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Trucking fleet

Ten important ways fleet managers are addressing turnover

March 25, 2024

Turnover remedies in the trucking industry look beyond compensation 

The industry has been talking about a driver shortage for a few years now. Fleet managers and owners are tackling the problem in the most comprehensive way they know how, and although it might start with fleet payment and driver compensation, it does not end there.

Fleet managers are aware that to recruit and retain drivers, they must first understand the issues that have resulted in the current degree of turnover. Companies are starting to recognize those issues and address them in real ways, and we can look forward to even more focus and improvement to come. Companies such as WEX are creating systems and software that make the life of a driver easier and payment more reliable. But let’s also look a little deeper at what is not working for drivers and how fleet managers are attempting to solve those issues today.

10 ways that fleet managers are combatting turnover in the trucking industry

1. Better pay and benefits

Fleet managers are updating pay and benefits to retain drivers and recruit top talent. They’re offering better wages, health insurance, retirement plans, and time off. Some also give bonuses for good performance. By investing in their teams and making work more rewarding, fleet managers want to retain drivers, increase their satisfaction, and improve the day-to-day of their work. 

According to Zippia, in 2023 the average annual pay for a trucker in the U.S. was around $60,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also anticipates a growth rate of 4% from 2022 to 2032 – an average rate for most industries and an optimistic outlook for incoming truckers.

2.  Improved work-life balance and internal support systems

Recognizing the demanding nature of the job, fleet managers are implementing policies that promote regular home time and predictable schedules, allowing drivers to spend more time with their families and pursue personal interests they might not have access to with less reliable schedules. Some companies are also investing in amenities such as comfortable rest areas and facilities, as well as providing access to health and wellness programs to support the physical and mental well-being of their drivers. Internal support systems like employee resource groups (ERGs) can significantly improve the wellbeing of employees, especially those representing more diverse parts of our population. 

Forbes’ Kalina Bryant listed the top 5 benefits of ERGS:

  1. They help attract new talent by showing care for employee wellbeing.
  2. They empower employees in their professional development.
  3. They benefit businesses by providing unique, diverse voices coming from ERGS.
  4. They play a role in elevating and uplifting employees, ensuring satisfaction and productivity at work.
  5. They serve as ambassadors within the organizations, helping to strengthen community relationships. 

By prioritizing work-life balance and creating a support system within the company, fleet managers aim to reduce burnout, enhance job satisfaction, and ultimately retain experienced drivers in their workforce.

3. Improving interpersonal issues and relationships

Fleet managers can reduce turnover by addressing interpersonal issues in the workplace, particularly found in the relationships between drivers and their supervisors. These supervisory roles are typically dispatchers or fleet managers and often are made up with people who have behavioral profiles that conflict with the behavior profile of a typical driver. Fleet managers work in a fast-paced, communicative environment, while drivers tend to be alone while on the road. This disconnect between the two work styles can lead to communication problems and misunderstandings. To improve relationships, companies are focusing on training fleet managers and drivers on proper communication tactics and developing technology to streamline dispatching tasks, giving managers more time to interact with drivers on a personal level. 

Creating a safe working environment regarding communication and trust is essential to reducing turnover, as it ensures that drivers feel heard, respected, and supported in their roles. Every interaction within the organization, from payroll to dispatch, plays a role in driver retention, making it more important to create positive and productive working relationships.

4. Avoiding frustrating logistical challenges 

Beyond the relationship with the dispatcher, turnover can be a result of the logistical challenges in the industry. 

One common complaint amongst drivers is the unpaid wait time they often experience upon arrival at their pick-up destination. Idle time, often caused by delays on either the company or the customer’s side, can be wasteful for both the driver’s time and the truck’s fuel consumption. To address this, fleet managers can optimize driver routes, using technology and data to determine the most efficient and convenient use of resources. Ensuring proper communication and planning is also key to reducing idle time and minimizing the chance of logistical challenges.

Wait Time

Other common driver complaints include:

  • Being stranded far from home without a load
  • Bad directions on how to get to a shipper or consignee
  • Bad information on where to pick up a trailer
  • Having to drive in congested cities during peak traffic

Some of these issues can be addressed using robust GPS technology that helps dispatchers schedule drivers more effectively and can provide turn-by-turn directions right in the cab.

5. Prioritizing driver safety using technological solutions

Fleet managers play a critical role in ensuring the safety of their drivers and providing them with necessary support on the road. By understanding the inherent risks of the job, managers can implement comprehensive safety protocols, including: 

  • Regular training sessions
  • Vehicle maintenance schedules
  • Adherence to industry regulations
  • First aid training
  • Emergency plan preparation

Credit card fraud and theft are also major concerns for drivers, and fleet managers can provide them with the right payment tools to combat the issue. WEX fleet card accounts can be equipped with special safety features like two-factor authentication and dynamic prompt which provide an added layer of security when your drivers are fueling at the pump.

WEX fleet cards also use SecureFuel technology which allows for greater fuel card control, provides fleet managers sophisticated data reporting and telematics features, catches fraudulent use, and helps prevent misuse.

