Using Bonuses to Attract School Bus Drivers: 5 Tips

school bus drivers

school bus drivers-1.jpgThe current school bus driver shortage shows no signs of abating. In fact, if more states follow Tennessee's lead and start imposing stricter requirements on school bus drivers, that could actually make the recruitment-and-retention problem worse. It's a difficult situation with no easy answers since, of course, no district wants to hire unqualified drivers... but sometimes it's hard to find any drivers at all.

One of the most common ways of improving recruitment and retention is through the use of bonuses. In this blog, we wanted to talk a bit about various options that exist, including ones that might not require large increases to your transportation budget.

Five Ideas For Bonuses That Attract And Keep School Bus Drivers

1 - The staggered recruitment bonus.

Recruitment bonuses are, of course, one of the mainstays whenever any employer wants to sweeten the deal a bit. This will pretty much always be effective as long as the recruitment bonus is large enough to be attractive. The key to making it truly effective, however, is to stagger the bonus over time so that it pays out in two or three chunks. This might look something like $500 on the first day, $500 at the end of the first semester, and $500 at the end of the first year.

2 - The perfect attendance bonus.

If you want to encourage your drivers to keep showing up for work, attendance bonuses can do the job. However, there is some danger here that if the bonus is too large, it could encourage drivers to show up when they aren't physically fit.

3 - The referral bonus.

This is a great option for boosting recruitment, since it encourages your existing drivers -or even other staff- to do some of the legwork for you. Like recruitment bonuses, these generally work best when they're staggered so that the referring employee will encourage the new hire to hang around.

4 - Safe\improved driving bonuses.

Rewarding your bus drivers for good behavior is always a good idea. There are plenty of criteria you could use here, such as basing it on whether bus drivers receive any complaints from other drivers on the road. Or, if you use tracking systems, you could award bonuses on a variety of metrics such as reducing gas usage or never speeding.

5 - Benefits buy-in options.

Don't overlook the potential of using benefits or retirement packages as a bonus. This is a good carrot to dangle for longer-term drivers, such as those who have been driving for five years or more. Being able to start utilizing benefits can be a major draw.

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How does your district handle bonuses? Do you have any clever ideas for keeping your drivers happy? Let people know below!