truck driver shortage
Anyone who has been in trucking for even a few years is no stranger to the trucking shortage. This phenomenon has been growing for several years, and despite the unexpected twists of the past year, the truck driver shortage continues. As a single company, there is little you can do to change the overall industry conditions. However, there are ways to combat the trucking shortage in your own fleet.

Overview of the Driver Shortage

The current trucking shortage is a combination of several intersecting factors. First, there are still limited numbers of drivers entering the trucking field. This has been an ongoing trend for several years, and the industry as a whole has struggled to recruit and retain millennials and younger drivers. Second, the FMCSA’s Clearinghouse is in full effect. The Clearinghouse cleaned driver databases and removed tens of thousands of drivers who did not pass the drug and alcohol screening. The majority of these drivers have not taken steps to re-enter trucking. Both the lack of young drivers and the decrease as a result of the Clearinghouse were relatively expected influences. COVID-19 has added several additional challenges. 

When COVID-19 hit the trucking industry, there was a wide range of consequences depending on the company and haul type. For some, demand spiked overnight, and hiring drivers immediately was the biggest challenge. For other companies, business dried up, and they may have laid off drivers to keep the business afloat.

As we move through 2021, there continues to be mismatched supply and demand within different trucking niches.

In addition, drivers who were laid off have likely been collecting unemployment benefits. With the additional stipend provided by many states, some drivers are getting a good payout and are not incentivized to return to their driving jobs. The increased federal aid for unemployment is set to run through September 7, 2021, but many states intend to reduce unemployment benefits sooner. This may help reduce the trucking shortage, but fleets will still be contending with the other ongoing challenges. 

An Inside Look at the Shortage

The combination of factors mentioned above meant that it’s a driver’s market right now. Top drivers have their pick of jobs, and companies must have compelling offerings to attract drivers to their fleet. 

Drive My Way’s CEO, Beth Potratz, has deep expertise in HR and the trucking industry. She shared these insights on the ongoing driver shortage.

Beth Potratz

Beth Potratz, CEO of Drive My Way

“In the industry, there has been a stark decline in drivers searching for jobs, advertisement cost per lead is at an all-time high, and the average cost per hire has increased 41% higher month over month. ​

With local jobs aside, results with Drive My Way are consistent with the trends. Throwing more money at advertising will not fix the problem. Focus on the quality of your offering: pay, home time flexibility, and equipment quality. ​

The critical thing is that with fewer drivers looking for a job, those that connect first will win. It’s vital that you aggressively make a timely connection with drivers that express interest. Other recruiters are trying to reach them as well. Make those that express interest and who have completed a full app a priority.”

There is no single solution to becoming a top recruiting company, but successful hires start with an appealing job offer and a driver-centric culture. Optimize your offerings to bring in quality drivers that are right for your fleet.

How To Combat the Driver Shortage

Improve Your Job Offering

Because demand for drivers is high and supply is low, drivers can be particular and choose from top companies. Attracting drivers has to start with a top offering. At a minimum, your total compensation package – pay, home time, and benefits – should be at or above the industry average for that job type and region. If you offer a significant sign-on bonus, make sure that the rest of your package is also strong. The majority of drivers prefer higher pay to a large initial bonus and may be skeptical if the bonus is too big. Historically, some companies withhold pay in job advertisements to stay competitive with drivers. With demand for drivers as high as it is, that is a luxury that no company can afford. Drivers are looking for the best offer. Bring something valuable to the table, and make sure drivers are clear on your offer. 

Your total compensation package – pay, home time, and benefits – should be at or above the industry average. If you offer a significant sign-on bonus, make sure that the rest of your package is also strong.

In addition to a compelling compensation package, it’s important to clearly communicate the job description. The best job descriptions are specific and transparent. Drivers want to know what they’re getting into, and they don’t want surprises down the road. Make sure the most important details stand out, and use clear, concise language and formatting to convey the information. A well-written job description tells drivers that you are organized and understand their priorities.

Fine Tune Your Recruiting

A good job description may bring drivers in the door, but it’s up to recruiters to keep drivers interested. When a driver expresses interest in a position, it’s important to contact drivers quickly. That may mean changing staff hours to include shifts that are outside of the typical 9AM to 5PM. When demand for drivers is so high, even a few hours can be the difference in making the hire. If you have a top driver who is unsure about the position, put them in touch with a current driver. This demonstrates your trust in your drivers and is a clear commitment to transparency and company culture. If the compensation package is strong, one good conversation may be enough to convince a driver that you are the right fit.

female trucker

If drivers are not responding to your digital advertisements and marketing efforts, expand your candidate pool and evaluate your minimum qualifications. Reach out to underrepresented driver groups such as women, drivers of color, and young drivers. There are many great employees out there who you may be missing because your ads are not in the right places.

Another opportunity to bolster driver interest is through referral programs. Offer incentives (financial or otherwise) to current drivers who bring in new candidates. To incentivize driver retention, offer the referral bonus to your current driver after the new driver has stayed for 90 days or a similar trial period. Expanded marketing efforts and referral programs are a great way to help combat the truck driver shortage. 

Retain Current Drivers

One of the best ways to combat the effects of the trucking shortage in your fleet is to reduce the number of new drivers you need. Retention is just as important as recruiting. Start your retention efforts in the structure of your jobs. For example, if you are planning to give bonuses, reward longevity and performance over time rather than a hiring bonus. In addition, make sure your current drivers feel valued. Appreciation can come as a financial incentive, but you can also use home time, company or truck gear, or recognition to show drivers they matter. 

truck on the roadThe final, but perhaps most important, retention strategy comes from driver input. Drivers have years of valuable experience, and if they stay with your company for a long time, there’s a reason. Find those drivers who have stayed loyal, and ask why they stay. Then, amplify the things you are doing well! Many people focus on eliminating problems to improve retention, but it can be similarly effective to increase positive aspects of the job.

