home time

Home time vs. pay. For the vast majority of truck drivers, these are the two biggest factors they look at when choosing what carrier to work for. The question is, what do drivers care about more? As you could guess, the answer depends on the individual driver candidate. That being said, there are ways to make your jobs more appealing to drivers, no matter what they find more important. Here’s what to know about home time and pay.  

Pay

home time

 

Before all else, comes pay. A carrier can have the best home time and benefits, but they won’t be attracting many drivers if their pay is far below industry averages. And that average isn’t what it used to be.  

Due to Covid, stretched supply chains and other factors, many carriers have been steadily raising their driver pay over the past two years. Wal-Mart even announced recently that they would be raising driver pay across the board to between $95,000 and $110,000 annually.  

Paying that amount of money may be unrealistic for some carriers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to hire quality drivers anymore. Offering overtime and detention pay are two smaller ways that carriers can show they’re committed to offering fair compensation without stretching the payroll budget. Referral, safe driving, and delayed sign-on bonuses are other ways to do this as well.  

Home Time

 

While money means a lot, it’s not always everything to drivers. It’s of course important to offer competitive pay, but recently truck drivers have been citing home time as a bigger priority for them. The Covid pandemic led many people, truck drivers included, to start valuing their home time and free time more and more.

For carriers who only hire local drivers, this isn’t an issue since drivers are home every night. For carriers looking to fill regional and OTR jobs, this new emphasis on increased home time may seem difficult to navigate.

As a carrier, it’s important to make an effort to understand each driver’s home time needs and make efforts to work with them. Instead of enforcing rigid schedules that can’t be adjusted, be flexible in what you offer drivers. Some drivers may prefer to be home 3 days every week, while others may want to be on the road for a full week, then home for a full week.  

You may not be able to accommodate every home time request, but listening to your drivers and being open to what they want will take you a long way in recruiting and retaining top talent.   

What Can Recruiters Do?

 

Know your driver candidate. In your first call, have a discussion about what their priorities are for their next position. Some family-oriented drivers may be willing to sacrifice a difference in pay if they’re able to be home an extra night every week. A young single driver may just care about getting the biggest pay package possible. As a recruiter, it’s your job to be aware of these priorities so you can see if they’re a fit for what your company can offer. 

Another tip is to never give an answer to a driver when you don’t know the answer yourself. If a driver asks if there’s any wiggle room on the home only two nights a week part of the job, don’t just say “yes” without knowing if that’s true. Inaccurate information from recruiters can lead to frustrated drivers, increased driver turnover, and possibly a poor company reputation.  

For the first time in a long time, truck drivers have real control and a lot of choice for who they drive for. For carriers, this means that offering competitive pay packages and flexible home time options is now a necessity if you’re planning on bringing drivers to your organization. But, home time and pay aren’t the only things drivers are worried about. Building a driver-centric company culture where drivers are valued is another great way for your carrier to attract drivers. 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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American Central Transport

Josh Mecca is the Director of Recruiting with Drive My Way client, American Central Transport. Josh has been in the trucking industry for over 16 years and was recently invited to the White House to hear about the current administration’s Trucking Action Plan. We had the chance to talk with Josh about his trip to the White House, why ACT is recognized as a Best Fleet to Drive For, his advice for recruiters, and more.

What did your experience in the industry look like before coming to American Central Transport?

I started my journey at a trucking company in the southeast. From there, I moved to Nashville, TN and worked at a transportation management company. That’s where I learned the ins and outs of the industry, including long haul, regional, day cab, and virtually every mode of truckload transportation. I really started to understand the trucking industry from a logistics standpoint during my time there.

Wanting to get back to working directly with assets, I moved to a Midwest carrier for a couple of years, specifically working with Owner Operators. Then just over six years ago, I moved back home to Kansas City to take this role with American Central Transport as their Director of Recruiting.

ACT has been named a Best Fleet to Drive For for 5 consecutive years now. How have you been able to do that?

Honestly, it’s become something that’s ingrained in our culture. Every time we think about a new program, whether that’s changes to compensation, home time, benefits, or anything that impacts our drivers on a daily basis, we ask ourselves “How does this fit into being a best fleet? Does it make the lives of our drivers better?” 

At the end of each year, we always do an internal debrief based on feedback from the Best Fleets to Drive For program.  We compare what we did well, what we can improve on, and what we’re missing. We do this because we want American Central Transport to be at the forefront of providing the best work-life balance that drivers deserve.

Historically, our industry hasn’t really taken those wants from drivers into consideration, but being part of the Best Fleets really challenges us at our core to do everything we can to make not only our company a better place for drivers, but to attract and retain more talent to the industry as a whole.  

