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When your drivers nickname you the “vice president of happiness,” you must be doing something right.
Debbie Landry’s official title at Wisconsin-based Halvor Lines is director of driver services. After spending many years heading up recruiting, a couple of years ago she shifted her focus entirely to driver retention.
“Basically I’m here for the drivers,” Landry says, from overseeing orientation and handling truck assignments to simply being there for drivers to come talk about problems or questions. Some even ship things to her office when they’re on the road.
In her previous role, she had gradually been focusing more and more on retention rather than recruiting. So with the opening of a third terminal, the growing family business decided to create a new position to make that her official role and hired someone else to manage recruiting.
Landry says Halvor’s turnover actually increased a bit last year, from 27% in 2015 to 35% in 2016, but she says that’s largely due to the company hiring more new-to-the-industry trainees in a period of growth. She believes if it hadn’t been for the company’s driver retention efforts, that turnover would have been higher.
The company has 425 trucks and has been honored multiple times in the Truckload Carriers Associations’ Best Fleets to Drive For competition. Halvor runs new equipment with lots of comforts, including satellite TV and exercise steppers. Drivers are home weekly or every other weekend. There’s a health and wellness program, a passenger program, and a pet program.
But perhaps the open communication is one of the biggest reasons drivers stay. They are introduced during orientation to the people they’ll deal with in various departments and are always welcome to talk to them. And if they don’t feel comfortable going to their driver manager or the person who handles their paycheck, there’s always