Today’s trucking industry is in a bit of a conundrum. On one end, the ongoing driver shortage has left thousands of trucks in lots and is threatening the very foundation of the U.S. economy. On the other hand, CDL driver recruiting and HR departments have more resources than ever before at their disposal to attract new driver candidates. It’s converting these leads into new drivers – and then turning these new drivers into long-term employees – that is proving difficult for today’s carriers.
Driver retention is one of the biggest challenges for carriers, but it doesn’t have to be. In the past, retaining drivers and creating long-term employee relationships would be handled post-recruiting. This entire side of the employee lifecycle would have nothing to do with how the driver was first contacted, interviewed, or even onboarded. In the modern CDL trucking world, however, this pre-hiring phase is just as – or even more – important than the post-hiring phase.
Building driver loyalty and creating a culture of driver retention starts much before a driver is brought on as a full-time employee. The application and recruiting process is a hands-on, collaborative part of the CDL driver experience that is critical to long-term retention. By harnessing the power of the recruiting process and being open and transparent with applicants, carriers and recruiting teams can lay the foundation for driver loyalty and long-term driver retention.
How to drive retention during the recruiting process
While the terms ‘retention’ and ‘employee loyalty’ can sound like industry buzzwords, there are actionable steps recruiting teams can take to build driver loyalty and create a culture of driver retention:
Collect feedback – and use it!
No matter what industry you’re in, listening to your employees and your applicants is the best way to learn what drivers are thinking and how they feel about your organization. If you’re collecting feedback, however, it’s important to implement these suggestions in your day-to-day operations. HR teams should make a running list of what candidates and new drivers are looking to improve job descriptions and benefits down the road.
Additionally, internal teams can send out open-ended surveys and questionnaires to current drivers on a regular basis to gather feedback on how the company is doing and what drivers want to see from management. Once you have this information in hand, it’s important to take action and make updates to your internal processes that directly impact drivers.
Recruit with the driver in mind.
As strange as it may sound, some recruiters can actually lose sight of the driver during the CDL driver recruiting process. In reality, CDL driver recruiting is wholly dependent on whether or not the driver is enjoying the process.
At the end of the day, the driver has most of the power in the recruiting cycle, especially because there is so much competition out there for them to choose from. Instead of recruiting with the best interests of a company in mind, recruiters should tackle conversations with the driver as the top priority.
Create an engaging community.
Even though drivers spend most of their time on the road, that doesn’t mean they don’t want an engaging company culture or co-worker environment. It’s the responsibility of CDL recruiters and HR teams to create a culture of communication and engagement between a group of people who are physically disconnected.
With innovative solutions like social media, company-wide newsletters, and even video conference calls, your drivers don’t have to be disconnected from the company as a whole. Instead, your drivers can collaborate and communicate with other employees in real-time while feeling as their part of a team and culture, instead of alone on the road.
About the Author
Jeremy Reymer is Founder and CEO of DriverReach.
DriverReach is the Recruiting Management System that helps driver recruiters convert leads, hire faster, build relationships, and be more productive. You can learn more about DriverReach solutions here.
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