How many drivers has the transportation industry lost recently? More than 150,000, according to some sources. Many left the industry due to medical conditions. If just 50% of those vacancies were caused by drivers leaving due to elevated blood pressure and sugar levels — and if companies could have helped 50% of THOSE drivers regain their health — that’s potentially 37,500 drivers who would have stayed in the transportation field.
Is there a driver shortage? Or is there a shortage of vision, of a desire to do things differently? Based on the number of otherwise-qualified drivers who fell out of the industry for health problems, the industry’s methods must change when it comes to retaining drivers.
It starts during the recruiting process. When I speak to driver recruits at wellness and driver-orientation events, all too often I see a lot of junk food being consumed. It seems like a small thing, but it sends a signal. Driver wellness education should be an enhancement to the recruiting package.
During driver orientation, take the following steps:
- Take health readings, and consult on findings.
- Feed recruits better.
- Explain that the company will be demonstrating agility-testing procedures.
- Take new students to an area for agility demonstration.
- Go through the testing process, from the minute they walk in the room until it is complete.
- Demonstrate proper form. Give tips on what to expect and how to maximize results.
Continued coaching and education after orientation can help drivers make health and wellness a long-term lifestyle change. Most drivers really appreciate it when someone takes the time to work with them. You can’t just load up on the front end; there must be follow-through to show your company cares about their health.
Here are tools motor carriers can put in place:
- Create a wellness road map. After all, drivers are familiar with getting from Point A to Point B. Their health is the same. Provide them with a road map showing how you’re going to help them improve their fitness, diet, and overall health.
- Train the trainers. Get them together. They must be your first line of defense and ambassadors.
- When doing pre-trip safety checks, remind drivers to pack healthy, high-energy foods.
- Display wellness posters throughout your facility.
- Publish driver-wellness content in your company newsletter.