Earlier this year we kicked off this series about the driver shortage and how tough it is to hire safe, qualified drivers in today’s market. We started the series by establishing that it can be very tough to hire drivers as most of you can attest, and is expected to only get worse. We also discussed some of the reasons behind the shortage which included an improving economy, increasing government regulations, an aging driver population, and safety and driver wellness issues.
In last month’s TeamOne Newsletter, we discussed wages and whether they are a contributing factor, good or bad, to your ability to hire safe, qualified divers. We stated that companies should look at their specific situation and know the answers to questions such as how long it takes to fill an open driver position and what market wages are for your area and specific job characteristics. In this month’s Newsletter, we are going to come full circle and wrap up the series by discussing some things companies can do to address the growing issue of driver shortages.
So to refresh, statistically speaking what are we talking about when we use the phrase “driver shortage”? Well, according to American Trucking Association estimates, the industry is currently facing a shortage of between 20,000 and 25,000 drivers and if this trend continues, the driver shortage could grow as high as 239,000 over the next decade. Stop and think about those statistics for a minute. In our business at TeamOne, we are in more than half of the states in this country providing our clients with staffing solutions that help them minimize the risk, cost, and headaches of managing driver fleets. It is, in a word, difficult. But it is that difficulty with driver recruiting and retention that drives the need for our services. Of course some geographies and driver job types are more or less difficult than others but in general the competition for safe, qualified drivers is amazing to see. So when I read statistics like those from the American Trucking Association about how much worse it is expected to be in just a few short years, I can’t help but wonder what worse is going to look like. One thing is for sure, if you have not yet begun planning, yesterday was the time to start. Below I have listed a number of things that certainly isn’t all encompassing but should be on everyone’s short list of things to do as part of your planning.
1. Invest in safety. We have heard stories of drivers begging the authorities at weigh stations to give them an inspection because they believe the equipment to be unsafe. That is extreme but don’t be the company that does not put safety first. Drivers want to work for and they take pride in working for a company that values safety.
2. Invest in your transportation personnel. These are the folks that interact with and manage the drivers that represent your company on a daily basis. They play a crucial role in recruiting and retention, and they also have significant impact on your company’s safety performance.
3. Evaluate your driver compensation and benefit programs
- Are your benefits and wages market competitive?
- Is driver wellness a part of your program?
- Are the programs structured to enhance recruiting and retention goals?
4. Sharpen your strategy on how to attract new and retain existing drivers.
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses. How can you maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses?
- Company culture – Does your company culture help or hurt your driver recruiting and retention efforts? Very difficult to change but very important to realize and address if it is an obstacle.
- Underestimating the importance of recruiting personnel. Does your recruiting personnel understand transportation? Can they relate to drivers? Have they been trained so that they fully understand and can convey the specifics of the job, requirements, and compensation and benefit programs? Do they understand how to maximize your company’s strengths and minimize perceived weaknesses when talking with driver candidates.
- Streamline the hiring process – Drivers have options and unless you are very fortunate, your company is not the only game in town. Take too long or make it too much of a hassle for a driver during the hiring process and suddenly you find your driver candidate has disappeared.
- You feel great about your recruiting/pre-hire processes, lot of work has gone into it, and you have successfully hired a new driver. Now how do you increase your success of keeping that driver for years to come? Maybe a topic for another Newsletter but one thing is clear…if most of your time and energy is just on the recruiting side, you are making a big mistake. Retention is key.
5. Consider outsourcing to a company like TeamOne.
- Look at the core services they offer and match them to your need.
(a) Recruiting and retention expertise
(b) Safety and operational support and expertise
(c) HR support
(d) Ability to reduce or eliminate employee related liabilities (Worker’s compensation, EEOC, etc.).
- Engage a partner that is financially secure with a majority of their business in transportation
- Engage a partner that has a proven track record of success
- The right partner puts your employees on their payroll but you still have complete operational control.
Remember what we have said throughout this series…experienced truck drivers with good records are already one of the hotter commodities in today’s job market and the situation by all accounts is only expected to get worse. Companies that have begun planning and acting are going to have an advantage over those that have not, and companies like TeamOne can play a vital role in your staffing strategy.
- Posted by jhudson
- On April 28, 2014
- 0 Comments