The market for truck drivers has been extremely competitive for a while now. Do you feel this is because of a true shortage of drivers, or something else?

American Central TransportI’ve always been very skeptical of the notion that there’s a literal shortage of drivers who want to get into trucking. The reason I’m skeptical is because of the number of leads, applications, and people we see out there looking for jobs.

Drivers are realizing that, for a lack of a better term, they’re in the driver’s seat right now. They control where they go and who will employ them for their services, and rightfully so. They’ve got a hard job and they sacrifice a lot to do it. We as carriers really need to understand that if our job isn’t attractive for drivers, we’re going to fall short.

We’ve recently started a driver finishing program with two CDL schools here in Kansas City. We were noticing that a lot of times in our industry, a driver would finish their CDL training and immediately be thrown to the wolves before they had a real chance to get their feet under them. This led to a lot of careers in trucking being thrown away before they began because these new drivers would have such bad experiences.

Companies didn’t want to invest in the training that these new drivers needed beyond the bare minimum, so we decided to take a different approach. Once they’ve finished CDL school, we help our new drivers by giving them the support and knowledge they need from an experienced trainer while increasing their pay every 90 days for that first year they’re with us.

Recently, you were invited to the White House. Tell us about the experience and what you took away from it.

Josh at the White House

It was a great event to be a part of. It focused on this administration’s Trucking Action Plan to help our industry become more attractive. The plan focuses on a few pillars, one of those being more trucking apprenticeships to attract new drivers, especially women and minorities into the industry. 

The biggest takeaway from the White House event was that we need to support transportation as an industry and support the people who want to be in trucking. When I got my start all those years ago, I had a coworker with over 40 years of experience take me under his wing and give me guidance. We still stay in touch to this day and talk about what’s going on in my career and his retirement. It’s that type of support that all new drivers should have when they come into this industry.

To be invited to that event was validating on a career note. Sitting there on the White House lawn made me really feel that American Central Transport’s doing something right and positively impacting the industry.

When it comes to automation in trucking, what do you think the future looks like?

I truly don’t think the trucking industry will ever be fully autonomous. I think there are going to be segments where we see platooning or some other moves towards automation, but as a whole, I don’t think our industry will ever be there.

I do think trucking jobs are going to look different in 15-20 years, but I believe that behind every steering wheel there’s still going to be a driver piloting it.

What advice do you have to give to other recruiters in the trucking industry?

In trucking right now, drivers and recruiters absolutely need each other. But it’s extremely important that recruiters are painting an accurate picture of who the company is that they’re recruiting for.

The worst thing you can have is an orientation surprise. In the 8 years I’ve been in recruiting, an orientation surprise is never positive. You never want a driver to say, “Well I didn’t know about this”, or “I wasn’t told about that”. As a recruiter, you need to make sure that you’re upfront about everything with drivers, even if it’s something they don’t ask about, but you feel is important to the position.  

If you’re doing your job as a recruiter, you’ll start to realize when a driver is going to be a great fit for your company but also when a driver isn’t. If you say something like, “Hey, you sound like a great driver. I think we’d work well together down the line, but right now, I feel it isn’t the best fit. Let’s touch base in six months”, you’ll be surprised at how much drivers will appreciate that honesty. And once you do connect down the road, you already have that foundation of honesty built. 

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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American Bulk Commodities

In a time when demand is much higher than supply, it can be difficult for driver recruiters to be selective when bringing drivers into their organization. But, for Bradley Bates, safety is the one thing that you can never be too selective about. Bradley is the Safety Manager for American Bulk Commodities, parent company of Drive My Way clients, R&J Trucking and Southern Haulers. Bradley talked with us about how this background in safety has helped American Bulk’s recruiting efforts.

What was your original position with American Bulk Commodities?

I was brought in as Safety Manager after American Bulk had some safety concerns in one of their terminals. I started out solely in OSHA compliance and would travel to all our different terminals, running our training programs. I would give presentations and work to make sure mechanics were doing their yearly trainings and anything else OSHA-related. 

How did that role turn into what you do now?

As I got more comfortable in that safety role, I began to take on more, including managing our job advertising. At the time, we were still putting money into paper advertisements, which has showing less and less return. I stepped up and got our job campaigns posted online. 

I’m also the point person on the risk management side, including worker’s comp claims. Day-to-day, I’m talking with drivers about getting required paperwork, organizing return to works, and just doing what I can to get drivers back in a safe, but timely fashion. 

