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  • Writer's pictureEvelina.Petrov

Recruting and retaining drivers is a top priority for fleet

Driving retention is dependent on fleets

understanding what drivers need, what makes them happy or unhappy, and what makes them decide to switch carriers. More importantly, carriers need to know when and how to intervene to shore up critical issues before a driver quits.

WorkHound’s 2021 trends report highlights the importance of employee outreach, equipment equity,

and relationships within an organization. Current and

past reports show communication ties into every

subject. The top comments of 2021 were about

equipment, people, logistics, praise, and pay.

Additionally, this year WorkHound added several new

data points, and fleets can take these insights to

improve driver satisfaction, minimize frustrations,

and create a healthy working environment in 2022.

In 2021, 29% of comments were positive, 35% were negative, and 36% were neutral. Negative sentiment has grown, and burnout is high. Top categories associated with burnout include pay, logistics, and communication. WorkHound also identifies critical comments, such as, ‘I’m so mad, I’m going to quit’ which can highlight a need for immediate intervention.

The top critical comment themes were pay, logistics, communication, equipment, and people.

Equipment Comments Outrank People, Logistics, & Pay

Drivers comment on equipment more than any other topic, which is not surprising given that equipment is not only drivers’ tools to do their job but also is often their home. Equipment-related comments could be about their truck or truck-related amenities or challenges with maintenance, people, and communication tied to equipment.

In 2021, equipment shortages plagued the industry, and

carriers of all sizes fought for new trucks and trailers. That

means carriers are working to keep their fleet running and

optimized without typical trade cycles. Stretching trade cycles

can create driver frustration, and comments on equipment

picked up around periods of regular trade cycles.

Satisfaction by Company Size

Small companies have found a way to create a small village environment for their drivers versus a large city environment of a larger company.

Instead of being a number in the pool of

drivers, carriers can know someone on a

first-name basis.

Large companies are starting to invest in

retention. They see small companies have a

family feel, and they are trying to duplicate

that by creating specific touchpoints.

Training and Benefits Comments

Provide Telling Information

Comments from drivers about training and benefits are particularly

insightful. When drivers leave critical comments about training,

they’re about 50% more likely to leave.

Yet when drivers mention benefits, they’re more likely to stay, with

78% of them remaining at their company at the end of 2021.

WorkHound dug deeper into the training and benefits themes this

year, not only because they were the most talked about in 2020 but

also because they're very comparable in comment volume and proved

very different outcomes in 2021.

The Significance of Training

There were just under 2,000 comments on training in 2021, which is

3.2% of all comments, demonstrating a satisfaction level that’s

actually equal to the average satisfaction rating across the board for

2021, which was 6.7%. Only 28.5% of the comments were positive,

and nearly half of those who made comments about training left

their company.

Also noteworthy is the average message length related to training

was 361 characters. The comment length is important because longer

comments typically indicate dissatisfaction.

Hear Directly from Drivers on

Training Training alone:

"I didn't have proper

training. I felt thrown

into it, and I quit."

Training and onboarding are critical because

86% of new hires decide to stay with a

company long-term in the first six months of

employment, according to a study by

Aberdeen. Additionally, in a 2021, only 12% of

employees strongly agree their organization

does a great job of onboarding new employees.

Plus, those who strongly agree their

onboarding process was exceptional are 3.3

times as likely to strongly agree their job is as

good or better than expected.

It is clear carriers have to take care of their employees at onboarding if they want them to stay around for the long haul.

When looking at training by company size, large

companies receive comments about training at about twice the frequency of medium-sized companies.

However, training comments at small and medium

companies tend to be less positive when compared to

driver experiences at larger companies. Large

companies often have a more systemized approach

and the resources to invest in more sophisticated

training technology and techniques. They also focus

on training the trainer rather than having another

driver conduct the training.

WorkHound also investigated sub-themes tied to

training that should cause concern.

The top two were pay and communication.

Comments related to training and communication,

drivers indicated that they felt training or orientation

was unorganized, that the trainer wasn’t equipped or

was potentially overwhelmed, the training type wasn’t

effective for them, or they had an inaccurate

description in the recruiting experience and,

therefore, unrealized expectation.