Ultimately, one company won’t resolve an industry-wide truck driver shortage. Instead, do your best to get clear, compelling, and concise job postings in front of the right drivers. Then, respond quickly to top candidates to make the hire. For current drivers, ensure that your HR structure supports driver retention so you can keep the good drivers you already have. 

truck driver incentive program checklist

FREE RESOURCE

Truck Driver Incentive Program Checklist

The best incentive program is the one that’s effective, sustainable, and engaging for drivers. Use this checklist to align your target behavior with rewards that motivate your drivers and create a program with lasting impact.

Get the Checklist

Trucking recruiter Skills to master

Deciding what grade of gas to add to your fuel tank? Easy. Finding quality tanker haulers to transport that gasoline? Much harder. As a trucking recruiter, you’re all too familiar with the challenges of hiring owner operators and company drivers: driver shortages, high turnover rates, and an ever changing recruitment landscape are just some of your daily obstacles. Since you are the first face of your company to interact with drivers, it’s critical to be prepared with the skills that will turn your list of leads into great hires. Here are the top 5 skills that every trucking recruiter should master. 

1. Be Strategically Proactive

It’s a driver’s market. If you want to be a trucking recruiter who successfully reaches quality drivers, it’s on you to be proactive. That said, being proactive should be a strategic plan and not just aggressive outreach. Consider the times and channels that are most likely to be productive for the drivers you seek. Recruiting local or regional routes? Try calling in the evening to avoid busy loading and unloading schedules. Seeking OTR drivers? Make sure there’s a mobile-friendly website for drivers who are looking for jobs while on a driving break. Once you’ve optimized your strategy, continually reach out through multiple channels to engage new leads and reconnect with old leads.

2. Know Your Audience

This might seem obvious, especially to an experienced trucking recruiter, but it couldn’t be more important. The Commercial Carrier Journal found that the overwhelming majority of surveyed drivers cited inadequate pay as a reason fleets are struggling to find drivers. That’s likely not a surprise. Perhaps more striking is that lack of respect and lack of home time are responses two and three for the same question.

If you want to increase the number of quality drivers you hire, you need to know their priorities and address their concerns.

Identify the benefits that are most important to your candidates, and offer those perks whenever possible. Be straightforward about what drivers can expect on the job. Many will find your honesty refreshing and a compelling reason to join your company.

3. Take Advantage of Technology

Gone are the days where a clean, mobile-friendly user interface was a nice, extra touch used by only the most tech-savvy trucking recruiters. According to the 2019 Overdrive Connectivity report produced by Randall-Reilly, 74% of owner operators use a smartphone to access the internet. Over half of those same drivers use a phone more than any other device to access the internet. As for company drivers, 77% use smartphones to access the internet. 65% of company drivers use their smartphones to access the internet more than any other device. With this in mind, don’t just make your recruiting mobile-friendly. Optimize your process with the assumption that most drivers will be recruited first, and possibly exclusively, on a smartphone.

4. Prioritize Your Workload

Coming into a new year or quarter, it is tempting to take on a heavy load, but don’t get caught in the frenzy.

Your hours are limited. Take the time to prioritize your leads based on urgency and fit early on to increase your overall productivity.

Evaluate which candidates are most likely to fit your positions. Are they qualified? Which drivers are really a good match for you? Is your company really a good match for them? Speak with each driver and understand their priorities. Then, be candid if they’re not a good fit. Remember, hiring a bad match increases turnover and leaves a bad impression on drivers. Since time is critical, engage your strongest leads first. You’ll be glad you took time to slow down at the beginning so that you can efficiently recruit the drivers best suited for your fleet.

5. Build Relationships, not Just a Sales Funnel

Even when time is of the essence, you can’t afford not to get to know your potential drivers.

As a trucking recruiter, you may feel like there isn’t time to build relationships, but it’s time well spent. 

Taking the time to build relationships and treat drivers like people, not leads might reveal key information that will improve position fit. Unsurprisingly, better fit ultimately leads to improved driver retention. Most recruiters know that drivers need to be qualified for particular jobs, but it goes beyond just having the right certifications. As you know, experienced drivers have the opportunity to choose jobs that meet their lifestyle and goals. Identify what those are and find ways to meet them. Drivers who are satisfied with their time at home, model of truck, and who feel they can meet their goals with your company will perform better and stay longer. If you want to improve your sales funnel, taking the time to build relationships with potential drivers is time you can’t afford to not spend.

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

female truck drivers

Whether you like it or not, trucking is changing. The industry is short about 60,000 drivers, which could double in 10 years as the current generation of truckers retire. The ongoing driver shortage is forcing fleets to think outside the box and attract non-traditional candidates into the driver pool. Historically, truck drivers have been mostly men, but more women have been joining in the industry over the last decade. Attracting “new blood” into a career into trucking won’t be the same as age-old hiring and retention methods, as female truck drivers have different priorities and needs. Here are four ways to appeal to female truck drivers and embed them into your fleet.

Importance of Appealing to Female Drivers

Despite comprising 47% of the population, women hold only about 6% of truck driving jobs. This means there is a massive pool of untapped potential in the workforce which could address the driver shortage.

The data suggest that women alone could fix the driver shortage if those numbers increased

This issue has been so prevalent in transportation and logistics circles, that it was even featured on NPR earlier this year. Having a fleet with female drivers has plenty of benefits. According to Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women in Trucking, women tend to stay with fleets longer, engage in less risky driving, and value team collaboration and goal achievement.

