Driver retention company Stay Metrics® is collaborating with two senior faculty members at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business on a study of turnover in the trucking industry. Professors Mike Crant and Tim Judge of Notre Dame have a combined 50 years of experience teaching and studying human resource issues like turnover, which is a serious issue in the long-haul trucking industry, affecting both trucking companies and drivers alike.
“We are interested in learning more about the characteristics that predict retention among long-haul truck drivers,” said Tim Hindes, CEO of Stay Metrics. “This study will be a rigorous investigation into the underlying causes of the problem. The involvement of two prominent researchers at a leading business school will ensure a solidly-designed study that will yield new and important insights about turnover in our field.”
Insight into questions like, can we identify people likely to leave in the first year early in the process, and, are there certain characteristics that predict a misfit with the life of a long-haul trucker, will provide practical and actionable results.
“It is in the best interests of everyone involved—trucking firms and potential drivers alike—to know early on if there are significant red flags that need to be dealt with,” Hindes said.
From the carrier company perspective, turnover is costly and requires constant hiring of new drivers to meet obligations. Turnover exceeds 100 percent per year in this industry for large fleets, and it has been estimated to cost companies from $5,000 to $6,000 per driver. Drivers have to pass several hurdles to gain a job in the industry, and attending a training program takes time and money, as well as forgoing wages during the training period. Many people give their time and money to qualify for a job as a long-haul trucker only to discover shortly after they start work that the profession just isn’t for them. They find that the loneliness, time away from their family, and the frustrations associated with the profession to be so difficult to deal with that they quit before the end of the first year.
About the Researchers
Notre Dame’s Mike Crant and Tim Judge are well-known scholars with a reputation for excellence. They will provide research expertise that will ensure that the entire project is high quality, from survey design to data collection, data analyses, and finally, reporting the results to our collaborators in collecting these data. Stay Metrics has connections with many firms in the trucking industry and a reputation for innovative solutions to retention issues in the trucking industry. The combination of Stay Metrics’ expertise in the industry and the faculty members’ knowledge of sophisticated research techniques is a winning combination sure to yield useful and actionable recommendations.
“The idea is to have current long-haul truckers and job applicants for trucking positions complete a survey assessing various attitudes, traits, and other characteristics,” said Crant. “We will then track these drivers over time to see which ones stay and which ones leave. Our goal is to better understand the process by which people make decisions to enter or exit the trucking industry. If we can identify characteristics that predict who will be likely to quit, they can be counseled about the perceived misfit and make a more informed decision about whether to pursue a career as a trucker. This counseling may help improve retention. We believe that the results of our research will provide information that allows both truckers and organizations to make more ethical and informed choices about driver-job fit. Ultimately, we want trucking companies to have a better idea about the likely tenure of prospective drivers, as well as to identify those with a propensity to exhibit undesirable safety-related behaviors and other indicators of substandard job performance. Identifying potential problems early allows the opportunity for counseling and for digging deeper into the proposed fit with the prospective driver.
Participants Needed for this Valuable Study
Does this project sound like something your firm would like to be a part of? We are asking select carriers to consider participating in this study. You would provide two things: First, we would need access to your drivers so we can send them a link to an online survey, and second, you would provide us with data over time on who has stayed with your firm and who has left. A secondary aim of the research is to predict driver safety and job performance, so we would also appreciate the chance to get information about safety violations and related performance measures. All individual responses will be strictly confidential and all ethical standards of collecting and reporting data will be adhered to.
Carriers interested in participating should send a profile and memo of interest to:
Vice President of Research & Operations