Drivers often communicated challenges with training

on some of their electronic devices. They may have

gotten more familiar with a different device in a

previous position, or they wanted additional training.

Training + Pay:

"Pay for training is not enough when you're on the road, but I understand I still have bills

not getting paid."

"Training, training, training. I'm currently on my first day on my own, and I have

absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I'm confused. If it wasn't for the guy I rode with for the

ride-along giving me his number to call with questions I have, I would probably wouldn't

be here. There needs to be more training and more pay for the ride-along."

"I've been employed there almost a month and haven't even received my orientation pay. It

sucks. I am just being honest. "

Training + Pay

"I was told ten days training, 14 days on the truck, then I will be on my own... well, I was 14 days training, and I'm on this truck and still haven’t been home to get my pay, and now that I'm going to upgrade, whatever that is, I still can't drive home because I need to be dispatched home. Like, come on, let's get with it, and I still have bills that are due,

and they can't get paid because what I got are on a card that's going to take four days to transfer to my

bank. "

On Training - Data Leads to Action:

Understanding the role training and onboarding play is

critical as the trucking industry continues to focus further on

building a new talent pipeline and bringing new entrants to

the industry to combat the worsening driver shortage.

Based on the training data and comment insights,

WorkHound recommends carriers:

1. Align expectations:

Ensure that drivers are receiving consistent and realistic information about the job.

Carriers must ask and listen to the experience drivers expect from the company.

2. Audit Training:

Run a regular review on the way training is being conducted, both in the experience trainers are

offering and the value the trainees are getting. It can be helpful to sit through training to see if it

is engaging.

3. Train on New Equipment and Technology:

When carriers implement new technology or add new equipment, make sure you dedicate the

appropriate amount of time or resources to train drivers on it. These are big investments, and,

to get the most value, it's important to make sure these resources are being used.

4. Ongoing professional development:

Drivers are asking for opportunities to gain more knowledge and develop new skills.

This includes getting appropriate training to become a trainer or additional professional growth

within the company.

Benefits Create Opportunities

As noted above, benefits are critical for carriers as they are an ideal opportunity for fleets

addressing concerns or questions. Roughly 13% of comments in the benefits section were

questions. Unlike the training theme comments, a majority of commenters who talk about

benefits remainedwith their company through the end of the year. Only 22% are now inactive.

Similar to the training theme, the sentiment around benefits seems to be a more

common problem for medium and small companies. This could be due to the

ability of larger companies to have access to systems and resources that might be

inaccessible to smaller companies.

Fortunately, most of the comments clearly define the problem, able to take specific

action on the feedback to address and resolve the concerns presented.

For example, workers here discussed constant changes in PTO or other forms of time off,

use of personal resources for juror duty, and not having medical and dental provided.

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  • Writer's pictureEvelina.Petrov

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Cellex Drug and Alcohol offers affordable random drug

and alcohol consortium programs for all size companies.

While training your drivers with us you can complete your

pre-employment drug testing as well.

When signing up with us your safety personnel will also have

access to our online supervisor's reasonable suspicion and

employee workplace substance abuse training programs.

Pre-Employment Drug Testing

TPA Service

Random Drug and Alcohol Testing

Post Accident Testing

Reasonable Suspicion Employee Training &









Setting-Up a Random Pool of Employees

Who gets tested? Regardless of job titles like supervisor, contractor, owner operators, etc., people are chosen for testing based on their job function (known as a safety-sensitive function)

not their occupational title. Only DOT safety sensitive employees may be part of the DOT random pool or pools.

Remember your DOT testing program must always be separate and distinct from your private company or non-DOT testing program. That goes for your random

testing pools, too. DOT and non-DOT random testing pools must be completely separate

Testing :Why are some people randomly tested more than once?

The reality is that in a truly random selection process, a high

probability exists that some employees will be selected several times

while others may never be selected. Why? Because after each

selection, the employee’s name is returned to the same pool, and he

or she becomes just as likely as anyone else to be selected next time.

How are employees notified to report for a test? Every employee

should be discreetly notified according to your company’s policy,

but random testing must also be conducted in strict confidence

with a limited number of people having knowledge of the selection

list. Why? Because it helps maintain the element of surprise.

What happens if a selected employee is not available for testing?