So how could carriers appeal to female truck drivers? First, carriers need to recognize that women drivers will have concerns which are slightly different from male drivers. Since trucking has been a male-dominated profession for so long, many of the policies, rules, and norms have developed accordingly. Making trucking a more appealing profession for women means questioning why things have always been a certain way and demonstrating a willingness to change them when needed. One of the biggest differences between male and female drivers is their reason for turnover. While men cite home time as the top reason, women cite a few others. Women were most concerned about the quality of equipment, the issue of safety, and poor relationships with coworkers. Let’s see how carriers can address these one at a time.

Equipment

The concern over equipment is two-fold. First, consider the ergonomics of the cab. Truck cabs are generally built to fit the physical size of a larger man. It can be difficult for some women to reach the controls or get the seats adjusted into a comfortable position while keeping their feet on the pedals. The same could actually be said for a male of smaller stature.

How well the truck cab will fit an average female physique will impact whether women drivers will feel comfortable on the job

Second, there’s the issue of truck maintenance. Women drivers say they want a piece of equipment that they can count on, so that they don’t break down on the side of the road. Carriers can take many steps to address these problems. Apart from investing in newer and better equipment, carriers can also purchase cabin accessories, or make mechanical adjustments in the cabin to better accommodate female drivers. Carriers can also either provide simple mechanical training to female drivers or offer that company mechanics will always walk them through any troubleshooting in the form of real-time roadside assistance.

Safety

Another reason which female truck drivers cite for leaving a carrier is that of safety, whether that be on the road or in the truck itself. Research shows that women tend to be safer truck drivers who abide by the speed limits and get into fewer accidents. Meanwhile, technology is making trucks safer and easier to drive, which is good news for any new driver. Some new trucks don’t require shifting, and on-board systems watch the lanes and even apply the brakes automatically. While veteran drivers might be resistant to such technology, women embrace it.

The result is a safer and more comfortable driver behind the wheel.

A second issue of safety is one that women of all ages and backgrounds are aware of. Safety from physical harm or the threat of sexual violence is important for all women but affects female truck drivers in unique ways. A truck driver’s lifestyle is in constant flux since they are always on the road. Female truck drivers may find themselves in unsafe or uncomfortable situations at truck stops, or shipper/receiver locations. People may react skeptically or negatively to solo female drivers and voice this in an aggressive manner. Women in Trucking has been working with several truck stops to make them more friendly to women drivers. Carriers can also aid in this effort, by pointing out which truck stops are safest, and which should be avoided.

Pro-Woman Culture

Women also tend to leave trucking for reasons of work relationships. Specifically, female drivers stay longer if they have a good relationship with their dispatcher, but will leave quicker if that becomes difficult. Dispatchers and fleet managers are the people that drivers interact with most so it follows that women would cite them. It’s not hard to imagine that female drivers may not be fully accepted into the trucking culture and lifestyle. Similar difficulties in relationships may arise with others such as shippers, receivers, fellow drivers, and even recruiters. The problem is a workplace culture that hasn’t been pro-woman enough in the past and is suddenly facing new changes.

The good news is that carriers can lead the way in changing the culture, improving workplace relationships, and making women feel more accepted

Pairing female recruits with other women drivers during training creates a comfort level that is helpful to integrate them into the job. Similarly, carriers can create a women’s driver social group for female drivers to share advice and advocate for their concerns. Companies can also design pro-woman driver awareness campaigns to emphasize the importance of women to dispatchers, male-drivers, and other co-workers. Small steps like these are not just a good marketing move for carriers, but also signal to the industry and other women that you’re serious about hiring more female truck drivers, changing the culture, and making women feel welcome in trucking.

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

There’s a multitude of choices out there for CDL drivers when it comes to searching for a new truck driving job. Jobs are being advertised every day in truck stops and magazines. Add to that the barrage of emails, text messages, and phone calls drivers get daily, the messaging can become overwhelming. And definitely confusing.

An employer’s goal should be to get their job posting in front of drivers in a marketplace once the driver is ready to receive it, and where the driver is comfortable giving out their personal information to connect. Truck drivers should trust that the job board will help find the best matches for the specific type of job they want. But that doesn’t always happen. Here are 4 pitfalls to know before using another truck driver job board website.

1. Quantity Over Quality

Many job boards pride themselves on the premise of “quantity over quality”. It’s all about the volume of leads. Carriers want to find pools of available drivers to fill their open jobs. But does more always mean better?

Some job boards claim to have thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even a million+ drivers. But if all of those “leads” don’t have anything to do with the types of jobs you’re seeking to fill, what difference does it make?

You’re going to still need to do a lot of work to sift through that pile of names to try and find someone who fits your needs. Focusing on quality over quantity has many benefits. Although the approach requires having a more methodical recruitment system, it can end up saving you time, money, and energy in the long-run.

2. Driver Privacy / Information Security

Hiring managers want more than just a name and phone number to start a conversation with a prospective driver. A completed DOT application is probably your ideal place to start. However, for drivers to feel comfortable providing more than some basic personal data, those drivers need to trust that their information is safe and secure and not going to be sent out or sold without their knowledge.

Job boards are notorious for sharing collected information with third-parties.

You should make sure you’re listing your jobs with reputable services so that drivers are willing to share more information with you prior to connecting with them. This helps ensure your search for a candidate starts off on the right foot.

3. Driver-Focused

Truck driver job boards often don’t have the drivers’ needs first. If the focus isn’t about what’s in it for the driver, the job postings on those boards might not get much traction if they don’t grab the driver’s attention and keep it.