Then somebody left the company, and I started managing driver applications as well, running the MVR, PSP, and everything else. It was a big learning experience, finding out what we can move forward with from an application and what’s a total hard stop. I also learned to see trends in applicants as well, specifically what to look for to find a quality candidate.  

What are some of those trends that you look for?

Ideally, they’ve worked at the same place for the last 10 years and have nothing on their MVR or PSP. While this isn’t always realistic, we try to get as close to it as possible. It’s more important for us to bring in a driver whose work history shows they’re reliable and safe than bring in the first driver who checks all the minimum boxes.  

Also, asking questions related to how they’ve interacted with customers in the past, how they handle disputes and things like that is very important. Those questions are great at showing how the driver is on the customer service side of the job.  

Do you feel that being more involved in the recruiting process has improved American Bulk’s driver retention and safety scores?

We’ve definitely seen a decrease in terms of accidents and violations since I took over recruiting efforts. I can’t take all the credit though, as we’ve started to implement more safety features onto the vehicles as well. The biggest one being the Bendix Fusion system that helps collision and rollover mitigation.  

The system does a number of things, including braking automatically if there’s something in front of the truck that’s either not moving or moving much slower than the truck. I think the combination of the new safety features on our trucks and focusing on recruiting and retaining drivers with little to no accident history have been the main factors in improving our scores.  

R&J Trucking and Southern Haulers Partner with Drive My Way for Success

R&J Trucking and Southern Haulers are two of the nation’s leaders in the bulk commodities hauling industry. Find out how they found success by partnering with Drive My Way to hire CDL A Local Drivers.

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FoodlinerTrust is one of the most important parts of being a successful driver recruiter. Drivers want to know that the person they’re working with is looking out for their interests as well as those of the company they work for. But, for many recruiters, building that kind of trust is easier said than done.  

Driver My Way’s President and CEO, Beth Potratz, spoke with Tim Yochum, Director of Recruiting with the McCoy Group, parent company of Drive My Way’s client, Foodliner. Tim has close to 40 years of experience in the trucking industry and now uses that to bring qualified drivers into his company. He spoke about how he’s able to build trust with candidates by sharing his work experience with them, how he trains and motivates recruiters, and the KPIs that Foodliner uses to measure recruiting success. 

What led you to working with Foodliner?

Tim Yochum

Tim Yochum, Director of Recruiting, McCoy Group

I grew up on a farm in southern Iowa. I had to leave college my junior year to help my dad on the farm, who was having some health issues. I didn’t end up going back to school, but got a call from a friend who asked me if I’d like to work the Christmas season with UPS. I didn’t know anything about UPS but could use the extra money, so I said yes. I worked that whole Christmas season, which turned into a driving job. A few years later, I got into a management position and finished my career with UPS as an Operations Manager in Denver, Colorado.  

In 2007, I left UPS and came to the McCoy Group to be the General Manager of our Hazmat Tanker Division. I ran that for a few years, and that turned into my current role with recruiting.  

How has your background in transportation helped you recruit drivers?

I’ve had a lot of different jobs over my 38+ years in transportation, whether that be driving, doing sales and marketing, or managing special projects. I think having that knowledge on different aspects of the industry has helped me connect with drivers.  

I talk to a lot of drivers throughout the week. Every now and then, I’ll get one who says, “Oh, you’re just a recruiter.” And I say, “I am, but let me give you a little background on what I’ve done.” Once I give them some quick bullets on my experience, that attitude softens up a little bit. They feel comfortable that I’m going to be honest with them 

To that point, you have to be 100% up front and honest with drivers about every aspect of the job, even the unattractive parts. Discussing things like difficult schedules or challenging customers is important because you need to make sure it’s a good fit. We can’t keep our turnover at 40% or below by choosing a poor fit. 

I was talking with an applicant the other night who was asking questions about what the job is like day-to-day. I told him if he really wanted to know, I could get him in contact with one of our current drivers. I connected the two, and they had a long conversation about the position. It turned out that it wasn’t the right fit for the applicant, but that’s why I’m glad we did it. It’s all about getting the perfect fit on both sides. 

How do you prepare your driver recruiters who don’t have experience in the transportation industry?

Just being in the same area as my recruiters and taking calls from drivers in front of them really helps. Letting them hear the way I answer the phone, respond, and talk to drivers sets an example for them that they can follow.  

Another thing we’ve done is create spreadsheets that list almost every detail of all our terminals. This includes who’s the terminal manager, where it’s located, who are the key customers, average length of haul, any weekend work, and a lot more. New recruiters can pull that up and have about 80% of what they need to talk about. The other 20% comes in time from experience. 

What are some of the things you do to incentivize and motivate your recruiting team?

