4 WAYS TO COMBAT INFLATION FOR YOUR DRIVERS
Inflation is going to be a talking topic in a lot of your meetings in the next months, but more importantly, in the mind of your drivers while they are on the road and when they turn on the news at home. For two consecutive months, prices have been rising fast. In October, the consumer price index jumped 6.2% on an annual basis, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Then in November, that number climbed to 6.8%.
Prices are rising at their fastest rate since the early 1980s, and companies that do not highlight their commitment to shield drivers from inflation may see their most precious resource leaving to (perceived) greener pastures.
We expect 2022 to be a highly competitive year for labor that will demand even more from companies to show their appreciation for drivers in order to retain them.
Drivers are going to feel the inflation pinch in different categories, some of them are obvious such as the rising price of food. In November, the cost of groceries rose 3.5% annually, and the price of eating in a restaurant jumped 6% on a yearly basis. This is going to squeeze drivers, who spend weeks at a time on the road and whose eating habits are dictated by their jobs.
Health care is getting more expensive too, and it is hard for drivers to control the cost incurred. The health care inflation is picking up and trending towards the historical average 5%. Considering that the average total health care cost per employee is $15,000 per year, every point increase counts.
Living on the road and on a tight schedule makes it difficult for drivers to access health care facilities. They may resort to more expensive options such as emergency rooms and urgent care centers, making it an unpleasant surprise when they receive a bill for something that needs to be covered out of pocket.
Finally, there is the side effect of rising inflation – its impact on wages. According to the Department of Labor, real average hourly earnings were 1.9% lower in November than they were one year ago, in spite of gross pay increasing 4.8% annually, on average.
The predominance of inflation on the news makes workers more attuned to seeking pay raises. This coupled with truck driver weekly wage variation due to paying per mile, and a complex compensation package that makes it hard to estimate wages, could push your drivers to hear out that recruiter from other company that promises they will make 20% more than what they actually making.
There’s a lot that you can do to combat inflation for your drivers and keep them in your company. Your drivers are going to have a lot of ongoing needs, given how much they live on the road. Here are a few ways that you can help them:
- Make each meal a memorable and affordable event – large companies are already providing meals at their lounges, but there are millions of ideas which you can apply to differentiate your organization around healthy and affordable food options. For example, nuts, fruit, sandwiches, or healthy grab-n-go choices that they can keep in the truck and have your company branding or positive messaging. Make your drivers feel that you go the extra mile, so they eat the best food without reaching for their wallet while they drive the extra mile.
- Support your truckers with convenient health care and wellness – If you want to think big, take note of companies that have started their own healthcare captive program . Employees started receiving great care at no cost, and the company was able to keep costs down. Offer virtual care/telehealth services that adapt to the mobile situation of your drivers. Finally, lead the chance towards wellness. There are multiple resources to promote wellness to your drivers, such as collaborating with our friends at Fit to Pass to helping your drivers make better food and exercise choices.
- Help with financial planning – Start making sure your drivers understand your compensation package. A large part of the worries about pay from drivers are related to confusions and communication breakdowns. Another idea is to facilitate financial education. We like e-learning modules that drivers can use on the road to get help with financial planning. Plus, there are a lot of great budgeting apps out there.
- Use the latest information to design a comprehensive competitive package that makes your driver feel appreciated. Book a meeting with us- By working closely with NTI, you can make sure your pay and benefits stay consistent with market rates. Financial goals look different for drivers based on their career progression, so you’ll want to track first year pay and experienced salaries alike.
You may not be able to combat inflation entirely, but unless you show your drivers that you are trying your best to shield them from it, expect that they may be open to consider other offers.
At NTI we take your business and how you can improve your compensation, recruiting and retention strategy seriously. Be sure to subscribe to the NTI Alerts Newsletter so you don’t miss a beat.