Driver-centric recruiting techniques result in the most fruitful leads. When searching for job boards, be sure that they fit the drivers needs with the way they work and the way that they interact with them. Being mobile friendly, easy to use, and most importantly, speaking to drivers in a way they want to be spoken to, are things that make drivers feel like a particular truck driver job board is a good for them.

4. Qualified Matches

Truck drivers only decide to go looking for a new job when they no longer feel that their current job is meeting their needs. Those needs might be financial, driving preferences, work / life balance considerations, time away from home, or benefits related.

No matter what the reason, any good truck driver job board should know what the driver is looking for, as well as what the carrier needs are in order to produce a good match. A match that is qualified on each side’s preferences.

If you take a little bit more time up-front to be clear on what you’re looking for and what type of company the job is for, you can find yourself further down the hiring path faster, with the perfect candidate for your next hire.

If you’ve already spent too much time searching for truck driver job boards that you hope will find you great candidates to hire, we invite you to try something different and register with Drive My Way. We pride ourselves in standing out in the market, focusing on matching you with the right driver for your job instead of providing you with a giant list of “leads” that waste your time. If you’re ready to try something different and recruit for retention, schedule a demo of our platform today.

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

best trucking companies to work for

Truck drivers are constantly bombarded with information by companies about why they are great to work for. They also hear about companies through their reputation with other drivers. Both seasoned drivers and rookies want to hear about the best truck driving companies to work for. The top companies have some of the best salaries and compensation, benefits, and other perks. But more importantly, they also prioritize home time, have a strong company culture, and are known for respecting their drivers.

Ultimately, the best truck driving companies to work for are the ones that suit the individual needs of drivers, including that of region, type of runs and hauls. Nevertheless, there are some companies that consistently rank high, regardless of preferences. Here are 6 of the best truck driving companies to work for in 2019, in no particular order.

Walmart Trucking

Walmart has their own private fleet and pay their drivers extremely well. The average full-time driver with Walmart earns about $86,000 per year and works 5.5 days a week. Walmart’s benefits include medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, and life insurance. Drivers also have the opportunity to enroll in a 401(k) plan and a stock purchase plan. Since Walmart is looking to hire the best of the best, drivers need considerable experience before Walmart will consider hiring them. Apart from a great compensation package, the company makes sure drivers are home once a week and get reset hours off the road. They pay for activity, mileage, and training, and drivers won’t have to load and unload freight. Walmart’s private fleet has one of the lowest turnover rates in the country and for good reason.

Old Dominion Freight

Old Dominion has been around for over 85 years is the official freight carrier of Major League Baseball (MLB). They have club partnerships with many of the MLB teams, and serve the West Region, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Gulf Region of the country. Old Dominion consistently gets high ratings from drivers and Glassdoor. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for long-haul drivers is $82,354 per year. Old Dominion offers medical, dental, vision, and life insurance. In addition to a 401(k) plan, drivers have the option to enroll in employee wellness programs and employee assistance programs. The company has been ranked best LTL National Carrier in 2017 (it’s 8th consecutive year) and received the US EPA 2017 SmartWay Excellence Award (it’s 3rd consecutive year). Paid time off includes both vacation days, sick/personal time, and an addition paid “birthday holiday”.

NFI

NFI IndustriesNFI is a fully integrated supply chain solutions provider headquartered in Camden, NJ. At NFI, truck drivers benefit from dedicated, local, and regional routes to give a variety of home time options with predictable schedules, consistent weekly pay, and career pathing opportunities. Drivers become part of a team that helps move goods the world relies on every day. NFI values family, integrity, safety, customer, teamwork, and social responsibility.

Ward Trucking

Ward Transport and Logistics cover the mid-Atlantic region and cover through Truckload, Flatbed, Reefer, Expedited, and Containers. They offer Less than Truckload (LTL), Truckload (TL), Logistics (3PL), and Brokerage services throughout the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Guam. According to Glassdoor, average salary for delivery drivers is $32,078 per year, but for truck drivers is $50,129. Ward will offer medical insurance for eligible employees and dependents with premiums discounts based on years of service with Ward. Dental and vision plans, along with flexible spending accounts are also available for eligible employees and dependents. Ward also boasts an employee wellness program, employee assistance program with professional counselors, and a personal health partners (PHP) program to assist with medical questions, claims issues, and treatment options. The company will cover paid holidays and up to five weeks of vacation per year.

Melton Trucking

Driver development and support for students are hallmarks of Melton Trucking. The company welcomes recent CDL school graduates and drivers who have not had any over-the-road driving experience. Each new driver takes part in the Driver Development Team to transition into the job and lifestyle. Melton also offers a Pre-Hire and Tuition Reimbursement Program for those who don’t yet have a CDL-A license to transition into a CDL certification program.

Melton offers competitive compensation. There is a $1500 sign-on bonus and referral bonuses ranging from $250-$1000. Melton will offer performance incentive bonuses as well, including for tarp, over-sized loads, layovers, and clean DOT inspections. According to Glassdoor, average salary is $52,595 per year for flatbed drivers, and $53,573 per year for OTR truck drivers. In addition to medical, dental, vision, and short-term disability insurance, Melton offers a 401(k) plan and employee assistance program. The company seems to value driver preferences as there is a pet and rider program and profit-sharing programs. Melton also guarantees that all employees will be at home on Christmas Day in addition to 6 holidays a year, and 1-3 weeks of vacation.