By emphasizing a safety-first culture within their organizations, fleet managers not only protect their drivers but also demonstrate a commitment to their well-being. Additionally, providing drivers with access to 24/7 support services, such as roadside assistance and emergency response teams, can offer peace of mind and bolster drivers’ confidence while on the road. 

This proactive approach to safety and support not only reduces the likelihood of accidents and incidents but also fosters trust and loyalty among drivers, ultimately contributing to lower attrition rates and a more stable workforce.

6. Be clear and transparent about the demands of the job

The recruiting and orientation process, as well as the first two to three months on the job, can sometimes push a driver back out the door. Driver complaints that life as a driver was not what they expected, or that they felt they misunderstood the recruiter, are common. One of the best things companies can do is make sure the recruiting process isn’t setting up expectations that can’t be met.

It’s crucial for managers to provide prospective drivers with a comprehensive understanding of the responsibilities, expectations, and challenges associated with the role. By being upfront about factors such as extended periods away from home, irregular schedules, and the physical demands of long-haul driving, managers can ensure that potential recruits have a realistic expectation of what the job entails. 

Maintaining transparency throughout the employment relationship and clearly communicating things such as changes in routes, schedules, or company policies, will reinforce trust and credibility. By setting accurate expectations and avoiding the temptation to oversell the job, fleet managers can reduce turnover by aligning the needs and preferences of drivers with the realities of the position. This will lead to greater job satisfaction and higher rates of retention in the long run.

7.  Ensuring proper vehicle maintenance and preventative measures

The responsibility of handling a truck can be daunting, but with the proper support systems in place, vehicle maintenance and mechanical services can be made easy. 

Regular and thorough maintenance schedules ensure that trucks are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns and unexpected delays. By investing in preventive maintenance programs, managers can identify and address potential issues before they escalate, keeping drivers on the road and reducing frustration. 

Another factor to consider is encouraging communication and camaraderie between the driver and the technician. Drivers should be reporting problems during their pre-trip inspection and helping technicians to appreciate the importance that seemingly minor problems can have for drivers.

the driver and the technician relate to each othe

The truck is essentially the driver’s home. If you have a squeak in your car and you drive it only an hour a day, it’s not a big deal. But if you live in that vehicle, it’s different. Educating both drivers and technicians about what the other’s work entails will go a long way in building that relationship, whether it’s in a formal training program or something more organic.

8. Offer career advancement and education opportunities

Career advancement and educational opportunities for drivers don’t necessarily have to result in promoting a driver out of the truck and into dispatch. Some drivers may be looking for that opportunity, but others are going to prefer being behind the wheel to being behind a desk.

By offering clear and structured career paths, managers can provide drivers with a sense of direction and purpose, encouraging them to stay with the company long-term. This can include opportunities for specialized training, certifications, or advancement into leadership roles.

Offering tuition reimbursement programs for further education or professional development courses can empower drivers to enhance their skills and qualifications, opening up new avenues for career growth.

9. Keep drivers in the loop through consistent communication

Ineffective communication can be frustrating and can lead to higher employee turnover for any company. Beyond their interactions with dispatchers, truckers need to feel engaged and valued by the entire organization. When truckers feel isolated or neglected, they are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. 

Actions as simple as regular updates from company leadership, perhaps through newsletters or emails, can make a substantial difference in the morale of your drivers. These updates might provide insights into market conditions, internal news, or future prospects, allowing all drivers to stay in the loop and understand company goals. 

Without adequate communication, truckers may speculate and fill in the gaps with assumptions, potentially leading to frustration and ultimately, turnover. Companies should also actively seek input from truckers on decisions that may affect them, ensuring that their voices are heard and respected in the decision-making process. 

This approach not only strengthens trust and loyalty but also encourages a collaborative environment where truckers feel valued and invested in the company’s success

10. Show appreciation for your drivers

Driver appreciation is best when it goes beyond the usual Driver of the Month or Driver Appreciation Week activities – make it part of the culture of your company.

This means thanking them for their hard work, celebrating when they reach goals, and giving them chances to grow in their careers through training and promotions. By listening to what drivers have to say and making changes based on their feedback, managers can show that they care about their wellbeing and make them feel valued in the organization. 

Drivers want to be a part of something

What has become clear for fleet managers and business owners alike is that company culture matters. A bigger paycheck is not enough anymore. Drivers need connection and inclusion. They also want to be home with their families for the important moments and are attracted to companies that can enable that. So along with most employees in the world today, drivers are finding that they have some control over their choices and that corporate responsibility is shifting to include what the individual employee cares about. Thankfully, as the points above have shared, the trucking industry is listening and changing.

Learn more on how to better manage your over-the-road fleet:

To learn more about WEX, a growing and global organization, please visit

All fleet cards are not the same, and different types of fuel cards suit the needs of different kinds and sizes of businesses. View WEX’s fleet card comparison chart to see which fleet fuel card is right for you.

Apply for a fleet card today!

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Editorial note: This article was originally published on March 28, 2019, and has been updated for this publication.

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