We don’t have an incentive such as “if we get x hires you get x dollars or if the driver shows up to orientation, you get a $50 bonus”. What keeps the Foodliner team motivated more than anything is that we pay them very fairly and our benefits are great as well.  

Another thing we do is let our recruiters know what the score is. For example, “This is how many applications we have in the process, this is how many are pre-qualified, or we’re over our target numbers by X drivers so far.” Just keeping these metrics communicated says to the recruiters that we’re part of a team working towards a common goal. 

What are some of the KPIs and metrics that you use to measure your team’s productivity?

A critical piece is the amount of days a driver’s application is in process. Ten years ago, you didn’t have the PSP or Clearinghouse report to worry about. Those and other items make applications much longer to process now.  

Also, it used to be normal for applicants to only have two prior employers in the past ten years. Current driver candidates have around eight jobs in the last ten years. That’s eight former employers we need to reach out to instead of two. That takes a lot of time, especially since these prior employers aren’t that quick at returning reference checks. Legally, they have 30 days to respond, but if you wait that long to pre-qualify a candidate, they’ve already got a job in another carrier’s truck.  

This is why we’ve loosened up a little bit here at Foodliner to where we’ll pre-qualify a candidate before we get all those boxes checked, just so we can give them a conditional offer. This gives them the peace of mind that they have a job with us, while we continue to cross our t’s and dot our i’s so that we’re staying legal. 

We’ve also become a little more aggressive when helping drivers get through their portion of the process. We’ll send them emails or text them about clearinghouse if we don’t see that back in a few days just to make sure the process is moving along. If need be, we have a couple people on staff who will call the driver and walk them through the Clearinghouse process just so we can get it done quicker. This is very helpful for drivers who aren’t very computer savvy and have never done that before. 

What’s one program or initiative that’s really helped Foodliner’s recruiting efforts?

Foodliner’s driver referral program has been very successful. If an employee refers a driver to us, we’ll pay that employee $8,000 if the driver stays with us for one year. We even have some drivers with multiple referrals in the system right now. These referrals make it through the application process at a higher rate than applicants from other sources and tend to stay with us longer.  

We’ve also expanded the program over the years so that anyone at Foodliner who isn’t salaried and doesn’t work in recruiting or HR can qualify for the referral bonus. Administrative assistants, technicians, and mechanics are all eligible. We just had a diesel technician refer a driver to us. We hired the driver, and the technician is now entitled to that $8,000. 

FoodlinerFoodliner Partners with Drive My Way for Success

Foodliner is the largest Bulk Food Grade carrier in the country and a Transport Topic Top 100 carrier. Find out how they partnered with Drive My Way to hire CDL A Regional and Local Liquid and Dry Bulk Drivers.

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cdl age requirementFrom shipping delays to empty shelves and rising prices in supermarkets, the effects of the truck driver shortage can be felt all across the country. Carriers and advocates have tried a number of ways to get more drivers into the industry. From raising pay to letting pets ride in the cab, a lot of different perks have been offered to get people interested in a career in trucking. 

Probably the most controversial response to the driver shortage has been to lower the age requirement to cross state lines in a CMV to 18. As of right now, drivers can get their CDL at 18, but can’t go interstate until they turn 21. This leaves most CDL trucking driving jobs to drivers 21 or older. 

Advocates say opening up this new age demographic to trucking will help alleviate effects of the driver shortage and get the industry moving in the right direction again. Opponents say that the safety risks associated with lowering the interstate CDL age requirement aren’t worth the potential benefits. Here’s everything you need to know about the age requirement debate for interstate truckers. 

What’s the Latest News?

Back in September of 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a program that would allow 18–20-year old’s to operate a CMV across state lines. Nothing happened at the time, but the program was eventually picked up as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that was passed in November of 2021.  

This program is officially called the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program (SDAP). The program will be in place for 3 years, almost as a test run. After that, the FMCSA will publish their findings and let congress know whether they endorse it becoming law. As of right now, there’s no information on when carriers can start applying to be a part of the SDAP, but the FMCSA said they’ll post an announcement on their website when that happens. 

Cons to Lowering the Interstate CDL Age

The biggest and most obvious criticism of lowering the CDL age are the safety concerns associated with letting teenagers get behind the wheel of a 15-ton semi-truck. Teenagers are 3 times more likely to get into a crash than drivers over the age of 20. When you combine that statistic with the increased difficulty of driving a CMV, it’s easy to see why some are skeptical of lowering the CDL age. Also, some feel that lowering the CDL age requirement is just a way to avoid the bigger problems facing the trucking industry right now, such as low driver pay. 