Watkins & Shepard Trucking

Watkins & Shepard (now a subsidiary of Schneider) offers many kinds of trucking including over-the-road (OTR), Team Driving, Regional, Intermodal, Tanker, LTL, and Straight Truck. They mostly transport home furnishings and over-dimensional goods including products from overseas. OTR drivers for Watkins & Shepard, can expect about an average of 600 miles per haul. Regional drivers on the other hand will stay close to home and have more consistent routes and freight. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for truck drivers is $61,956 per year. Benefits include medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, as well as accident insurance. After five years of service to Schneider, driver associates are admitted into the Advantage Club which allows attending sports events like NFL games or NASCAR races. The company prioritizes health and safety, boasting a CDL defender plan and family legal plan as well as performance bonuses based on safety.

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.

Get the Ebook

truck driver advertising

High turnover and the enduring truck driver shortage make your fleet’s recruitment efforts of supreme importance. Advertising jobs to drivers is one of the first steps in strong recruitment. If drivers don’t see your ads, there is no chance of them applying to your jobs. Driver recruitment advertising is completely different than it was about 10 years ago. As always, advertising means you should meet drivers where they are and speak their language. If you’re not taking advantage of changing trends and best practices, you’re risking losing the best drivers to rival carriers. Here are 6 things wrong with your truck driver advertising you can improve on.

1. Not Including Driver Testimonials

You’ve boasted about your carrier’s benefits and perks in every possible advertising channel, but still aren’t getting many leads. Meanwhile, a competitor spends less on advertising but has stronger recruiting. What’s going on here? Most likely, your company’s reputation among driver peers is the explanation.

Think about it from a driver’s perspective. Who are they more likely to believe: other drivers or the company itself?

Peer recommendation is one of the strongest factors that can influence human behavior. That’s why your truck driver advertising should consistently include driver testimonials. These could be as simple as gathering quotes about driver experience by your current drivers. Or it can be as ambitious as compiling a short video of your drivers speaking freely on what they enjoy about the job. Peer recommendation can build more trust for your company, so it should be an important component of your truck driver advertising.

2. Using Only Print Media for Advertising

It’s no breaking news that print media is on the decline. While ads in newspapers and magazines may have been the primary advertising channel a decade or two ago, the readership has gone down significantly. Your advertising strategy should reflect this: print shouldn’t be your only form of recruitment. While print media isn’t entirely dead, digital is definitely king now. Adjust your advertising budget and resources accordingly, and don’t put all your eggs in the print media basket. Advertising diversification is important, so make sure you’re exploring all other avenues of advertising potential.

3. Heavy Information Dumping

You’ve seen these ads everywhere: a long, bulleted list of all the job details and driver benefits clogging up the same ad space. You may have been guilty of it yourself. The more information available for prospective hires, the better, right? Think again. No one enjoys having to sift through detailed information, especially if they’re running short on time.

Advertising is about attention: if you capture a driver’s attention, they’ll visit your website or contact you to find more job details.

Additionally, people have become somewhat immune to advertising given the sheer number of ads we see on a daily basis. To have a stronger impact on your audience, take the opposite approach: keep the information light and simple. Lead the advertisement with the top three reasons why a driver should choose you and leave aside the details. Or know what makes you different from the competitors and promote that.

4. Creating Identical Digital Advertising and Print Advertising

So, we talked about the decline in print media, which means you should transplant those same ads to the digital world, right? Try again. Digital and social media are significantly different in type from print media, and your advertising should reflect that. You wouldn’t run the same ad on print and radio, would you? If you’re not capturing the unique advantages of the digital sphere, you run the risk of wasting advertising money on inefficient ads. Make sure your ads are tailored to the digital channel being used, whether its newsletters, banner ads, or social media. Social media channels are vastly different from each other. Use Instagram for memes and cool images, not long videos. Use YouTube for longer videos with driver testimonials, or in-depth explorations of trucking life on the road. Remember that drivers primarily use Facebook, so that should be your main job posting channel.

5. Not Taking Advantage of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a whole different ballgame than previous forms of advertising.

Ideally, you’re using the best and latest forms of digital marketing to enhance your truck driver advertising.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising method that directs online traffic to your recruitment website. Through pay-per-click you can guide your specific target audience to your recruitment site so that it doesn’t get lost in the depths of the Internet. Look into using Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or Yahoo Advertising for your PPC campaigns. Remarketing is another tool you can use to bring traffic back to your site even after they’ve already left. It allows you to communicate your message to drivers who may have visited your website once, but not filled an application. Remarketing serves as a nudge to drivers, reinforcing impressions that have been made, so that are reminded to return and consider applying to your jobs.

6. Not Focusing on Driver-Centric Content

Any truck driver advertising campaign needs to focus on the basics- including highlights of job requirements, description, and benefits. But often advertising makes these the focus instead of thinking of the complete driver experience. Drivers know what to expect about job details or can look them up later. What they are interested in is finding a job where they’ll be appreciated, and which aligns with their values.

Consider launching an ad campaign which focuses entirely on company culture.

What’s the pet policy or passenger policy like? How comfortable and new is the equipment? How much does the company invest in safety and maintenance? What do current drivers like about the company? Are there opportunities for professional growth? There are endless possibilities of what kind of content to include in these ads. The important part is that it is focusing on the driver’s values and priorities and indicates that the carrier will be a good match given those values.

Truck driver advertising has evolved rapidly over the last few decades. While print and radio advertising are still important, digital and social media are now paramount. Keeping these trends in mind is important but having strong driver-centric content is even more important. Avoid these six things wrong with your truck driver advertising, and your recruitment and retention efforts will be more successful.

The Quick Guide to Employee Value Proposition

FREE QUICK GUIDE

Employee Value Proposition

This free guide helps you create your employee value proposition and also effectively communicate it to drivers.

Get the Guide

thank-you

One of the biggest complaints from truck drivers is not about salary or benefits, but rather that they don’t feel appreciated by their fleets. Drivers want to feel like an integral part of the team, not just another number or a cog in the machine. National Truck Driver Appreciation Week in September is a great time to set aside and show drivers your appreciation, but it doesn’t have to stop there.

