Early stage turnover increasing in trucking industry, StayMetrics says

Stay Metrics CEO Tim Hindes said the key insight from the company’s  Stay Days Table update is that early-stage turnover is increasing overall across the industry staying 67 days less in June 2018 than in January. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Stay Metrics, a provider of driver retention tools, has updated its Stay Days Table for the first half of 2019.

The update includes data for drivers hired each month from January 2018 through May 2019 from its carrier clients. The table reveals what percentage of them stayed with their carriers for 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, 270, and 365 days.

The Stay Days Table tracks early-stage driver retention across a broad range of carrier clients, representing dry van, tanker, reefer, flatbed and more segments. This iteration of the table includes data for 47,283 drivers and 93 carriers.

The Stay Days Table was recently expanded to include a column for “Average Days Stayed” that is calculated once a driver group has reached 365 days since their hire date.

Stay Metrics CEO Tim Hindes said the key insight from this update is that early-stage turnover is increasing overall across the industry.

While drivers hired in January 2018 stayed an average of 283 days, drivers hired in June 2018 stayed only 216 days on average, a decrease of 67 days.

The early indications for drivers hired in 2019 seem to be following this trend. Averaging several months together and comparing by year shows this most clearly.

Hindes said 84.9% of drivers hired from March through May 2019 made it a full 30 days with their carriers, compared to 86.3% over the same period in 2018.

This shift is even more pronounced at the three-month mark. Among drivers hired in the first quarter 2019, only 64.9% made it 90 days. This is almost a 5% decrease from 69.3% during the first quarter 2018. This downward trend on the average driver retention rate is consistent with recent ATA turnover measurements, Hindes said. The ATA recently reported turnover at large carriers increased 5% in the first quarter 2019.

“This update drives home the message we’ve been talking about for years: early turnover is where it’s at,” Hindes said. “Getting the early driver onboarding experience right should be a critical focus for every carrier. And we at Stay Metrics, with our years of research into this trend, can help.”

Early turnover costs carriers, trucking stakeholders said.

Chris Henry, TPP Program Manager and FreightWaves’ vice president of Carrier Profitability, recently reported that the cost of turnover, on average, sits around $10,900 per hire. This cost hurts more when the turnover occurs before the first year, as the driver has fewer days on the job producing revenue for the carrier, he said.

“These data point to a need to better understand what drives early-stage turnover,” said Dr. Bradley Fulton, director of research and analytics at Stay Metrics. “The key to doing this is a well-designed, comprehensive set of measures that can identify these factors and how they fluctuate over time. Analytics that lead to insights and highlight opportunities for improvement are also critical, but the analytics are only as good as the data on which they are based. Quality, comprehensive measurement is the foundation.”

Hindes said Stay Metrics offers an Onboarding Survey program for carriers to track drivers’ levels of satisfaction during the crucial first year on the job. Stay Metrics assesses drivers’ thoughts right after orientation to determine their expectations, how well orientation went, and their starting level of satisfaction at a carrier. Then, at several one or more key time points in the first year, a second survey determines how well drivers think the carrier is doing meeting their initial expectations and preparing them for the job.

Along the way, he said Stay Metrics alerts carriers when an opportunity arises to step in, reach out to a driver, and solve an issue before it becomes a cause for turnover. Possible triggers could include a sharp drop in overall satisfaction, a driver’s nonresponse to a survey, or a driver specifically asking a question on the survey.




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