How to Make Driver Recruitment a Competitive Differentiator

Tags: Trucking

One challenge the logistics sector faces is, well, finding new faces. While the U.S. recession largely suppressed a dormant truck driver shortage, the prospects of economic recovery are stirring old concerns. Adding to the problem, recent government mandates including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Hours of Service and Compliance, Safety, Accountability rules threaten to shrink the available pool of qualified drivers, and complicate recruiting, training, and retaining valued employees.

Creating a proactive corporate-wide program for recruiting drivers brings a number of benefits. It demonstrates a company's commitment to human resources, as well as customer service. Service providers and private fleet owners can use such investment as part of their value proposition to customers. Increasingly, the human asset is becoming just as important as the physical ones.

Whether a company is looking to reduce driver turnover costs or vet a business partner to make sure it has the necessary resources to deliver acceptable customer service, maintaining a dedicated recruitment and retention strategy communicates a strong message both internally and within the extended value chain.

4 Ways to Create a Proactive Driver Recruitment Environment

  1. Highlight driver job benefits. It is important to highlight and celebrate the corporate culture, values, and benefits that make working for your company great. Managers need to be aware of everything the company has to offer, and communicate those advantages to existing drivers and prospective hires.
  2. Talk about compensation. Two-way communication must exist between management and drivers so all parties understand performance expectations, and share in both successes and failures. Silence breeds speculation and unease.
    Have managers regularly review location pay studies and current monthly pay averages for drivers to help set goals and provide incentive. Know your drivers' weekly and annual gross pay—and ensure they are aware of how well they are compensated for providing great service to your customers. For new employees, set expected weekly hours and annual pay range for their first year of employment. Design your pay packages to make sure drivers make enough money, so they won't be lured by competitor claims of better compensation.
  3. Know the competition. Drivers won't know how good their job is if you don't. Evaluate how industry at large compares in terms of hours, benefits, and pay. Develop a target list of competitors in the local market, organize by priority—whether it's vertical, services, or individual company—then narrow your research focus. Once you know who you're competing against for drivers, develop a plan for acquiring competitive pay/benefits data—i.e., managers surveying drivers to gather information about past employment, and talking with business partners and customers. With this level of local market analysis, you can better understand where capacity stands and whether you are positioned to stay ahead of the curve.
  4. Invest in recruiting. It is difficult for companies to simply rely on newspaper ads and word-of-mouth referrals to fill their driver needs. You have to become more creative and resourceful in how you target new hires. Consider circulating around truck stops referral flyers and cards that detail the benefits your company provides versus the competition. Also educate your drivers on how they can screen potential applicants and increase their chances of earning a referral bonus. Drivers can often be the best recruiters.