A winning recipe: 6 tips to bake gratitude into your fleet’s driver recruiting and retention programs

While we all gather with friends and family this week to celebrate all the things in life we have to be grateful for, here at NTI, we’re also obviously placing a particular focus on our appreciation and gratitude for professional truck drivers across the country and their dedication to delivering everything that makes the holidays so special — including and especially the meals we gather around this week at our Thanksgiving tables.  

To that end, we’ve assembled this very quick punch list of ways your fleet can bake gratitude into your driver programs this week and year around to make that gratitude central to the culture at your fleet:  

Make driver health and wellness a focus across all departments 

Driver health impacts every department and it should be an emphasis of every department, from recruiting and HR to sales and operations, to safety, and even in the C-Suite. Show appreciation for your drivers by actively working alongside them on their health and wellness journeys with the right resources and incentives.  

Read more:

5 ways your fleet can focus on driver health as a retention tool 

Promote work-life balance 

The term work-life balance has become a mainstay in corporate America over the past decade. But for professional drivers who spend days, if not weeks, away from home at a time, that can often be an empty concept. Here are a few resources your fleet can lean on to prioritize drivers’ work-life balance and to make it feel real for them. One key component is paid family leave for when drivers need to navigate important life events without compromising their financial stability.  


Implement policies that support drivers’ work-life balance concerns 

Trucking has an opportunity to lead with creative childcare benefits 

Ensure schedules and routes are fair and consistent 


Celebrate your drivers 

With all channels available and appropriate for you — email newsletters, blog content, text messages, social media, internal communication platforms, driver apps — connect, engage, and communicate with your people to remind them of their value to you and to promote your company as a place where they can thrive and work their entire career. A critical area of that internal marketing is to celebrate and recognize your drivers and their accomplishments and to let them know you appreciate them. Strive to do that every single day of the year with authenticity and passion. 

Profess your love and appreciation for drivers every week, all year 

Bonus tip! Check out NTI’s We❤️Truckers program. The marketing license for We❤️Truckers is available for free to any NTI subscriber. Contact our team to learn more about how to access the marketing license and use cases for your fleet.  

Offer competitive pay & benefits 

One of the best and clearest ways to express gratitude for drivers’ hard work is by putting it in the paycheck by providing competitive pay and benefits. 

Read more:

Driver pay in late 2023: From per-mile trends to sign-on bonuses, here’s what the data shows

Unlocking the road to driver happiness

Has your fleet mulled freezing driver pay in the current market? Consider these points first

Act swiftly and intentionally on drivers’ concerns  

When drivers voice concerns or opinions or something their unhappy about, do your driver managers, terminal managers, dispatchers, etc., hear those concerns and act on them? Or do they see it simply as the driver griping about something? Perhaps both can be true, but make sure the people in your organization overseeing and communicating with drivers on a daily basis can know the difference, and that they escalate drivers’ concerns quickly to the appropriate departments to fix them when necessary.  

Read more:

Mitigate pay pain points and promote all compensation available 

Lead with empathy  

Everything in your fleet should be viewed through the drivers’ lens. Not exclusively — and not all decisions should revolve around the driver’s POV. But it should at least be a key consideration for any decisions, programs, policies, etc. For example, conditions and treatment at shippers and receivers, quality of drivers’ experience at truck stops, your fleet’s onboarding experience, driver concerns about their productivity and pay in the current freight market — all of these are critical factors that build frustration and resentment among drivers, and often ultimately lead to their departure from our company and our industry.  


Struggling with driver pay and productivity in a tough freight cycle? Here are three ways to communicate with drivers’ and raise the bar of expectations 

Auditing drivers’ experience at shippers’ facilities can strengthen relationships with customers and drivers alike

Drives’ on-road amenities: Would you use them?

Provide a five-star onboarding experience

Are you a member of the press and working on an article, video, podcast, webinar, or other content for which you’d like to reference NTI data or interview a source from The National Transportation Institute?
Email us at press@driverwages.com.


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Listen live every month

On the first Thursday of every month, NTI President & CEO Leah Shaver, aka the Sunshine Girl, goes live on air on SiriusXM Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking, to talk with drivers about all things pay. From paycheck questions to working with fleets on resolving issues around compensation, HR and legal, life on the road, and relationships with their employers, Payday on Road Dog Live dives into topics drivers care about most.

Catch every episode live on SiriusXM, SiriusXM.com, or the SiriusXM app, where you can also listen to episodes on demand.

Or to engage with Leah throughout the month on pay topics, follow her on Facebook and Instagram