Driver appreciation can and should be a year-round activity. After all, appreciation is a key component of driver retention. So whether you’re a recruiter, dispatcher, fleet manager, or executive, take some time to show your drivers how much you and your company value them. Here are seven truck driver appreciation ideas you can use anytime.

1. Use Social Media

One of the simplest ways to show driver appreciation is by shout-outs on social media. Many fleets engage in these already and highlight different drivers individually. Make yours more meaningful by making the social media posts personalized to each driver. You can include the reasons why you think this driver is unique and special and has made an impact on the job and the company. Testimonials from other drivers and company leadership about their work will make the posts more unique. Photos are a must, but if you want to go the extra mile put together a quick one-minute video of gratitude.

2. Gift Giving

Gifts for truck drivers seem like an obvious choice to show appreciation but be careful as these can go horribly wrong. If you choose generic gifts or don’t put much thought or meaning behind the gift it can end up backfiring.

Just like Christmas gifts to extended family, the trick is to make each gift personalized to each driver.

Something that will help the everyday lives of truck drivers will also help them feel valued. For example, some drivers may be passionate about healthy eating options, so consider a crockpot or recipe book. Others may be interested in the latest tech, so Bluetooth headsets or XM radio would be good options. Gift cards are okay but find out what the driver’s favorite restaurants or stores are first.

3. Truck Servicing

Maintaining and cleaning the equipment is an essential part of the job for drivers. Arrange to wash windows or tires or find other simple ways to clean and service the trucks before the drivers can get to it. Leave a friendly note of your gratitude to surprise them. Even gift cards for truck servicing or cleaning will be appreciated. Don’t forget that a clean and well-maintained truck is a great marketing tool, and thus is a benefit to both driver and company. Drivers will also appreciate anything you can do to make sure the receiving company will be unloading the truck so that they don’t have to.

4. Thank You Notes

Sometimes the simplest ways of showing gratitude are the most effective. Hand-written thank you notes are a time-honored tradition of showing thanks all around the world. Make sure to make your notes personalized to each driver, highlighting their strengths and what makes them such a valuable part of the company. Having it signed by multiple people increases the impact. Ideally, a note like this could come directly from company leadership. Notes on special occasions like birthdays or workplace anniversaries are a must, but a surprise note out of nowhere is even more special.

If you want to go the extra mile, consider writing one note for the driver and a separate note to send to their families.

They are usually the ones behind the scenes supporting the drivers and sacrificing home time for the job, so a note to them will be much appreciated.

5. Treat Lunch

Another simple way to show your appreciation for drivers is to just cover a meal for them. Taking them out personally to lunch when they are in town will be something they will look forward to and boast about. Find out what some of their favorite restaurants are and let them know it is covered by the company. For greater impact, you can have company leadership cook and serve a meal for many drivers together all at once. Inquiring about favorite dishes or bringing your own homemade recipes adds a special touch. If you’re unable to schedule something to treat a driver to lunch, arrange for packed lunches for drivers to take on the road with them.

6. Giveaways

While the occasional small gift will be much appreciated, you can create some buzz and excitement about giveaways that fosters more engagement. This works best for larger and more expensive gifts. Usually, giveaways will be used for special events or occasions such as National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. That said, you can pleasantly surprise drivers by engaging in this at any time during the year. Drivers can enter into drawings to win prizes covered by the company, such as new tech or gadgets. Make sure to highlight the winners and encourage more people to enter the drawing next time. Giveaways can be a popular way to build some driver engagement.

7. Solicit Feedback and Send Encouragement

Drivers want to feel part of the team and that means listening to their feedback and acting on it. Nothing will make a driver feel more engaged in the company than seeing their suggestion implemented. Ask them to propose ideas for potential solutions to challenges faced on the job, and the appreciation will take care of itself.

Making feedback and encouragement a two-way dialogue will boost engagement and show your gratitude to drivers.

Inform your company’s leadership about accomplishments or efforts by individual drivers and copy the drivers on email. Texting or emailing drivers every once in a while also keeps morale high. Best of all is encouragement and appreciation which is publicly viewed and recognized.

As you may have noticed, most of these appreciation ideas are not objects or things. While gifts and tangible objects are nice, most people place greater value on more abstract acts of gratitude. Showing appreciation doesn’t have to be time or cost extensive and can be done at any time. Acts of appreciation should focus on showing drivers that you respect them and their contributions to the fleet. Showing truck driver appreciation establishes trust and respect and builds loyalty to your company.

Quick Guide to Truck Driver Appreciation

FREE RESOURCE

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.

Get the Guide

driver engagement survey

Employee surveys are becoming a popular and strong way to measure the engagement and satisfaction with the job. A driver engagement survey can help employees understand performance and retention. Collecting data directly from employees also allows drivers to better communicate their goals and motivations.

We surveyed our driver community on Facebook, and the majority of poll participants unfortunately reported that they don’t feel valued by their current employer. With the driver shortage more pertinent than ever, if employers don’t address this issue with their drivers, they risk quickly losing them to their competition.

Different aspects of a trucking job will be important to different drivers. Some drivers may prefer more home-time and are willing to be paid less. Other drivers may prefer to work longer hours if it’s reflected in their salary. Companies need to understand what makes each of their drivers feel valued and act accordingly to ensure they are meeting their drivers’ needs. When conducting your next driver engagement survey, be sure to cover these 6 components.

1. Salary and Compensation

By far, the number one motivator of work performance for drivers will be the bottom line. The average truck driver salary is around $41,000 per year. This figure depends on factors such as years of experience, type of run, etc.

