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The Truth Behind Interstate Distributor’s Driver Retention Numbers

From Recruitment to Fleet Management to Payroll, drivers get the truth. And nothing but.

Interstate Distributor’s Tracy Caffrey doesn’t mind telling you something about her company that a Senior Recruiter rarely volunteers without being prompted. “We’re not perfect.” At the same time, having worked as both an independent recruiter and a staff recruiter for any number of companies over the past 15 years, she’ll just as quickly point out that no company is perfect.

“The difference with Interstate is, we’re always working on our problems—particularly where drivers are concerned. Our leaders believe we can be the best company in the country—and I do too, by the way—as long as we never forget that Drivers, not Money, are the driving force behind Interstate.”

A Permanent Retention Committee
Toward that end, the Tacoma-based company (with a fleet of some 1900 drivers) has established a permanent Retention Committee. With representatives from Recruiting, Payroll, CSA, Customer Support and Fleet Management, the committee meets weekly to identify and discuss ideas for improving the overall driver experience.”

When the committee identifies problems that need fixing, and issues that need addressing, they take action. Consequently, Interstate enjoys an annual turnover rate of 40%—more than 60% lower than the current industry average for large fleets.

“Lots of companies, including places I’ve worked in the past, talk about putting drivers first—but when they’re confronted with legitimate driver complaints, they just sweep them under the carpet. And if there’s one thing drivers hate more than anything, it’s being lied-to by recruiters who make promises they know the company can’t keep.”

Eliminating The Motivation To Over-Promise
“So many companies today pay recruiters on a commission basis—and that’s where the problems start. When recruiters are paid just to get drivers in the door, without any concern about what happens once they’re hired, they’re a lot likelier to lie. And when that happens, the company just becomes a revolving door. That’s why our recruiters are paid on salary.”

So How Do You Keep Recruiters Motivated?
“We have a unique system for our recruiters that takes into account a number of factors—including retention. And because everybody knows where everybody stands in the recruiting department, as far as the numbers go, the number one benefit is, it promotes a healthy competition among all of us.”

And by “all”, Caffrey’s referring to a department with a grand total of seven recruiters—an extremely low number for a company as large as Interstate. Which raises the question: How does a recruiting staff of seven manage to fulfill all of Interstate’s needs?

“When you have really good recruiters who know how to talk to drivers, you don’t need a large department.” And that’s the truth.


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