm, president, Rihm Kenworth; Ramona Hood, vice president of operations, planning and strategy, FedEx Custom Critical; Daphne Jefferson, former deputy administrator at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Angela Eliacostas, founder and CEO, AGT Global Logistics.

“When I first started my career, there were very few women in the trucking industry let alone in leadership positions,” said Kary Schaefer, general manager, marketing and strategy, Freightliner Trucks and Detroit Components. “It’s amazing to see how the industry has changed and women are now a driving force in all areas of trucking. Freightliner is proud to sponsor this award and recognize those women who are not only making a difference in their own roles but for all women in the trucking profession.”

Nominations will be accepted through August 1 at

The winner will be announced at the WIT Accelerate! Conference & Expo held in Dallas September 30-October 2.

Each finalist will be asked to serve as a panelist for the “Influential Women in Trucking” panel discussion. Those who nominate a candidate need to ask the nominee to save the date for this event if she is named a finalist.

Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission.





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The Nation

Group pushes FMCSA for rulemaking before changing crash preventability program



The FMCSA's Crash Preventability Demonstration Program came about after motor carriers complained that there was no method in place to determine who was at fault for accidents involving big rigs. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — A coalition of 10 trucking-related organizations has petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a rulemaking if the agency intends to change how it analyzes and publishes data on motor carrier crashes.

The petition was filed on June 14, 2019, by the Motor Carrier Regulatory Reform (MCRR) coalition, which includes organizations representing more than 10,000 carriers, shippers and brokers.

David Gee, chairman of Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASECTT) said FMCSA officials have indicated that they plan to make permanent as a matter of enforcement policy its crash preventability pilot program, the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program, which has been in place for nearly two years.

As of the end of the first quarter this year, carriers had submitted nearly 11,000 requests for crash preventability determinations under FMCSA’s narrowly defined program since August 2017. However, Gee said the program has not been subject to a formal rulemaking process.

On its website, the FMCSA said the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program is expected to last a minimum of 24 months.

The agency plans to make the program permanent, Transportation Elaine Chao said during an appearance at the Mid-American Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.

“As you know, this program is a response to industry concerns that crashes caused by factors outside of a driver’s control are still shown on the driver’s record,” Chao said. “Based on positive feedback from industry stakeholders, the Department will propose to make this demonstration program permanent. And, the Department of Transportation will propose to add even more of these scenarios for prevention reviews.”

The demonstration program got its impetus after motor carriers complained that there was no method in place to determine who was at fault for accidents involving big rigs, and drivers were getting penalized on their CSA scores and motor vehicle records, and carriers were getting penalized on their CSA scores.

In its explanation of the program on its website, the FMCSA said studies show that crash involvement is a strong indicator of future crash risk.

“The Crash Preventability Demonstration Program allows FMCSA to gather data to examine the feasibility, costs, and benefits of making crash preventability determinations on certain crash types,” the website says. “FMCSA will use the information from the program to evaluate if these preventability determinations improve the Agency’s ability to identify the highest-risk motor carriers.”

Drivers and carriers alike believe that about 75 percent of the crashes involving tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles are the fault of the driver of the passenger vehicle.

In its petition, the MCRR coalition argued that FMCSA must conduct a rulemaking before adopting any permanent program to call balls and strikes on crashes.

Publication of preventability metrics would, among other things, constitute a violation of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and federal executive orders intended to protect the industry against bureaucratic overreach in the name of guidance, the coalition told the agency.

The petition said a key problem with FMCSA’s approach is that the term “preventability” is an artificial construct that does not equate to carrier fault, much less to a systemic violation of safety regulations.

The MCRR coalition argues that the publication of preventability data and metrics would result in increased insurance rates and lost business by carriers that the FMCSA acknowledges are fit to operate and, therefore, fit for shippers and brokers to use.

The subjectivity of the preventability standard and its lack of due process suggest that adopting the trial program as policy guidance would hurt the industry, especially small carriers, the petition said.

The Motor Carrier Regulatory Reform coalition is an affiliation of organizations that frequently weigh in with FMCSA and Congress to promote reasonable regulation and enforcement affecting motor carriers and their business partners. The coalition membership varies slightly depending on the particular issue.

For purposes of the crash preventability rulemaking petition the coalition includes the Air and Expedited Motor Carriers Association, the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation, the American Home Furnishings Alliance/Specialized Furniture Carriers,  Apex Capital Corp., the Auto Haulers Association of America, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, the Tennessee Motor Coach Association, The Expedite Alliance of North America, the Transportation & Logistics Council, and the Transportation Loss Prevention & Security Association.

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