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Strategies for Recruiting & Retaining Drivers

Strategies for Truck Driver Recruiting

There are 3.49 million people who work as truck drivers in the industry, meaning 1 in every 33 jobs in the U.S is related to the trucking industry. With a current shortage of 80,000, the driver shortage is expected to balloon to almost 160,000 by 2030. Replacing retiring truck drivers will be by far the largest factor, accounting for nearly half of new driver hires (54%). The second largest factor will be industry growth, accounting for 25% of new driver hires.

Below we'll discuss the untapped talent pools, such as female and retired military drivers, and the best practices and strategies to recruit both groups of untapped talent. The experts at Hire Velocity offer practical solutions to many problems facing driver recruiters and explain the most successful ways to help find top talent.

When it comes to recruiting truck drivers, you'll want to understand what motivates them to leave their current position, then convey those perks as they apply to your company. A recent driver opinions study found these most important topics to convey to potential hires:

  • Pay Information 82.6%
  • Home Time Information 69.1%
  • Equipment Information 31.6%
  • Freight Details 25.2%
  • Safety Initiatives at the Carrier 21.7%
  • 6 Other 6.8%

Critical Social Media Recruiting Strategies

The rise of technology within the industry is helping transportation companies to increase brand awareness, personalization, and widen their audience as well. Many truck drivers are on social media more than past years, with 96% of truck drivers have their own facebook account, making it a critical strategy for recruiting. The benefits include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Widen audience influence and reach
  • Personalize advertising opportunities
  • Gain loyalty and trust from customers

When recruiting truck drivers via Facebook, consider these helpful tips, as well:

  • Have a brand page instead of a personal one
  • Use tracking links when posting your content
  • Link back to your website
  • Be consistent and post often
  • Engage with your audience by replying to comments and feedback
  • Utilize sponsored posts and Facebook ads
  • Show off your company culture and brand through pictures and entertaining posts

Pipeline Talent Before Your Competitors

If you offer training or schools, you can recruit from your own talent pool before competitors get the chance. There are many benefits of company-sponsored licenses, including:

  • Savings on recruiting
  • Pipeline of licensed talent
  • Shorter training period
  • Lower rate per mile (RPM) for drivers
  • Contract for sponsored drivers exceeds average tenure for drivers

Companies that offer CDL training include Maverick, Swift and Dart, while companies like C.R. England, TMC and ROEHL Transport have their own truck driving schools.

Untapped Talent Pool: Women In Driving

One area of talent that transportation companies are starting to focus on more heavily is the female population:

  • 23% of management positions in the trucking industry are held by women
  • Nearly 60% of the overall workforce is made up of women, but they only make up 7% of all truck drivers
  • 83% of women get into truck driving careers due to a partner also being a driver
  • Women are 20% less likely to be involved in a crash than men
  • Women will typically only apply to jobs they meet 100% of the requirements, men will apply if they meet 60%

Attracting & Retaining Female Drivers

Attracting female drivers needs to be a focused effort in order to be effective. Following these best practices helps set companies up for success:

  • Design programs to promote process and success within the organization for women
  • Tailor equipment and tools to suit both men and women
  • Implement programs that allow spouses to train each other Develop female mentorship and training programs
  • Provide passenger permits for family members, pets, etc.
  • Install a video system in trucks to allow drivers to connect with family while on the road
  • Guarantee time off
  • Provide self-defense classes because more than 60% of female drivers have felt unsafe on the job at least once in the last year

Untapped Talent Pool: Veterans in Transportation

Veterans are another untapped talent pool for truck driver recruitment. There are currently 18.2 million military veterans in the United States and 1 in 10 of them are truck drivers. Consider the following:

  • Veterans are involved in 42% fewer accidents than non veterans
  • Veterans achieved 98% more miles driven than non veterans
  • There are 59% fewer voluntary terminations with veterans compared to non veterans
  • Veterans had 68% fewer involuntary terminations compared to non veterans

In addition, the 2019 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is helping to make truck driving a career considered by younger applicants. Launched in mid-June 2019 by U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is a 3-year nationwide pilot program permitting 18-20-year old veterans to operate large trucks in interstate commerce without completing the CDL knowledge test if they:

  • Possess the U.S. military equivalent of a CDL; and
  • Receive sponsorship from a transportation company

26,000 service members and veterans are already participating in the program. 

Incentive Programs that Drive Retention

If your goal is to foster a positive culture that empowers drivers to stay with the company and creates an environment where drivers feel safe, valued, and successful, it's important to conisder the below for retention:

  1. Establish executive buy in for program
  2. State clear objectives and goals
  3. Ask the drivers what they would like to see
  4. Keep it simple and easy
  5. Communicate in a consistent, effective plan (from brochures to appreciation letters)
  6. Let the drivers know where they stand constantly to keep them motivated to strive for more

Ways To Implement an Incentive Program

Recent data shows that 55% of companies are using strategies such as driver appreciation events to help implement incentive programs and 36% of companies offer flexible work arrangements. Driver incentives that work most effectively are:

  • Driver of the Month Award
  • Recognition Board
  • Incentive Books
  • Years of Service Award
  • Driver Bonuses
  • Family Days
  • Host Team Building Events
  • Birthdays and Work Anniversaries Celebrations
  • Executive Recognition
  • Monthly Newsletters

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