KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM: THE REWARDS OF RETENTION


Know When to hold emMost business owners know how frustrating the unexpected resignation of an employee can be. Finding someone new who’ll be an asset to your business is at best a hassle, and at worst, a logistical nightmare.

Footing the bill of staff turnover

Some experts estimate it can cost more than twice an employee’s salary to hire and train a replacement.

But that’s not all a business is missing out on when someone flies the coop – in addition to the transitional costs of the selection process and training someone new, businesses also lose-out on the ‘corporate knowledge’ and insight any outgoing employee has accumulated over their time in the position.

Driven to distraction

For companies looking to attract drivers in the current labour market, the outlook isn’t pleasant.

Australian Trucking Association research highlights the industry’s ageing workforce, and its continued struggles to attract younger people and women to the profession.

When that’s combined with predictions the national freight task will double by 2030, businesses need to make sure they’re keeping all their drivers safe and happy.

But when employment websites and social media platforms are encouraging greater labour market movement by giving workers more access to, and greater vision of job opportunities, how can your transport business hold onto its drivers?

The carrot

Who doesn’t appreciate a pat on the back for a job well done?

Within any workforce, small gestures of gratitude from the boss can go a long way.

An ABS study into job satisfaction in Australia found the nation’s happiest employees are those satisfied with the acknowledgment they receive for a job well done.

Extending the hand of gratitude to your drivers can range from something as simple as a supervisor offering a heartfelt thank you face to face, to monetary incentives such as bonuses to mark significant intervals of time a valued driver has been with the business. Some companies are also looking to reward drivers that maintain exemplary safety records as a way of showing their gratitude.

Technology & saying thanks

When it comes to a transport employer looking for ways to say, “good job” to its drivers, advancements in telematics technology mean they are in a far more informed position than ever before to acknowledge safe behaviour behind the wheel.

Now businesses can witness in real-time the speed of vehicles in the field, as well as driver behaviour as it relates to acceleration, braking and a host of other variables.

On top of giving companies the opportunity to weed-out bad habits, businesses are now armed with accurate information to reward drivers who are doing the right thing – and, as logic dictates, a driver who knows their performance is being appreciated is much more likely to stick around than one who thinks their efforts have gone unnoticed.

Fostering feedback

As well as rewarding drivers for their service, it’s important for companies looking at reducing staff turnover to consider how they listen to their drivers.

If staff feel as though their feedback and ideas are falling on deaf ears, the likely outcome is frustration and resentment.

Drivers who aren’t afraid to give feedback and feel confident that it might actually make a difference are likely to be more dedicated and engaged within your workplace.

Drivers who are out on the road every day are gaining an insight into an integral aspect of your business, so if there’s a clear avenue for them to suggest ways to improve things, it can be a ‘win-win’ situation.

Health drives job satisfaction

While companies need to understand the importance of showing drivers that they’re valued members of the team, businesses are also beginning to recognise that a healthy worker is a happy worker.

When a driver is spending the bulk of their day seated inside the cab of a truck, it’s even more important to promote ways for them to get their blood pumping.

This could include businesses implementing, or at least advocating for, a healthier approach to their drivers’ routines, arranging times when drivers could play a game of soccer together, subsidising the cost of 24 hour gym memberships or providing further subsidies for healthier meal choices to help drivers resist the easy option of fast food.

Measures like these aren’t just about showing your employees you care about them either. There are good indications that health and well-being programs during work hours can help improve a business’ rate of absenteeism and boost productivity.

Make the effort

With the transport industry poised for massive growth in the years ahead, now more than ever businesses should be looking at what puts a smile on the faces of their drivers.

Any initiative that shows businesses care about their staff is one less reason for them to look for greener pastures, and any investment, however small it may be, is poised to create dividends in over time.

As the saying goes, ‘good help is hard to find,’ so its worth taking some time to consider what level of investment your business can afford, whilst remembering that the return is likely to far outweigh the cost in the long-run.

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