Surveying the Best Fleets to Drive For® program - part 2

Published on June 28, 2022

By Rafi Syed - CarriersEdge

In part I of this series we reviewed feedback from the 2022 Best Fleets to Drive For driver surveys, in particular driver concerns related to technology and coaching. This month, we continue exploring the driver survey responses related to compensation, routing, and career opportunities.

The Top 5 statements from the 2022 edition of the driver survey highlight companies that:

The bottom 5 issues drivers want companies to improve upon are:

Fair compensation for additional work

While majority of responses agree with the statement regarding accurate pay, only 56.4% drivers feel they are compensated fairly for additional work required from them. Comments point to drivers having to sweep trailers with no additional time given to properly clean them for the next driver while worrying about making their next reload appointment. With most fleets still paying primarily for mile production, these extra, unpaid tasks can end up cutting into earnings significantly.

Drivers want to be paid for all the hours they are contributing for work, and not just the time the trucking is moving. “If you’re paying per mile, are you including all the other things drivers do into their pay structure?” Jazrawy asks. “If these extra duties are not considered, drivers don’t pay attention to them.”

Questions to Ask: Career path guidance

Lack of clear communication regarding career paths is a concern for 56.5% drivers. “The survey responses for clear career paths are usually in the middle,” Jazrawy says. “For the 2022 edition, it was on the lower end, adding to a pattern of plummeting scores for that question.”

41% of Best Fleets finalists don’t provide continuing education opportunities beyond job related safety training. This includes tuition reimbursements, grants, scholarships, corporate universities or conferences. Companies generally rely on association scholarships for conferences and education programs, but Jazrawy has noticed a decrease in 2022.

The idea of a career path has become more important for drivers, and it’s an area proven to help with retention. Comments from drivers on the subject reflect a sense that there are limited opportunities beyond driving in many fleets.

While the industry is concentrating on entry level training, Jazrawy points out that what drivers do after their first year is equally important. If drivers don’t know their long-term future in the company and the roles they might occupy, they will likely leave.

Talking to them about long-term goals, learning how to use different equipment, opportunities to learn more skilled types of driving such as flatbed or heavy haul, or becoming a driver trainer and mentor, and eventually having an office position helps them understand their roles beyond current duties. It bridges the gap between what the industry is offering and what companies can possibly do.

Questions to Ask: Fair method of determining routes

Lastly, only 57.1% drivers agree that the company provides a fair method of determining who gets what routes. 77.7% drivers agree that companies can be trusted to look after them, and 70.4% trust their fleet managers to advocate on their behalf, but a much smaller number feel that the routing process is transparent and fair. Routing and planning have historically low satisfaction scores in the survey, with comments highlighting planning inconsistencies, unclear processes, and inflexibility from operations as discouraging.

If drivers don’t want to travel on a specific route, the first person they inform is usually their dispatcher. “How they’re treated by dispatchers when they bring up a problem is important for driver satisfaction,” Jazrawy says. “Routing and planning rely on proper communication to answer concerns.”

Questions to Ask: How can fleets improve driver satisfaction?

According to Jazrawy, asking all these questions and solving problems one step at a time reduces the gap for low scoring statements. “These issues are not insurmountable. You just need to pay attention to them.”