Employers need to have policies in place about what to do when

employees are unavailable for testing.

Best Practices: · If an employee selected for testing is known to be

unavailable during the selection cycle (legitimate extended absence,

long-term illness, etc.), document the reason and make-up the rate

shortfall by making another selection, or make an extra selection

during the next selection cycle.

· No employee should be excused from testing because of

operational difficulties.

Maintaining and Evaluating Your Random Program

It is the best practice for an employer to document everything on

the entire random testing process. This includes the numbers,

names drawn, dates and times of notification, dates and times of

collections, why a selected employee was not tested during a

selection cycle, etc. If you’re not sure, document it!

What must employees do when notified of a random test?

When an employee is notified, he or she must proceed immediately

to the collection site. Contrary to the urban legends circulating

among some employees, immediately does not mean two hours.

Immediately means that after notification, all the employee’s actions

must lead to an immediate specimen collection:

Best Practice: Many employers develop random testing procedures

or policies that clearly state what activities are acceptable after

notification: for instance, which safety-sensitive duties Agency

regulations permit them to complete. If an employee is notified of a

random test while working “off site” or “on the road,” the

company’s policies should spell-out exactly what the employee must

do before resuming safety-sensitive functions. That way there is no

misunderstanding among employees about what is expected.

What’s the best tool employers have for deterring drug

and alcohol use in the workplace?

Random Testing. Why:

· Saves lives and prevents injuries.

· Helps employers identify workers with substance

abuse and facilitate their treatment.

· Allows employees to easily say no to illegal drug use,

how you ask "No, thanks. They drug test at


· Reduces employer liability.

· It is a fair way of testing.

Random testing is required for safety-sensitive employees Each DOT

Agency and the USCG has regulations that require certain employers

to implement a random testing program.

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Updated: Aug 12, 2022

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,

which last year became the focal point of the

massive supply-chain meltdown that left store

shelfs empty and cranked up inflation, have

been making much progress in recent months

addressing some of the most acute bottlenecks

on the docks, but many underlying problems persist

The backlog of containers with furniture, clothing, electronics and other imports that were piling up at the largest port complex outside Asia last summer and fall has been dwindling. The so-called dwell time a container sits around on average before it gets picked up has fallen by more than half from late October and there are no longer dozens of ships at anchor outside the ports waiting for weeks before they can berth and offload their cargo.

Those encouraging numbers are only part of the story, however, and no one at the ports is declaring victory yet, or seeing an end to the supply-chain disruptions caused by the unprecedented volume of imports from Asia

The ships that were waiting outside the ports last year are now spread out across the Pacific Ocean, slow steaming or drifting to avoid a similar traffic jam like the one that put the ports in the national spotlight in the fall and more than doubling the time it takes to reach Southern California. And although the stacks of containers with imported goods have been shrinking at the ports, the even larger stacks of empty containers that need to be sent back haven't budged much.

The unyielding pile-up of more than 100,000 empty containers at the ports in turn

creates a headache for truckers who need to offload their empty container before they

can pick up a loaded one at the terminals. "If I can't free up my chassis, I can't pull an

import off the terminal."

Much of the recent supply-chain disruptions are connected to the Covid pandemic,

which in the past two years has confined many Americans to their homes and has

caused a shift in spending habits. Rather than spending money on vacations or going

out, people have been buying lots of stuff for their homes, much of which comes by

ship from Asia.

That surge in imports combined with labor and equipment shortages in the trucking and

warehousing industries has put enormous strain on the movement of goods, causing delays

and price increases.

The latest Covid-related hiccup at the ports has come from the rapid spread of the

Omicron variant in Southern California this month that has temporarily depleted the

workforce at the ports by about 10%. Both Long Beach and Los Angeles set records last

year in the number of containers that moved through, predominantly driven by the

volume of imports. Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said at a

presentation Thursday that the port was heading for another year of challenges and


One critical element to meet these challenges is better use of data, Seroka said. The port

last year started to provide accurate and up-to-the-minute data, such as real-time insights

in operational conditions, to help cargo owners and service providers to manage cargo and

free up terminal space, he said. But the country's entire logistics network needs to be

digitized in order to identify and address supply-chain issues as they happen, according to


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