Another issue that’s not considered a lot of the time with lowering the interstate CDL age is insurance. We spoke with Jeff Ice, Retired Managing Director with Risk Strategies Transportation about what this change will mean for the insurance industry and carrier’s policies.

“I don’t see the insurance industry modifying the underwriting requirement of a 21 year old minimum age for CDL or even non-CDL drivers. Actually, most insurance carriers have a 23-25 year old requirement and I don’t see them backing off that. So yes it’s a conundrum. Driver shortage vs. insurance experience/requirements. With the expanding use of real time fleet telematics, maybe this change will make a positive impact on the industry years down the road, but in the near term, I just don’t see the insurance industry backing down,” shared Jeff. 

Also, some drivers fear that if the CDL age gets lowered, so will their wages. 18–20-year-old drivers earn much less on average than older workers and are more likely to take lower offers from trucking companies. This will put older drivers who have made considerable gains in pay over the last few years in a tough spot. 

Pros to Lowering the Interstate CDL Age?

When we think of lowering the CDL age, we might think of freshly 18 year old drivers who have never been in a truck before, hopping on the highway. In the majority of instances, this won’t be the case. To address safety concerns, the pilot program institutes a mandatory 400 probationary period where any driver 18-20 must have an experienced driver in the passenger seat at all times. An experienced driver is defined as any driver who is 26 or over, has at least 5 years of CMV driving experience, been driving for the last two years, and has had no preventable accidents or pointed moving violations. 

Lindsey Trent, President and Co-Founder of the Next Generation in Trucking Association had this to say on the topic of training young drivers and the associated insurance issues.

“It’s going to be a process. There are companies that will allow a carrier to insure an 18-20 year old driver, but they’ll obviously have to pay more for that policy. If we can train a young person to be an exceptional driver and put them through a longer training process, we’ll eventually get those statistics in with the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program. We’ll get answers to questions like, “Are these 18-20 year old drivers just as safe as a 26 year old who has their CDL,” shared Lindsey. 

Also, there’s already a number of young drivers out there who are already driving CMVs. In all 50 states, any person 18 or over can get their CDL A or B; they just can’t travel across state lines. Couple that with the SDAP only allowing 3,000 apprentices in the program at one time and you can see that many of the safety concerns have been addressed. 

18-20 is a very important age range, when many people choose the careers that they’ll be in for the rest of their lives. This is one benefit to lowering the interstate CDL age. The industry will be reaching young people at that critical time in their lives. For an industry that needs to get younger, lowering the CDL age seems like a no brainer. 

Whether you’re for or against lowering the CDL age requirement, as of right now, it’s happening. Even if it’s just on a small-scale test basis, we’ll soon see 18-year old’s out on the highway delivering freight. Only time will tell whether or not the concerns will outweigh the positive effect this change may have on the industry. 

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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What to Know About Hiring Yard Jockeys

As any driver recruiter knows, each position they hire for brings in a unique set of people. The same is true when hiring yard jockeys. Yard jockeys have a much different set of priorities, skills and motivations than traditional OTR, regional, or even local drivers, and it’s important to be aware of those differences if your company is hiring yard jockeys.  

We spoke with Corbin Brown, Driver Recruiter with Drive My Way client, NFI. He talked to us about his approach when hiring yard jockeys, the skills he looks for, and what they’re usually looking for in their next opportunity. 

Corbin Brown, Recruiter with NFI

“When recruiting jockeys, you’re dealing with a much different skill set than your average driver. Jockeys are expected to be very skillful with backing and fitting equipment into small spaces that a normal driver may not have as much experience in. Every job you have to offer a driver is unique, but it seems with jockeys, you need to be sure of a lot more of the finer details to successfully recruit a good candidate,” shared Corbin.

What is a Yard Jockey?

A Yard Jockey is a driver who uses terminal tractors to move trailers within a cargo yard, terminal or warehouse. Aside from that, jockeys are tasked with pre and post trip inspection of trailers, cleaning them, and other duties as they’re assigned. Yard jockeys will traditionally only drive within a company’s property, so a CDL isn’t federally required to do the job, but most carriers will prefer or even require that jockeys have their CDL.  

What Do Yard Jockeys Look for?

Home Time, Schedule, and Hours

As with local drivers and non-CDL drivers, yard jockeys are most likely looking for more home time. Having a guarantee that they’ll be home daily is a big reason they’re choosing that line of work.

Just take it from Willy, a CDL Yard Jockey for Drive My Way client, NFI. 