You’ll want to ask your drivers how satisfied they are with their current level of pay and if they feel they are on track for bonuses and promotions.

Drivers will be concerned about fairness. If perceived fairness by the employer isn’t there, drivers will quickly jump ship.

2. Home Time

Home-time is a major factor drivers consider when evaluating job satisfaction. Drivers with families will particularly want to spend more time at home if possible. Some drivers wouldn’t mind more time on the road if the company allows for partners to travel on the road with them.

Drivers will have different preferences which may change over time as their family situation may change.

Make sure to delicately ask about this topic in the survey and gauge how much time drivers are currently spending at home, and how much they would like to. This may impact the run they are currently completing for your organization.

3. Relationship with Dispatcher

The main point of contact that most drivers have with the company is their dispatcher. If a driver’s relationship with their dispatcher is poor, there will be plenty of room for misunderstanding between them.

When drivers face unexpected road conditions, weather, or vehicle issues, they will want to relay the information to dispatch.

If dispatchers have not cultivated a good relationship with the driver, they will be more likely to not share the information and deal with it alone. This could mean unexpected scheduling delays. Avoid this issue by asking drivers in a driver engagement survey if they are happy about how dispatch is treating them and what management can do to improve the relationship.

4. Fleet Amenities

Drivers spend an average of 70 hours a week on the road. This means the truck itself is home for an extended period of time. Amenities ensure that the drivers can feel as comfortable and secure as possible, even though they are living and working in a truck. In addition to investing in the latest amenities for trucks, employers can ask drivers about which amenities are important to them.

It would be a waste to invest thousands of dollars on a feature which most drivers are indifferent towards.

Ask drivers which amenities they are happy with and which additional ones they’d like to have. Including a rating scale in the survey would help. You may be surprised how many amenities drivers may not care much about, and which ones they do care about.

5. Benefits Packages

Along with salary, benefits packages are a strong determinant of job satisfaction. Health insurance, vision and dental packages are the norm, but what else could companies be offering their drivers to differentiate from competitors?

Ask drivers about their current insurance packages, and how satisfied they are with them. Which other features and options would they like to have in those packages?

Some companies automatically enroll employees in retirement plans, while others ask drivers for their preferences. Some drivers may not want to choose and wouldn’t mind their employers choosing for them. Other drivers would rather have their spouse or partners choose and offload the decision to them. Asking drivers about how and why they’d like to make those decisions, and working around their preferences, will increase overall satisfaction with the process.

6. Company Culture and Values

This may be one of the most overlooked important factors in driver job satisfaction. In addition to the dispatchers, drivers will be in contact with dozens of other company representatives. How well are those individuals treating the drivers?

One of the most common complaints drivers have is that they are not felt respected. While top management of the company may strive for certain values, this may not percolate throughout the organization.

Each employee must implement and realize a company’s culture, otherwise they just become words and not actions. In a recent Drive My Way survey of drivers, the majority of recipients responded that they do not feel valued. Ask your drivers how valued they feel and how management can ensure that everyone in the organization is treating drivers with respect. Remember that if drivers don’t feel valued, they wouldn’t recommend that company to others.

There are a dozen other questions one could ask in a driver survey, but here are some of the basics. Other surveys can also gauge a driver’s sense of meaning, autonomy, and purpose. First though, ask questions about basic driver preferences to get a rough sketch of satisfaction and potential changes.

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.

Get the Ebook

truck driver stats

“Know your audience” is one of the key mantras of the business world now, regardless of which industry or market one is in. Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the transportation industry. They literally connect the industry’s different players together through the mobile nature of their workers.

Knowing more about the average truck driver and their work and lifestyle can help employers recruit and retain workers. It will also help them connect and empathize with drivers on a personal level and foster a more positive work environment. A positive relationship between management and drivers feels good, but also leads to more productivity, motivation, and loyalty from drivers. Here are 7 truck driver stats every employer needs to know.

1. There are 3.5 million truck drivers in the US.

Even though this is a very large industry and workforce, there is a considerable driver shortage. Out of these, only about 1.6 million are heavy-duty tractor trailer drivers. To complicate matters, driver turnover is significantly high. Treat your drivers well and remember that the labor is not easily replaceable.

Only about 6% of all truck drivers are women (about 200,000), although this number is on the rise.

This remains a largely untapped market for potential drivers and is a contributor to the driver shortage.

 2. The average truck driver age is 49.

Knowing the demographic and social profile of drivers will help you connect with their interests, values, and lifestyle.

The average truck driver is middle-aged and been through plenty of other jobs and work experience. Treat them with respect like mature professionals, not rookies.

The average driver is also most likely married or has been married in the past. They most likely have children. Family time is an important factor that drivers consider when deciding who to work for.

 3. The average driver workweek is 70 hours in an 8-day period.

This should give some idea of how taxing the driver work schedule is. Seventy hours is much higher than the 44-hour workweek of the average American.

Additionally, the average driver works 8 days before taking a day off. This means an average of eight days without seeing family, unless there are special benefits with companies offer.

Providing a more appealing working schedule package will help differentiate your company from the rest of the crowd.

4. The average number of miles logged by a driver in a single year is 100,000 miles.

This is another staggering example of truck driver stats that you need to know. Miles logged paints a picture of how much time a driver spends on the road in just one year. Being behind the wheel for such a long time has implications for driver lifestyle and health.

Investing in cabin amenities for drivers will go a long way in appealing to their needs in the truck itself.

While not everything can be done behind the wheel, employers can make sure drivers are comfortable with the latest amenities such as ergonomic seating and satellite radio.

