The argument against don’t ask don’t tell in trucking

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A 2013 Stay Metrics study found that the strongest indicator of dissatisfaction and intent to leave was a “broken recruiting promise” or “unmet expectations.” So, now we as an industry know what is on the minds of most drivers in the first six months…” have I been bamboozled?”

Research also shows 50% of turnover happens in the first six months of service. Getting this fixed should yield a bushel or two of fruit. We wanted to dig deep on this one, so we did a little field research with one of our clients scoring below our community index in the area of “recruiting promise.”

What were we going to find? Was it going to be villainous recruiters selling to unsuspecting drivers like used car salesmen?  Would it be an office full of flim-flam men?  We spent 10 weeks looking at the carrier recruiting and orientation process and we found an office full of “good folk” truly wanting to help drivers get onboard with a great carrier. Hmmm, still stumped…

Next, we began interviewing drivers after 7 days with the company and here came the “Aha! moment.” Initially, drivers indicated they still didn’t know how much pay to expect. How much home time? How long they might have to wait for a route? How can this be? How can a driver be in his 7th day on the company and not know this vital information?

Running with scissors – Undefined Expectations:

The answer is…they never asked. And any good salesman knows if the customer is ready to buy, shut up and write the contract. We found with this carrier that the recruiters dodged these questions or spoke in general terms. The root cause is they “were not given up-to-date information” on key areas such as average pay per driver per week. Survey results from their current drivers as “factual.”  You mean to tell me drivers will sign up with a carrier without asking basic due diligence questions we would expect? Absolutely, and we saw it play out time and time again. And might we surmise those drivers that don’t turnover probably took the initiative to define the expectations. (Quick homework: Hit the pause button now and go ask your recruiters if they know what your average weekly settlement is.) The result of this is that “expectations were never defined” so it is very likely at the first hint of frustration the driver leaves. Makes too much sense doesn’t it?

There has to be an adult in the room – “Action Plan”

We suggest carriers standardize their recruiting process and have each recruiter go through a checklist of “what to expect.” Making sure to touch on all the “tough to discuss” subjects that experts in your company know best. While one would think this might deter prospects, the reality is it becomes a differentiator for your company and enhances your reputation in the market. We also suggest contracting with Stay Metrics for third-party interviews with your drivers giving you valuable insights and even more “Actionable Data.”

The results: Since putting in the best practice of having the tough conversations and implementing a few other “Stay Metrics Solutions,” the carrier…well, take a peek at the chart below…

Driver Turnover Percentage by Month

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