“I was a driver initially, but due to my need to be home at a specific time each day, I decided to jockey. Since the hours I work are fixed, I knew I would be home at the same time every day,” shared Willy.

When recruiting yard jockeys, make a point to go over the details of time off, how many hours per week, and scheduling. There’s a very good chance that this is their top priority, so making it yours will give you an edge over other companies while recruiting.  

“I see a lot of drivers who are moving around due to inconsistent work/schedule or just not enough hours to make it all work. I also see a trend in jockeys feeling like they, and their skills are not valued as much as they should. Because of this, they’re on the move to find more consistency and a workplace that values their unique skillset,” shared Corbin. 

Pay

In general, yard jockey positions tend to pay less than OTR or regional work. But, just like all other driver positions in the industry, yard jockey pay is going up as well. Over the past 9 years, average yard jockey pay has jumped over 26%. As with all driving positions, keeping an above average pay scale while providing performance-based bonuses is the best way to get the attention of experienced and talented yard jockeys. 

Advancement Opportunities

While some yard jockeys, like Willy may have been drivers initially and chosen jockeying to have a more consistent schedule, this isn’t always the case. Many jockeys come into the position to either earn their CDL while working or are using the position to get their start in the trucking industry and gain valuable experience for when they decide to start driving. A great way to bring candidates like this on board is by offering CDL tuition reimbursement and training opportunities for yard jockeys.  

“When recruiting jockeys, I personally look for longevity in employment. Jockeys who stick around on one job longer tend to have more well-rounded qualities. Those who jump from job to job too often seem to have a more basic skillset. My goal is to find the jockeys another company has undervalued or mistreated, and show them they can have a long and prosperous career with NFI,” shared Corbin.

If your company is looking to hire qualified yard jockeys or any other drivers, consider partnering with Drive My Way. Our patented matching technology will identify top candidates based on your specific job requirements and match them with you.  

NFINFI Partners with Drive My Way for Success

NFI is one of the largest dedicated transportation companies, with a private fleet of over 3,000 drivers. NFI partnered with Drive My Way to recruit for retention.

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Jeremy ReymerYou probably know Jeremy Reymer as the host of Taking the Hire Road, his weekly podcast done in collaboration with FreightWaves. But Jeremy isn’t just a podcast host. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the trucking industry, working as both a carrier and a vendor. 

In 2016, Jeremy founded DriverReach, a driver recruiting and compliance management solution, to help address the ongoing challenges with recruiting, qualifying, and hiring CDL drivers. 

Jeremy recently took the time to talk with Drive My Way’s President and CEO, Beth Potratz, about what he feels will impact the trucking industry this year, the new administration’s commitment to trucking and the labor shortage in general across the country.  

What do you think 2022 holds for the trucking industry?

The pendulum swings wide. When you have a supply chain that’s focused on just-in-time freight and you throw a global pandemic on top of that, it throws things way to one side. To overcorrect, we in the industry try to move things way far in the other direction, and that’s what we’ve been doing these past two years. I think this year, we’ll start to see things normalize a bit more in terms of driver supply and demand. 

What are some other changes you think will affect the trucking industry this year?

We’ve already begun to see a significant increase in new entrants into this industry. That includes both new CDL holders and new registered companies (owner-operators) as well. This new supply will help to meet some of that demand, but I think demand will continue to outstrip supply, especially when you factor in drivers being eliminated from the workforce due to the

Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. Inflationary pressures, specifically wage inflation, will continue to rear their head as well. 

Another interesting thing is that the industry has drawn a lot of attention from investors over the past few years.  Trucking as an industry proved that it’s quasi-recession proof and certainly global pandemic proof.

At the end of the day, it’s an industry that everybody needs. It has fundamental stability in turbulent times. So I think that attracted money and interest. Also just recognizing that in general, trucking is behind more innovative or progressive industries, and you can see that there’s a lot of opportunities to excel.

What are your thoughts on driver recruiter burnout and the labor shortage in general?

Hopefully, we don’t see that as much in 2022 as we did last year. I was listening to a demographer who was talking about the notion we’ve heard again and again over the past two years that “Nobody wants to work anymore.” It seems that way because you can’t find people. His point is that there are literally not enough eligible workers to meet demands for labor. When you’re just talking about the number of people; Generation X is much smaller compared to Baby Boomers and Millennials.  

By now, the Baby Boomers are leaving or have already left the workforce, but they still need services. Instead of being consumers and workers, now they’re just consumers. We’re asking a much smaller generation, (Gen X) and millennials to carry the burden of servicing themselves and the Baby Boomers.  

The new administration has put a spotlight put on the trucking industry. What are your views on their plans, and how much do you think will get accomplished?

