Recipe for Retention: Run Expectations Vs. Reality


For drivers, the type of run they will make is one of the most important expectations they bring to a job. After all, drivers’ run type determines how much home time they get, their lifestyle, whether or not they run into traffic, and even how much they are paid. If their expectations from the recruiting process do not match reality, there’s a good chance they’ll be saying:

This isn’t what I signed up for!

What We See on Drivers’ Run Expectations Vs. Reality

Type of Run Vs. Expectations Chart

How common is it for drivers to not receive the type of run they expected?

The chart above shows what we found comparing surveys drivers took shortly after orientation (the First Impressions Survey) with those they took several weeks into driving for a carrier (the Early Experiences Survey).

Interestingly, about 5.8% of new hires were unable to anticipate what their run type will be after onboarding. More worrying, though, is that 30.3% of recent new hires reported that the type of run they did was not what they expected.

How to Help Drivers Meet Their Run Expectations

Because of the high prevalence of unmet run expectations among drivers, at least some of your drivers are likely in this situation. Because it correlates with turnover, we’re sure you want to fix this issue. To get you started, we offer a few strategies you can use to address the mismatch between drivers’ expectations and reality.

Have recruiters shadow dispatchers.

One of the reasons recruiters might not describe runs accurately to potential drivers is that they may not fully understand how runs are assigned. Because everyone is so busy, it’s easy not to understand how other people in a separate department do their job.

The answer: have recruiters shadow your dispatchers. It could be a few days at a time or even just half a day. During this time, the recruiters should pay close attention to:

  • What runs come in.
  • How runs are assigned.
  • What the different types of run are and how they differ.

By sitting with their colleagues and seeing how runs actually work firsthand, your recruiters will develop a “feel” for how runs work at your carrier. They can then speak with authority to a candidate about what they should expect.

Keep recruiters updated on which specific divisions/dispatchers/terminals need capacity at any time.

Often different divisions, dispatchers, or terminals at a carrier serve different run types. If recruiters know which of these need additional capacity, they can anticipate what types of run a newly hired driver will make.

For example, let’s imagine your local division recently brought on a very large customer and has a sudden need for more drivers. If recruiters know this, they can speak with certainty that a newly hired driver will be on a local run.

This process doesn’t have to be manual, though. It might work simply to give your recruiters access to your dispatch system. If possible on your system, consider making a report or dashboard they can view to quickly see the metrics that matter for capacity.


As a whole, the industry has an issue with drivers not receiving the types of run they expect. There are a whole host of reasons this might occur. However, using cross-training and communicating data are two ways your recruiters can prepare drivers well for the runs they will make.

Solving this communications challenge is one way you can help prevent driver turnover within 90 days. Increased retention of these drivers can pay off — big time! If you’ve never done it before, consider finding out how much using our Turnover Calculator.

Thank you for reading part 3 of our Recipe for Retention series. In the next blog, we will tackle how you can more effectively communicate settlement expectations to drivers in orientation.

You can read all about the Top 5 Areas to Watch for New-to-You Drivers in our recent research report, available at no cost to you.

Read the Report