Luma Links Driver Wellness to Retention: Motor carrier wellness programs prove essential to combating the driver shortage


[Mount Pleasant, S.C., May 23, 2023] — Luma Brighter Learning, an award-winning instructional design and learning company, is linking wellness to driver retention, illustrating a means for combating the driver shortage. By developing a wellness framework for motor carriers to implement within their organizations, Luma Brighter Learning’s research data illustrates the importance of wellness not only to organizations as a whole but also to drivers.

Retention in the trucking industry was an issue before the 2020 pandemic, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry lost 6% of its pre-pandemic workforce, which is around 91,000 workers. While there has been some rebound, carriers still feel the strain of hiring and retaining drivers. Motor carriers rightfully focus on the safety of drivers, but a workforce will not exist without wellness. Yet, the topic of driver wellness is often missing from many trucking organizations.

To determine ways carrier’s might retain employees through wellness promotion and education, Luma Brighter Learning based their research on the eight dimensions of wellness: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental. To create a comprehensive and impactful wellness program, carriers must look beyond only the physical and incorporate all dimensions as foundational pillars of their program.

“When conducting our research, we found that learning about health and wellness from their employer is highly important to drivers,” said Dr. Gina Anderson, Luma Brighter Learning cofounder and CEO. “Motor carriers of any size can implement the pillars that are most important to their employees. While it might not be feasible to implement all dimensions, it is important for carriers to consider how each of these dimensions plays a role in the overall wellness of employees. Our research shows that by providing a means for drivers to learn more about how to better manage their wellness, carriers will see an increase in retention.”

For each wellness dimension, Luma Brighter Learning encourages carriers to work with their employees to set goals, then provide employees with strategies to meet those goals. For example, the vocational dimension pertains to building fulfillment in one’s work life. Goals might include an employee feeling inspired and challenged in his/herself at work; learning how to create a work/life balance; or developing effective job-related skills. Strategies for implementation will differ depending on the carriers’ available resources, yet some might include providing information on industry conferences and trade shows and reimbursing employees for costs associated with attending; providing on-site certification and/or management programs; allowing flexible scheduling for family and personal time; or offering training or audiobooks on job-related skills such as assertiveness, time management, feedback, and active listening.

“After analyzing the impact of health insurance claims, we saw an opportunity to grow health awareness for our employees,” said Joy Suchy, Long Haul Trucking human resources director. “We took the initial step of encouraging employees to get their annual wellness exam. That was the springboard for establishing an all-encompassing wellness plan that meets several dimensions. This got our employees to not only start thinking more about their health but actively and positively participating in it.”

“When conducting our research, we were interested in input from drivers. For drivers to engage, you must get their attention. That is the first step in learning,” said Anderson. “Often, organizations start with the physical dimension of wellness but don’t always move beyond the physical dimension as it is essential for compliance. And, while this is certainly important, our research shows that drivers are most interested in social and emotional dimensions, for example learning about self-care and how to build self-confidence. In addition, we saw that drivers are interested in financial wellness, specifically how to set a budget and manage finances. The key for motor carriers is to ensure that not only does their wellness program incorporate mandatory learning, but it also is authentic and addresses the needs of drivers. This is what will create engagement and help drive retention.”

Luma Brighter Learning has developed a resource for carriers to identify possible employee goals for each dimension and how these goals might be achieved, as well as resources for carriers to share with their employees.

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