One of the most prevalent problems in the school transportation industry has been bus driver retention. Driver shortage has been a serious issue among many North American school districts, especially this past year. In the 2014 School Bus Fleet’s Top 100 School District Fleets in the U.S. Report, 29% of survey respondents said that they have a severe or desperate school bus driver shortage compared to only 13% in the previous year. A great deal of time and resources are spent on training new hires. No district can afford to waste the time and money required. So what can we do to retain quality drivers? We believe that retention rates can be vigorously improved through a combination of quality personnel management and an automated system for managing drivers with K-12 transportation software.
From a driver management perspective, you need to make your expectations clear. If a driver understands what is expected of them, they will be more likely to meet those expectations. Being vague can lead to insecurity. As this article suggests, you can improve driver satisfaction by performing regular driver surveys and performance reviews. When a driver knows work is appreciated and their concerns are heard, they will feel they are being treated with the professional respect they deserve.
For example, don’t just assign added trips (field trips) on a first-come, first-serve basis. Assigning trips based on seniority produces the expectation that longevity with your operation will yield positive results. How are you rewarding quality work at your operation? How are you collecting the data necessary to reward drivers properly?
Because K-12 transportation software can automatically schedule and log all trip details, your drivers are assured that they are never being overlooked or taken for granted. As trips are performed, pay slips can automatically be generated directly from payroll, so there’s never a possibility of forgetting or neglecting a driver’s pay. Online portals allow drivers to access trip schedules and to accept or decline trips as they are offered, giving them more autonomy over their jobs.
Your drivers can be rewarded for specific key performance indicators, which encourages greater attention to detail and accuracy when performing their jobs. Your reward will be drivers that are encouraged to stay working for you because they’re getting more personalized attention. What’s more important is that with better management processes in place, your operation will become more attractive to potential hires.
The benefits of K-12 transportation software solutions extend from dispatchers to drivers and beyond. Check out this infographic to see how every stakeholder can take advantage of automation and a complete end-to-end transportation solution.