Technology for Driver RetentionThe Trapeze Team | May 06, 2016
So we know that driver attrition is a huge – and hugely costly – issue. But what can we do about it? Clearly technology has a crucial role to play in any driver retention strategy. Here are four ways you can use it to ensure you’re maximising its impact.
1. Driver Self-Service
Stressful working conditions cause attrition. And for bus drivers and managers alike, certain processes – particularly duty allocation and processing of holiday requests – are incredibly stressful.
Self-service – such as Trapeze’s DAS-Web – significantly reduces stress by enabling drivers to manage their duties at their convenience. They no longer have to visit the traffic office or call in to obtain the information they need, and can submit requests for change from the comfort of their own home.
Many operators have noted the positive impact that self-service can have for both drivers and traffic offices. For instance, the team at Tower Transit noted that drivers “find it extremely useful for convenient communication and greater transparency.”
Self-service also improves transparency in communications, which increases loyalty and trust from drivers by eliminating the perception of unfairness. Samantha Phillips at Tower Transit explains: “It has helped eliminate arguments about miscommunication – or disputes about lost holiday forms and so on. Speak to the drivers and they’ll tell you the same thing: they trust the system […] It’s all about transparency. It helps build that trust, which is so important.”
2. Driver Training
If we know that almost half of new drivers leave within their first 12 weeks of employment, it’s obviously critical to make their first few weeks as stress free and convenient as possible. Making sure initial training process are a convenient and positive experience can significantly improve their working lives and reduce the likelihood that they will depart.
Tools like Trapeze’s NOVUS DT offer drivers the convenience of learning new bus routes and carrying out training exercises from the comfort of their own homes: in a relaxed and stress free environment.
And of course, driver training also increases safety – another critical factor in driver retention. And while it goes without saying that no employee should have to suffer avoidable dangers in the workplace, it’s also worth highlighting this article which observes that “training will help employees feel good about working for [your] company.”
Finally, it is critical that training is a continual and ongoing process of driver improvement. By investing in virtual route training technology such as NOVUS DT, drivers can practice driving changed routes before actually driving them; familiarising themselves with the route before getting out on the road – at which point they will be better prepared and therefore drive more safely.
3. Traffic Office Administration
Nothing undermines driver satisfaction like the suspicion of unfairness; which can cause irreparable distrust and damage between drivers and managers. Therefore, as this article notes, following HR policies and procedures accurately and correctly is of the utmost importance – especially when it comes to internal correspondence with drivers.
Solutions like Trapeze’s Traffic Office Admin module for DAS ensure employees are treated consistently and fairly – and nobody can dispute processes because they are completely transparent.
Such systems also improve communication processes by reducing the amount of time managers have to spend dealing with administrative tasks, leaving them more time to spend actually talking with drivers.
Importantly, this also makes it easier to implement positive communications strategies such as driver rewards and commendations. This has a profound impact on the business as a whole, because we know that when drivers are communicated with effectively they become more engaged with their colleagues and with the business as a whole.
4. Duty Allocation
Anyone involved with buses understands that duty allocation is a complex and time consuming process. But duty allocation also plays a significant role in driver attrition, because drivers need confidence that their workloads and their holiday are being handled correctly.
Duty Allocation Systems (such as our own DAS) ensure that overtime and holiday are distributed fairly and evenly throughout your drivers. When considering this type of technology, pay close attention to the reporting functionality: a great DAS system will enable managers and office staff to create detailed reports with data that can be used to improve driver retention.
Trapeze’s DAS includes an Extra Work Report which lists the additional works (late finishes and fast activity inputs) that have been added to a worksheet – this helps the driver by capturing and reporting all variations to their work and pay in real time, ensuring processes are fair and transparent.
The Vehicle Parking Report – which details where a driver’s bus for the day ahead is parked – sounds deceptively simple yet is invaluable in making drivers’ working lives more convenient and less stressful (which is of course a key reason why many leave a business).
You can read the full set of reports which improve driver retention here.