How to Reduce Driver Turnover and Increase Driver Retention

Every company faces the challenge of employee turnover. In the transportation industry, driver retention is one of the top challenges motor carriers face due in large part to an aging workforce and fewer new drivers entering the profession.

But do not lose sight of the fact that you cannot afford to lose other workers as well. The COVID-19 pandemic has employers struggling to adjust to an ever-changing job market. It is a job-seekers’ market, but motor carriers have been dealing with this reality since the driver shortage began.

Still, no one wants to lose good people, especially a quality driver. One way to avoid this and improve employee retention is by building relationships through coaching.

How is coaching employees different from managing employees? Here's a basic definition from CultureAmp: “Traditionally, managing has been defined as a directive and authoritative role to oversee and drive employees toward a specific outcome... While coaching has the same objective as managing, the approach is more focused on helping individual employees develop their own critical thinking skills through learning.”
In other words, by coaching more and telling less, you give employees an opportunity for personal growth, to hone their problem solving skills, and use their greatest resources: their brains.

Coaching also demonstrates that you want to see employees succeed. If employees know you are investing in their success, that builds loyalty, and loyalty may prove the deciding factor when an employee is confronted with another job opportunity.

Remember, humans are wired to be social, and in this time of social distancing and social media, taking the time to coach an employee rather than telling him or her what to do and how to do it can have a profound impact on your employee’s morale and willingness to stay with the company. As a coach, your greatest asset is the ability to listen. Here are three tips to improving your listening skills:


Do not interrupt employees while they are expressing their ideas for a solution. Also, do not try to fill a pause in the conversation while the other person is thinking. Give the person time to gather his or her thoughts.


After the employee is done speaking, ask questions to clarify your understanding or to help that person think through his or her thoughts more. Try open-ended questions instead of closed-ended questions.


Do not allow distractions to interfere in the conversation or interrupt the other person’s train of thought. Avoid distractions like checking your phone to show the other person he or she has your attention.


  • Conduct coaching training for all personnel who supervise or mentor employees.

  • Practice not interrupting other people while having a conversation.

  • Put away your cell phone and avoid other distractions while communicating with others.

  • Create three open-ended questions you can use while practicing your listening skills.


Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.

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This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Joe Morten & Son, Inc. does not provide legal advice to its insureds or other  parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Joe Morten & Son, Inc. shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein. Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.