This administration embraces trucking much like the previous administration. I’m encouraged by elements of the DRIVE Safe Act, including putting a pilot program to allow 18–20-year olds to drive trucks. That’s in the works and going to happen. Action exists. Nobody can say that this administration isn’t taking action. It’s going to take time to get it rolled out, but the path is paved. 

You can find new episodes of Jeremy’s podcast, Taking the Hire Road, every week on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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bad company reputation

There are many reasons a carrier could be suffering from a bad company reputation. It could stem from issues years ago when the company was a different place, run by different people. A few poor experiences could have gained traction online, or there could even be criticisms against your company that have no basis in fact.  

Whatever the reason, a bad reputation can lead to a lot of headaches for your company. Most importantly, it can lead to recruiters having a much harder time filling seats. Businesses often don’t take the necessary steps to reverse these negative perceptions and instead choose to live with them.  This is a mistake no matter what industry you’re in, but especially trucking, where word of mouth is king. If you believe your company is suffering from a bad reputation, here are 4 tips to reverse it. 

1. Understand Why

Before you can solve a problem, you need to understand what caused it in the first place. There’s several reasons that your company could be suffering from a bad reputation. Whether it’s warranted or not, you need to understand what the complaints are before you can address them.  

Have open and honest conversations with people in your company and your industry about what they’ve heard. You can also track how people are talking about your company online. Higher end social listening tools like MeltWater are out there, but doing a simple search of your company on Google and the major social media platforms works as well. This might not be fun to hear, but it’s integral to the process of building your company’s reputation back up.  

2. Have a Plan

Now that you understand the problem, it’s time to find the best way to handle it. There’s a number of ways build your reputation back up. It all depends on what the problem was in the first place.  

Poor support network for drivers? Consider adding more resources to your operations department to address this, like bringing on a driver liaison. Recruiters not being upfront with drivers about job details? Make continuous transparency a priority throughout the hiring process. Low pay or old equipment? Think through how to improve this to be competitive in the market.   

3. Try Something New

Even if you’ve done everything you can to fix the problem and keep it from happening again, that negative reputation could still linger if people aren’t aware of your changes. Your first step is to address the issues. This can be a statement from a PR representative or high-ranking official with your carrier. 

 One thing to avoid is publishing a statement committing to change, but not giving any concrete details on how this will be done. The important thing here is to not only address the issues and take responsibility, but also to speak on what steps the company is taking to do better going forward.   

A great next step is adding testimonials from current drivers to your online presence. It’s not a secret that drivers are much more likely to trust what other drivers say about a company over what a recruiter says. Show them firsthand how your current drivers feel about working for your carrier and how things have changed. Have drivers address some of the negatives your company was previously known for. If you were known in the industry as having low pay, have a driver talk about how pay is increased and competitive with other carriers.  

4. Continuously Monitor

If you don’t already have an internal complaint system or engagement survey in place, now is the time to do it. This gives employees and customers somewhere to vent any frustration they have in a place that isn’t visible to everyone on the internet. Make sure your carrier is following up with complaints and issues in a timely manner. Otherwise, you’ll be falling into the same hole again. 

Reputations are everything, especially in the trucking industry. It may take time to see a bad company reputation be reversed, but it’s worth the effort if your company wants to bring in talented and experienced drivers.  

Quick Guide to Truck Driver Appreciation

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Quick Guide to Truck Driver Appreciation

Truck driver recognition is a great way to show your drivers they are appreciated. This quick guide helps employers learn about truck driver appreciation and how to make drivers feel valued.

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virtual training
Virtual training has become more popular over the past two years, especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. While it’s a great tool for the flexibility it provides both CDL drivers and trainers, it also presents challenges as well. The biggest challenge typically being how to keep drivers engaged. Whether your company is holding monthly safety training, company policy training, or remote onboarding, these tips will help both you and your drivers get the most out of it. 

1. Schedule a dry run

This is an especially important tip for longer trainings and for new trainers. You may have a great training plan on paper, but you won’t know if something’s not quite working or doesn’t translate well until you start the training, and then it’s too late. To avoid this, consider doing a dry run by yourself or with a co-worker before the actual training. While this won’t be the perfect way to simulate a live training with drivers, it will help you catch possible problems and ways that you can make the presentation better. 

2. Ask for cameras to be on

As everyone over the past year has probably noticed, it’s very easy to nod off or lose focus if the camera is off during meetings and trainings. This is just as true for drivers, who may not be used to doing Zoom meetings and virtual trainings regularly. The connection is simple here.

