The trucking industry is facing many critical issues; however one that continues to be front and center is how increasingly harder it is to recruit and retain qualified drivers. With the driver shortage at 100,000 and counting, it is no longer sustainable to routinely spend millions of dollars per year on driver recruitment.
The state of our current U.S. drivers exposes a bigger problem, driver health. In the first half of 2021, over 50% of drivers were issued a one-year or less medical card, putting them at risk of losing their jobs. Another 9% (more than 400,000) were medically disqualified! Below are other examples of how the driver health crisis impacts the industry.
- With a truck sitting idle, it could cost your organization up to $1500 per day.
- Rising health care costs due to heart problems and other health issues; a reported 20% increase in 2021.
- Spending $1.5M per year in recruiting costs (based on an average of $8k for recruiting one driver and losing 15 drivers per month).
- Drivers feel they are getting mistreated or don’t feel valued.
Another alarming fact: many carriers are unaware of these statistics and the numbers within their own companies.
How can the industry do a better job?
You might be thinking that you are committed to health and wellness already by offering health insurance, stipends, or onsite fitness gyms. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There must be a strong commitment from the top, and in some cases, a culture shift, combined with driver-centric elements to see real progress. Here’s how carriers can gain awareness and take action:
- Know Your Drivers: This means that you should know how many drivers you employ, their tenure, driving records, and if they’re at risk. This data should be at your fingertips to make informed decisions about recruitment and retention strategies.
- Compare Costs of Recruiting a New Driver vs. Retaining an Existing Driver: Look at your average cost of recruiting a new driver versus driver retention program costs. This, no doubt, has a bottom-line impact.
- Provide Realistic Health and Wellness Opportunities: Find successful programs from highly qualified professionals focused on providing organization-wide results.
- Rehire Former Drivers: There’s a new segment of drivers to recruit from. These are your experienced drivers who have been medically disqualified due to preventable health conditions.
Bob Perry, Fit to Pass Consultant, says, “Why hire an unknown driver when you can rehire a known driver who’s already experienced. Bringing back former drivers by rebuilding their health is a smart and cost-effective way to get your driver seats filled.”
- Go Beyond Physical Health: Common stressors can take a toll on a driver’s physical health. Not only is it important to improve physical health but improving their daily doses of stress should be a priority.
When every driver counts and the stats don’t lie, the time is now for offering meaningful, life-changing solutions to get the trucking industry back on track.
Espyr delivers game-changing solutions for the trucking industry to transform how you recruit, retain, and care for your drivers. Fit to Pass, Rebuilt, and Second Chance are designed to improve a driver’s quality of life and a carrier’s bottom line. The Fit to Pass team has over 25 years’ experience in the trucking industry, driver health and employee coaching. Our highly professional and specialized team understands the driver lifestyle challenges. We elicit change when change is hard for life-transforming and cost-saving results. Learn more at fittopass.espyr.com.
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