5. The average yearly earnings by a driver is $41,000.

This isn’t a very significant number for the tremendous amount of labor put in by truck drivers. There are constant pressures on employers to cut operating costs in the different aspects of the business. Too often, the hit is taken on labor itself. By creating efficiencies in other areas of the business, or cutting costs in other ways, employers can attempt to raise the salary offering for drivers.

Offering better compensation for drivers will significantly attract them to your company more than the competition.

Due to the driver shortage, drivers will have no hesitation going to another company for work if they feel like they are not being compensated as well as they deserve.

6. The projected employment growth for tractor-trailer drivers from 2016-2026 is 6%.

The truck driver stats on job outlook over the next 10 years is comparable to most other occupations. However, it remains to be seen if this will cover the increase in the demand for goods transported over the roads.

It is likely that the driver shortage will remain an industry factor for a considerable period of time.

Basically, the growth in drivers may not be higher than the growth in the number of jobs, so make sure you’re doing all you can to attract and retain drivers.

7. The number of nights away from home for the average driver is 240 nights.

That’s almost 2/3 of the year away from home. Considering the age and demographic profile of truck drivers, most of them likely have a family they’d like to spend time with.

Employers can’t change the intrinsic nature of the job, which is that drivers will be on the road and away from home. They can however, offer benefits packages which address the drivers specific home life and schedule needs.

Many companies now offer extended time-off, flexible work schedules, or even offer to have couples travel on the road together. Getting to know your driver’s schedule needs will help you craft a package tailored to their needs and retain them for longer.

driver happiness and retention survey

FREE SURVEY REPORT

Driver Happiness & Retention Survey

Are drivers happy at work? What makes them happy? Drive My Way surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their careers and life.

Get the Results

recruit-truck-drivers

Given the shortage of drivers currently facing the truck industry, there’s a constant need to keep recruiting truck drivers. Hiring, training, and retaining drivers over the long-term is crucially important. At the end of the day, it all begins with recruitment of the right candidates.

If you can’t attract talent and recruit them into the organization, you won’t be able to even think about retaining them to meet the demands of the market. These four tips will help you improve truck driver recruiting.

1. Make your Marketing Driver-centric

Remember that drivers are going to find information about prospective companies and fleets on the regular marketing channels. So, good recruitment actually begins with good marketing presence and carefully curated content.

What kinds of content currently exists on the company website and Facebook page? If it is only information about how successful the company is, it won’t be of much use to a prospective employee. Ideally, much of your content is also driver-centric—that is, it details what kinds of benefits the drivers can get from that company.

Ultimately, a driver wants to know that the company will treat their drivers with care and provide the benefits they are looking for.

Highlight any wellness programs and culture initiatives that differentiate your company from the rest of the competition. Clearly provide information on schedules, work-life balance, fleet amenities and the rest.

The best marketing also includes testimonials from current drivers who have been satisfied with the experience so far. When designing the content, remember the drivers will always ask, “what can they do for me?” Making your marketing driver-centric will ensure that you provide an excellent answer to that question and will form a strong impression in their minds

2. Target the Right Audience

Before you start moving prospective drivers through the recruiting pipeline, you must make sure you’ve selected the right pool of candidates for the job.

Many driving fleets will have very specific needs and requirements that not all candidates would be ideal for. Targeting the precise segment of candidates can make the process more efficient and effective.

With the aid of databases, you can select drivers based on driver type, years of experience, haul experience, geographical location, or other factors. Focusing on any one of these particular segments ahead of time will save you time and energy as a recruiter. It also increases overall effectiveness of converted drivers. Not optimizing this part of the process means you’ll spend potentially hours chasing leads which were never well-suited for that particular fleet or job.

If you don’t have data on prospective drivers, Drive My Way can help you target the specific segment of drivers needed for your particular situation.

3. Use the Latest Digital Recruiting Methods

Use the latest and smartest, strategies to attract and recruit the talent you’re looking for. Social media is growing as a tool and drivers use these platforms to research companies, read comments, and evaluate employers. When viewers like, follow, share, or comment on your content, it can increase the audience exponentially.

Making sure you’re advertising job postings on social media isn’t enough. Post engaging content on your platforms which drivers will want to view. In addition, search engine optimization of your content will ensure that your website is receiving as much traffic as possible.

Use software such as Google Analytics or Google Keyword Planner to optimize your posts for trending phrases and words. Since drivers are on the road often, they’ll use their mobile devices instead of laptops to search for job leads.

Making the application process simple and easy will go a long way toward removing recruiting bottlenecks. Make sure that the applications are short and mobile-friendly.

Drivers will usually not have enough time to fill out long applications in one sitting. So make a shorter version with only basic information required, with the option to complete the remaining later.

Digital tools for recruitment and advertising are constantly improving, so keep and eye out for the latest and use your judgment on whether it would be useful.

4. Re-engage Old Leads

One unique challenge in the trucking industry is the unusually high turnover rate for drivers. This presents a difficulty for recruiters which isn’t faced in most other industries or sectors of the economy.

By re-engaging old leads and cold leads, recruiters can continually bring people into the pipeline even if they had dropped out before.

Many prospective drivers who were previously unavailable or chose to drive for a different fleet may be available soon. Leads and prospects that have gone cold or did not convert into driver status should not be forgotten. Instead, keep them in mind for the future.

While you don’t want to constantly pester them as to their status, you do want to make sure you follow up from time to time. Use drip marketing or engaging content on blogs, social media, or newsletters to stay connected with them and keep them in your radar. This leads to your fleet being fresh in their mind, and on their radar, when they’re considering a new employer.

While recruitment and HR management in the trucking industry presents unique difficulties, it also provides some opportunities through these tools and tricks. Master these four tips and recruiting truck drivers for your company will become less daunting.

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