Like in all virtual settings, if a person’s camera is on, they’re much more likely to stay engaged with the material. While your company may have a policy that cameras don’t have to be on during company meetings, you can offer incentives like being entered into a contest to win a gift card for those who do. 

3. Make expectations known

Another tip is to set your expectations before the training even starts. Ask drivers to please remove any other distractions from the area before the start of the training and to make sure they’re giving you their full attention. While the virtual setting gives you no real way to confirm if they’re doing this, it conveys the message that your training will be more engaging and intensive than a slide-by-slide PowerPoint lecture. You might find it helpful to outline all virtual training expectations in a pre-training email shortly before the event starts. 

4. Make it a discussion, not a lecture

There’s most likely a lot of information you need to go over in your virtual training. While you’ll want to get through all this information in a timely manner, avoid the urge to just recite information to drivers. Studies have shown over and over again that this is not the way people retain information.  

Instead, engage drivers by making your training a two-way street. Make an active effort to ask questions often and wait for feedback from drivers. This encourages engagement and will give you a better understanding of drivers as people as opposed to boxes on a screen. Almost all meeting software have built-in interactions and chat functionality that make it easy to engage with drivers throughout the training. Take some time to go through these during your dry run so that you can implement them during your training.  

5. Break it up

NFI

Use short quizzes and polls to break up the information in your training. This can be done through almost any meeting software like Zoom or Teams. Aside from helping avoid fatigue on both your end and the drivers, this is a great way to see how the class is doing with certain material and if there’s anything you could explain better. 

When it comes to virtual training, there are many different things you can do to make it a more productive experience for you and your drivers. The biggest takeaway here is to make everything you do center around engagement. This is the key to holding a successful virtual training for you and your drivers. 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook

While orientation is a necessary part of the hiring process, it’s probably not something new drivers look forward to. While this is true, there are ways that trucking companies can make their orientations more enjoyable for drivers, that can lead to increased driver retention and morale. Here are 5 different ways to improve your truck driver orientation program. 

1. Allow Drivers to Meet the Team

Instead of drivers coming in, meeting a trainer or two, and then being put on the road, schedule times for higher management and current company drivers to visit your next orientation class. They can share their thoughts and tips with new hires and do a Q&A session as well. This sends the message to your new drivers that they’re an important part of your company, which is extremely important for driver retention efforts.  

Your orientation could also be a great time to kick-off a mentoring program between more experienced drivers and new hires. Drivers appreciate having someone in the company that they can rely on once the driver is on the road.  

2. Personalize the Program

Orientations don’t have to be rigid, point-by-point slideshows that share company policies and safety information. Take the time to personalize your orientation by talking to new drivers about areas of proficiencies at and what they could need help with. This helps you tailor your orientation so that you’re not boring some drivers while overwhelming others.  

Another way to personalize your orientation is by using interactive learning. Administering quizzes and trivia games will keep orientation engaging and add incentive. It’s also a great way to see which drivers are understanding the material and who might need a little extra help. 

3. Make it Unique

Avoid generic training videos to convey information. These can send the message that your company is the same as others, especially if a driver has seen the same video while working for a different carrier. Instead, opt for personalized training videos that feature your company logo and branding

You can also do this by going the extra mile and giving small gifts or even a new hire kit of items drivers can use on the road. This has been shown to be a great way to increase employee retention as it further reiterates to your drivers that you’re excited they’re coming on board.   

4. Offer Multiple Orientation Dates

The hiring landscape for truck drivers is extremely competitive right now. If you don’t act fast during the recruiting process, another carrier will. That’s why aside from making your orientation enjoyable, having it take place in a timely manner is also very important. Drivers don’t want to be told they’ve been hired, but that they need to wait two and a half weeks for orientation. That’s two and a half weeks without pay and the perfect way to have them sign with another carrier in the meantime. 

To combat this, try to offer orientation classes a few times a month at least. Also, paying drivers to attend orientation is all but a must at this point. If your company hasn’t initiated this policy, make it a point of emphasis to start as quickly as possible.  

5. Ask for Driver Feedback

Talk to current drivers who have already been through your orientation, as they’re the best resource you have. Ask them what could make it better, what they wish was covered, and what they think wasn’t necessary or could be done without. Thanks to their unique perspective, you’ll get insights you or your team would have never thought of. Do this often, as it will be your best way to constantly improve your orientation.  

Your company’s driver orientation is a very important part of the hiring process. It’s the first real impression a driver will get of the company they’re driving for. It will also tell them whether they want to leave after a few short months or stay and build a long-term career with your company. Make sure it’s the latter by providing the best orientation experience possible.  

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook