truck driving jobs for veterans

Even amid the roller coaster of supply and demand for many trucking companies in 2020, the truck driver shortage remains a constant. The factors underlying the shortageexperienced drivers retiring and insufficient new drivers entering the candidate poolare unlikely to change in Q4 of 2020 and into the new year. If the driver shortage is affecting your company, continue to reach out to untapped candidate demographics. Supporting efforts to promote truck driving jobs for veterans in your company can introduce a tremendous, underrecruited group of drivers. If veterans seem like an unlikely candidate pool, consider these five advantages of hiring veterans to your fleet. 

1. Hire for Experience

Many military personnel have credentials or experience that are directly applicable to CDL driving. Some servicemen and women drove large trucks as part of their regular duties. These drivers are essentially coming to your fleet with several years of experience already! In addition, military troops are frequently hauling hazardous materials. While these drivers will still need to earn their official HazMat endorsement, they are already familiar with many of the safety and skill requirements. Similarly, all truck driving jobs for veterans still require a CDL license, but for many service members, their experience will make the professional transition easy. 

2. Recognize the Value of Soft Skills

Veterans bring grit, self-discipline, dependability, and leadership to their jobs. Military personnel are specifically trained to be mission-focused and have a high level of situational awareness. As an employer, that means you can count on them to prioritize the success of the job and find a way to accomplish their route and overcome any obstacles. In addition, veterans tend to be highly attuned to their environment. 

Situational awareness can help drivers assess challenging situations quickly and efficiently while under pressure.

Similarly, veterans bring valuable mental stamina to their jobs. They specifically receive training to manage high levels of stress. As a result, many are able to perform well in chaotic or confusing situations that might leave others overwhelmed or indecisive. 

3. Fill Demand with Supply

Despite their wealth of skills, military veterans are not heavily represented in truck driving jobs. A few companies are industry leaders and specifically work to increase their number of available truck driving jobs for veterans. Perhaps more importantly, veterans are a largely unexplored candidate pool. Some veterans may already have their CDL, but others may not realize that they already have the skill set to earn their CDL license. Consider forming partnerships or direct recruitment channels with veterans with trucking experience.  It is a great way to recruit quality drivers who other companies may shortsightedly overlook.

4. Fit your Company

One of the big reasons for driver turnover is a low satisfaction rate with home time. For many drivers, especially those in OTR positions, long nights or weeks away from family may be a deal-breaker. In contrast, most veterans are used to time away from home while on deployments.

That said, it’s not just an easier adjustment for drivers. Families also have experience with limited home time and remote communication. 

The lifestyle fit between the military and trucking goes beyond home time. The structure of military life can lend itself to the hierarchical nature of many trucking positions. Also, just as many veterans got to travel through new parts of our country or other countries, truck drivers are also on the move. For many with a wandering soul, truck driving is a way to keep seeing new places as part of civilian life.

5. Veterans are Trained for Teamwork

Teamwork is essential for military operations. In truck driving, collaboration also plays a central role. Whether it’s communicating with other members of the fleet, management, dispatchers, or external contacts such as shippers or customers, teamwork is necessary for building strong relationships on the job.

PTS Worldwide knows exactly how to highlight that strength when recruiting for truck driving jobs for veterans. In their job descriptions, they specifically look for teamwork.

“Are you a safe and professional driver looking for a company that understands that their success is dependent on your success? PTS Worldwide is a company founded by drivers that know we need your skills, enthusiasm, and commitment to achieve our goals together.”

PTS goes on to specifically highlight collaboration in their call to action by inviting drivers to “partner” with them and “join our team.” This demonstrates a deep understanding of military values as well as a company culture that recognizes the importance of teamwork.

Follow by Example

There are several companies that are already well known in the trucking industry for their strong veteran recruitment programs. In addition to PTS Worldwide, CRST Trucking, Averitt, Schneider National, and JB Hunt are just a few of the companies that are known for their strong veteran recruiting program and culture.

There are a few key ways in which these companies help themselves stand out as military-friendly workplaces. Implementing even one or two of these strategies can make your company more attractive to veterans.

Active Recruiting

Companies who successfully recruit veterans don’t just rely on inbound marketing for hiring. They are proactive in reaching out to potential drivers early and often. For some companies, the recruiting process starts even before personnel have fully completed their duties. 

Align Language 

Language is powerful. In recruiting, it can be the difference between someone seeing themselves in your post and applying verses simply skimming through and ignoring.  Just as PTS Worldwide consciously recruits for teamwork, there are other ways to consciously align your marketing language with military vernacular. Schneider is a great example. When marketing to veterans, they include phrases such as “next mission,” “integrity,” “pride in your work,” and “core values” — all words that directly relate or appeal to people with military experience.

Value Military Experience

As you work to recruit more veterans, spend time creating a company culture and policies that support those future drivers. When applicable, consider counting military service as job experience. If that’s not feasible for your company, show your support through words and actions. Publicly and privately thank veterans for their service. Additionally, support programs for veterans such as Wreaths Across America or the Run for the Fallen. 

Ease the Transition

All new employees will go through a job transition period. For drivers making the transition from active duty to truck driving, there will be added changes. As an employer, consider promoting mental health support services, training your staff on working with veterans, or building a mentorship program to help ease the transition. Some companies, like JB Hunt, also make a Statement of Support to actively showcase their commitment to employing veterans. This is a great way to support truck driving jobs for veterans. 

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

driver referral program

To hire the best truck drivers, recruiters need to constantly create a good impression of their carriers. However, there’s only so much you can do as a recruiter to control your brand and reputation. Unfortunately, many advertisements lie, and drivers have good reason not to believe everything that a carrier says about itself. That’s why they’re more likely to listen to other drivers instead. People are more likely to listen to those they trust, and they’re more likely to trust those who are similar to them. The power of peers is so great that people are 4 times more likely to buy a product when referred by a friend. You can harness this power in the trucking industry as well. A potential driver for your fleet is more likely to trust a fellow driver than what you have to say about your fleet.

This is the idea behind creating a driver referral program. Since your reputation as a carrier is going to spread anyway, you may as well use that to your advantage to attract the best candidates.

Research shows that “word of mouth” plays a huge factor for drivers looking for trucking jobs.

According to the 2019 Overdrive Connectivity Report, 26% of company drivers use word of mouth when looking for driving jobs, second only to Internet searches. Meanwhile, it’s the strongest factor for owner-operators, who look to it 39% of the time. A driver referral program will help you harness the power of word-of-mouth and use your company reputation to bring the strongest drivers to your fleet. Here are 3 tips to create a strong referral program.

1. Build advocates

As we mentioned, drivers are already speaking to each other about your carrier. Your company already has a reputation, and you can’t override it by a referral program. Either your drivers believe you have a strong company and culture that values them, or they don’t. You can’t magically change their opinion by using incentives, but you can encourage them to share their opinions with other drivers.

Offering incentives nudges your drivers to make referrals they already believe in.

It just adds the extra benefit that it won’t slip their mind between a busy job and personal life. If drivers already believe in the strength of your company, you’re really building them as advocates for your company, and not simply as referrals.

2. Structure incentives

Many companies use incentives to nudge drivers into making referrals. Most of these incentives are monetary rewards, although they don’t have to be. As we learned in high school economics class, incentives matter.

You have to make sure you’re offering the right incentives, and that they are influencing behavior in ways you want them to.

If you’re offering a vinyl record player as an incentive and all your drivers use MP3 files for their music, you aren’t going to get any referrals even if everyone loves your company! Make the referral worth it for your drivers. If you’re offering a monetary reward, there are different ways to distribute it. For example, a $500 referral bonus can be spaced out- $250 when the referred driver gets their first run completed and another $250 when they’ve been with the company for 60 days. Often the incentive doesn’t begin until the new driver has already joined the fleet. Driver benefits like extra paid vacation time are other referral rewards which many drivers will covet. Find the right incentive structure and distribution mechanism that works for your company!

3. Build Your Budget

It’s easy to think of referral programs as a waste of money if you haven’t used them before or measured their impact. Try to think of driver referrals as an investment into your recruiting budget. The hire you make from a referral program will help you gain back the amount you spent on the incentive or reward. In fact, you can measure the impact of your referral program and calculate the return on investment. If you’re doing it well then you make a significant number of hires which more than account for the budget spent on the referral program. Consider these budgetary issues when structuring your referral program.

If your program is losing more money than gaining, you need to seriously re-think your entire driver referral program.

Which incentives aren’t working? Should the monetary reward be greater? Maybe the rewards need to be spread out more or be delivered only after you’ve converted leads to hires. Don’t forget to account for the hundreds of dollars being wasted on trucks sitting idle in your lot. Investing in a driver referral program might a way to end that loss of value.

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”.

Barr-Nunn Transportation

Barr-Nunn mostly serves the East Coast region of the country. The company has a fleet of about 550 tractors and is known for its strong equipment. That includes 53’ dry van trailers with tracking and cargo sensors and Freightliner Cascadia and International ProStar tractors. According to Glassdoor, the average salary is $58,096 per year. Barr-Nunn offers transition pay, sign-on bonuses, and paid time off. Barr-Nunn prioritizes safety so drivers can expect safety bonuses every 40,000 miles and safety-based pay raises. Other benefits include short haul pay, detention pay after one hour delays, and hazmat freight premiums. Their benefits package will also include health insurance, life insurance, and a 401(k) option. In addition to quality equipment, Barr-Nunn has strong veteran and Truckers Against Trafficking programs. They look to hire solo drivers, team drivers, and owner operators.

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

3 Ideas for Improving Your Truck Driver Benefits Package

As a recruiter for truck drivers, you know that the driver shortage means that finding the best talent can be difficult. With turnover also being high, retaining drivers can be even more challenging. The best companies are offering great truck driver benefits in addition to good salaries and bonuses. While salary and cents per mile are important figures, drivers know they aren’t the whole package. The experienced driver recognizes that a strong benefits package can be more valuable than sign-on or referral bonuses.

Benefits also build a driver-centric company culture where drivers feel valued and respected. Word-of-mouth about benefits will soon spread to attract other drivers. While there are some industry standard benefits that you should definitely offer, you can also supplement them with your own unique additional benefits that reflect your company and brand. With so much on the line, here are three components to include to improve your truck driver benefits package.

1. Insurance and retirement plans

Providing health insurance and a 401(k)-match plan is an industry standard practice, so you don’t want to skip these for your drivers. Drivers know that the cost of health insurance has skyrocketed, so they’ll be looking for employer-based plans as better alternatives to individual plans on the health insurance marketplace. Any package worth it’s weight should include medical, prescription, vision and dental. Look for insurance policies with reduced premium incentives, low co-pays and a health reimbursement account deposit for wellness. Dental plans should include standard preventive care (such as teeth cleaning) fully or almost fully covered. Vision coverage should ideally cover an annual eye-exam with a low co-pay, and some allowance for prescription glasses or contact lenses.

Drivers will be concerned about the cost of health insurance for their families, so most of your standard packages should provide coverage for their spouses and dependents

Consider including flexible spending accounts, which give drivers the option to put aside pre-tax income from their paychecks to pay for non-reimbursed medical, dental, and vision expenses.

Most trucking companies will include a 401(k)-matching plan for retirement savings as well. Drivers will first be able to place a percentage of their pay into the plan pre-tax. The matching amount by the company can vary based on the percentage. Some companies boast being able to match 100% on the first 4-5% of salary deferred. The exact specifications of your retirement and insurance options will depend on how strong your company is financially. Just keep in mind that drivers will be mindful about noticing whether the company is investing considerable resources into benefits packages for their employees.

2. Lifestyle Benefits

While retirement and insurance are industry-standard benefits, you can craft your own additional benefits based on unique resources and needs.

Many drivers are attracted to benefits which allow them greater flexibility in their lifestyle, both on and off the road.

For example, more drivers would like to be able to work in larger cabins with more personal space. Fleet amenities such as kitchen appliances and satellite radio/TV allow for comfort, cooking, and entertainment. Your company should already be investing in the best truck equipment, and many of these will come fully equipped. A pet policy lets drivers with a canine or feline companion bring them along on the road. See if your company can craft a pet policy with small restrictions on a weight limit and a refundable pet deposit.

Similarly, some drivers would like to bring their spouse or children along with them on the road and view this as a major benefit. Drivers will view a passenger policy by your company as a great advantage when considering their home life and how to spend more time with family.

Paid-time off is another important benefit for work-life balance. Some companies differentiate between vacation time and sick time, while others offer a more general PTO category. These PTO days should increase per every year worked, and ideally, roll over to the next year.

3. Driver Loyalty Programs

Finally, consider creating a driver loyalty discount program, or similar package. Offer rewards or benefits to drivers in the form of points based on credit card purchases, or discounts at select partner locations across the country. For example, your company could partner with a nation-wide hotel or restaurant chain for great deals. Similarly, you could partner with a credit card company to pair with the rewards points. Such perks will help drivers feel valued as they look for places to stay or eat across the country.

4. Tuition Benefits

Finally, some companies have been offering college tuition coverage and college scholarships for drivers and their families. The tuition plan is simple—for as long as drivers remain with the fleet, the company will pay for a portion of college tuition and room/board expenses for the dependents of drivers. As you can imagine, this is a very appealing program for drivers and addresses retention concerns extremely well. In addition, your company can offer a handful of college scholarships every year based on a number of factors. Many drivers will want to send their children to college but will consider the cost of higher education to be prohibitive.

Offering college tuition aid programs signals to drivers that you value them and their families’ priorities and can help give the gift of education

While these options can be financially taxing, they would be considered one of the greatest benefits for drivers in your company which goes a long way toward retaining them and building loyalty.

5. Other Perks

In addition to the standard benefits of insurance and retirement plans, many companies offer other optional perks. These optional plans won’t be used by every driver, but rather depends on their personal and financial situations. Offering these as an alternative will show drivers you value their needs, and it won’t break the bank. Accident insurance and critical illness insurance plans are for those rare circumstances where things go drastically wrong on the road. They communicate to drivers that you want them to know that you have their back.

In addition to insurance, consider offering a CDL legal defender plan to drivers. Your team of lawyers can represent a driver and their claims in the rare possibility of a legal scenario. Offering short-term disability means if drivers get injured on the road, they have financial peace of mind. This extends to drivers who must be away from work for a short period of time. Some companies offer voluntary life insurance plans for additional financial security. Engage in conversations with your drivers about which of these optional benefits would be useful to them.

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

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.

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 leads

There are two main approaches to bringing in truck driver leads in the industry. The first focuses on sheer numbers. Cast as wide a net as possible and you’ll have dozens of potential leads to consider for open jobs. The second focuses on lead quality over quantity. This can be a more time-consuming and tedious process, and you’ll have to narrow the search a bit. Then you focus your efforts on the high-quality applicants to convert them to drivers for your fleet.

Taking the quality approach ultimately wastes less money and time. While we aren’t going to solve the quality versus quantity debate, we do know that there are a few things you can do as a recruiter to increase the quality of your leads. Here are four strategies to focus on to improve the quality of your truck driver leads.

1. Narrow the Candidate Pool

Focusing on quality means that not every job applicant should receive the same amount of time-investment on your part. Once you narrow down the pool of candidates, you can focus more on the high-quality leads rather than lose time and energy on candidates who are not a good fit for you.

Finding the right fit can be made easier by using qualifying questions in the job application and initial contact.

There are many questions you can ask to decide whether candidates are a good fit for your organization and for the jobs you have available. Consider asking about years of experience, type of experience, driving record, region of operation, and preferences about home time. After learning this information, you can easily sort out the candidates who don’t fit the profile your fleet is looking for. Narrowing the pool as early in the game as possible will save you more time, energy, and money on not pursuing leads who don’t meet your criteria. You can and should save these leads for future reference as you may want to contact them in the future.

2. Lead Scoring

Now that you’ve narrowed down the pool, you can focus on the leads who are strong prospects for the job. Eliminating them using qualifying questions is just the first step though. The leads who are remaining aren’t all equally suited for the job.

You have limited time and resources to spend on pursuing a lead, so use lead scoring to help prioritize who to talk to first.

You can assign lead scores based on some of the same criteria which are attributes of the jobs you are trying to fill or based on the attributes of the drivers themselves. Which of your truck driver leads has experience with ice road trucking? Who only drives local? Which ones prefer over-the-road or team driving? Match these with the jobs you are looking to fill. Assigning each prospect a score will help you keep track of how much time and energy you should invest in pursuing them. Follow the highest scoring leads first and soonest, at the expense of the lower scored ones if needed.

3. Understand Why Drivers Decline Jobs

Okay, so you’ve eliminated the leads who aren’t suited for your fleet, and you’ve prioritized the rest based on your lead scoring system. Now you need a method to contact them fast. The longer you take to contact your prospects, the more likely it is they will be driving for a different fleet. We’ve written earlier about how the top reason drivers decline jobs is because they recently accepted another position which was offered to them first. This is another reason to implement lead scoring and prioritization.

Why are drivers declining your CDL jobs?

Understand why drivers aren’t accepting your job offers and how to improve driver recruitment.

4. Contact Drivers Quickly

Losing your leads to the competition is bad enough but losing top candidates is worse. If you wait too long, you’re more likely to lose the best candidates first. Then, you might be stuck with the prospects toward the middle or bottom of the pool. Use your lead scoring system to prioritize which leads to contact first. Then, focus on improving your contact rate. Start the conversation with prompt initial contact. After, follow up with more details and questions at a convenient time for them. Keep moving each lead through the recruitment pipeline, but start from the top of the list, and focus your energies there.

Focusing on truck driver lead quality over quantity has many benefits. Although the approach requires having a much more methodical recruitment system and some start-up cost, it can end up saving you time, money, and energy in the long-run.

You want to make sure you are not wasting time by pursuing the drivers who are wrong for your fleet. Regardless of which approach you take, there are strategies you can use to improve the quality of your leads. Narrow the pool, prioritize prospects using lead scoring, understand why drivers decline jobs, and contact drivers quickly. Each of these strategies helps maximize the chances of your fleet landing quality drivers.

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

4 CDL Truck Driver Retention Strategies

Recruiting great drivers is tough enough, but retaining top drivers is even tougher. While the driver shortage is the main obstacle to recruitment, turnover is the reason it is difficult to retain truck drivers. It’s no secret that the industry faces high turnover rates. According to some surveys, over 50% of newly hired drivers will leave their carriers within the first six months. Implementing strong driver retention strategies is critical to the success of your fleet.

Apart from offering higher and higher salaries and compensation packages, the real answer to the turnover problem is driver engagement. Drivers who are engaged with the job and the company are better and safer drivers and are more likely to stick around for longer. Here are four CDL truck driver retention strategies to maximize driver engagement.

1. Listen to and Act on Driver Feedback

Drivers want to feel like their voice matters and that they are being heard. Having strong communication with drivers is just the beginning. Make sure everyone in your organization, especially dispatchers, are aware of the importance of good communication with drivers. Fleet managers should regularly solicit driver feedback on a variety of issues, especially the types of jobs, routes, hauls, and schedules they prefer. Asking drivers for their feedback on how satisfactory the job has been so far also shows that the company cares about them as individuals. There are dozens of questions you can ask in driver engagement surveys.

However, asking drivers for their feedback isn’t enough. Acting on driver feedback is what distinguishes a great company from a good company.

Fleet managers should always aim to improve something for the sake of a driver’s preference unless they have a very good reason not to. And when you can’t act on their feedback, let them know why that’s the case. You’ll be surprised how understanding and appreciative they’ll be that you made the effort. When you interact with drivers as partners in problem solving, it will make them feel more engaged with the company and valued as employees. This strengthens driver loyalty and makes it less likely that they will leave the fleet.

2. Training and Professional Development

One of the reasons drivers will leave a company is because of inadequate training or because they feel their professional needs aren’t being met by the company. By making training and development an integral part of the relationship with drivers, truck driver retention will naturally increase. In addition to preparing them for the road, a proper onboarding and training program signals to employees that you can invest in their careers. They’ll be more likely to stick with your company if you provide continual professional development opportunities after the initial training.

Every three months or so, drivers should be eligible to engage in professional development seminars, workshops, and opportunities to connect with other drivers and learn from them.

One simple example is a mentorship program. Fleet managers can pair new drivers with experienced veterans based on their needs. The experienced truckers can mentor the younger employees on the joys and challenges of being a truck driver. This is a benefit for novices as it will help them improve and address their weaknesses. It is also a benefit for the veteran drivers who can also find mentorship extremely rewarding. Suddenly you’ve taken something that’s of benefit to the company and made it personally meaningful to employees. Retention will take care of itself once you’ve helped drivers feel more professionally engaged in their careers.

3. Equipment and Maintenance

There are few things drivers can’t stand more than having to deal with faulty equipment and vehicles. From their perspective, they’ve been hired for the driving job, not the maintenance job. Investing in quality equipment and providing maintenance is one of the best driver retention strategies.

If you don’t invest in quality equipment and trucks, it will frustrate your drivers for several reasons. First, it signals to drivers that the company isn’t willing to spend money on the trucks which drivers will be operating and often living out of. The optics can look really poor if your company is perceived to spend considerably on other areas at the expense of equipment and trucks. Second, drivers will be frustrated if fleet managers routinely expect drivers to address maintenance issues on the equipment. While the occasional minor maintenance issue might be fixed by the drivers, fleet managers shouldn’t expect that to become the norm. This is one of the top reasons why drivers decline jobs or leave jobs.

In addition to having regular inspections conducted, there are many things fleet managers can do to address maintenance issues. Implementing a fleet preventative maintenance plan will help you tackle the issues before they grow.

Some ELD solutions also automatically monitor fault codes through connection with vehicle diagnostics. The ELD will alert fleet managers about maintenance issues directly. Remember that drivers aren’t expert or trained mechanics. If drivers perceive that the expectation is to either deal with driving faulty vehicles or repair them themselves, it won’t be long before they start considering leaving. Make sure your drivers know you stay on top of maintenance issues and watch truck driver retention become easier.

4. Driver Safety and Empowerment

Part of a fleet manager’s responsibility is to ensure safety and improve the working conditions for drivers. Building a culture of safety is necessary baseline that every company should strive for. You can signal to your drivers that safety is a priority by investing in compliance measures and driver coaching, rather than paying regulatory fines. If you emphasize to drivers that their actions matter, they will feel empowered to make safer decisions.

Back up your words with rewards and recognition for safe drivers. You should try to use the carrot more than the stick. Incentivize good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior.

Drivers with the best safety scores and lowest unsafe driving behavior can be offered financial or other rewards. In addition to encouraging drivers to be safer on the road, it also boosts loyalty and retention.

5. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Embrace new technology like front-facing dashcams and electronic logging devices. In case of accidents, these devices can help you see things from the drivers’ perspective. Protect your drivers from false claims when they aren’t at fault. Building an empowerment culture for drivers goes beyond just protecting them.

Solicit driver feedback on what which working conditions they’d like to see improved. You’d be surprised at how many small requests from drivers you are able to easily fulfill.

For many, it may be the hours on the road, the number of stops allowed, home time etc. Finding small ways to keep drivers happy, or having them know that you’re trying, goes a long way to building loyalty and retention.

Drivers leave jobs for many reasons. Higher salary and better benefits are not the only factors which affect driver turnover. Building an engaged and loyal driver base can be easier than offering the highest salaries. Often, the small things add up and drivers will realize they are happier at your company than at a competitor who pays more but doesn’t care more. Implement these four CDL truck driver retention strategies to help your drivers stay for years.

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

best-ways-to-recruit-truck-drivers

In an industry like trucking, it can always be difficult to find new talent. This is especially true given the ongoing driver shortage. Recruiters for truck drivers need to constantly use a mix of old and new tactics to search for, select, hire, and then retain truck drivers. Here are some of the best ways to recruit truck drivers using sound practices.

1. Try a New Spin on Old Methods

On the one hand, recruiting tools like job boards and referral programs bring tried and tested results. On the other hand, all your competitors are doing them as well. This means you’re losing the advantage of doing something special. Try a new exciting spin on traditional methods to distinguish yourself from the competition. Most companies will offer a sign-on bonuses and a retention bonus for every year drivers stay on the job. Try offering a bonus for every six months instead. Posting job ads on a generic job board only goes so far.

To reach a specific audience, look for niche job boards that are industry-specific or demographic-specific.

Employee referrals are also a great way to connect to new drivers using your current drivers as resources. Why stop there? Use crowd-sourcing to find even more diverse talent. Internal referrals usually bring more of the same type of employee or talent. If you extend your finder’s fee to those outside the company, it will increase your chances of reaching a more diverse candidate pool. When using referrals, take care to structure the rewards properly. What will really incentivize your current employees to refer someone else? Maybe it should be a cash bonus, but maybe it could be a few extra days off or a chance to win season basketball tickets.

2. Harness Social Media

Social media can help give you the power in your recruiting process that it may have been lacking before. There are many ways you can use digital marketing and recruiting to your benefit. Paid ads are just one of several options. When posting paid ads, try to write an exciting hook to catch the audience’s attention. Drivers are bombarded with ads from trucking companies which all look and sound the same. Anything you can write that differentiates you from the rest will be an advantage. Specifically, remember the power of multimedia: photos and videos make the content more engaging and will capture someone’s attention more than just text.

Some ads only reach those who have already expressed an interest in trucking jobs, but you can also use social media to reach passive job candidates who aren’t searching just yet.

Facebook advertising based on targeting will reach people who match the skills, region, or interests you want. The power of social media comes not just from the business side, but from the personal side as well. Encouraging your current employees to share job ads on their social media profiles will dramatically increase the number of people who view them. While you can’t force your employees what to post or not post on social media, you can incentivize it. Including social media recruiting outreach by employees in your referral program will help you reach more people than if you just posted on the business side of Facebook.

3. Look Beyond Your Core Demographic

You definitely need targeted advertising to those who are most likely to consider truck driving. But it would be a mistake to limit yourself to just that demographic.

It’s a good idea to balance reaching your current core demographic with making yourself appealing to future potential demographics.

Don’t just focus on those who currently apply to truck driver jobs. Women in truck driving is a growing demographic which would be crucial to tap into. This is essentially 50% of the job market which not all companies are reaching. Women with similar interests and backgrounds also consider working as drivers, but sometimes get discouraged by the industry. Make sure all your advertising is gender-neutral in language and can appeal to everyone. Take special care to reach women in trucking groups and tailor your recruiting message to them as well.

When interacting with different audiences, make sure you tailor your message to their perspective and address their needs and concerns.

Veterans are another demographic who often consider truck driving as a job. Go the extra mile by marketing to prospective drivers where they already exist, like veteran specific job boards or social media groups. Some of the best candidates for a new driving job may be someone who applied for a previous position which you already filled. Just because they weren’t suited for that job doesn’t mean they were a bad candidate in general. Keep in mind old leads and keep in touch with them in case something more suitable for them comes up.

4. Good Marketing is Good Recruiting

Don’t forget that a major part of recruiting is just plain old-fashioned marketing. Your company needs to be able to appeal to drivers before they will consider applying to work there.

In fact, you should be reminding the marketing department that they have two different audiences to market to: the customers and the employees.

To this extent, make sure there is a dedicated hiring page or careers page on the company’s website to shepherd those interested in working for you. In addition to your website, all your marketing channels should have engaging content which makes it attractive to work there. This will be particularly true on social media and other digital marketing channels.

Driver-centric content will show your prospective employees that the company cares about drivers needs and values.

People want to work in a culture and environment which supports and values them. It isn’t enough to foster a people-first environment where drivers will want to work; you need to market this as well. Highlighting driver experiences, testimonials from current employees, driver appreciation events, and a culture of professional development will go a long way toward making the right impression to your ideal job candidates.

Streamlining the recruitment process is a marketing tactic in itself. Make the application quick and easy for job applicants by making it mobile-friendly is a must. While conducting interviews, go out of your way to address concerns with some candidates will have. Contact your prospects soon, often, and on the phone so that they don’t get scooped up by competitors. These tips may sound like obvious ones, but you’ll be surprised by how many industry recruiters don’t engage in these practices. Make these practices routine, and you’ll impress drivers enough that they’ll want to sign on with your fleets.

Recruiting in an industry like truck driving can be particularly challenging. These are some of the best ways to recruit truck drivers which we recommend since they combine the old-fashioned with the latest methods. Using these methods will add strength to your recruiting methods and help you find the best drivers for your fleet.

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

Layer 1

As a recruiter, you get barraged with job applications. The ratio of job applications for each open position can be overwhelming for recruiters to deal with. Sifting through dozens of applications and remembering each and every candidate can be exhausting, not to mention time-consuming.

Yet, it can be extremely helpful to contact truck drivers faster and speed up the hiring process. It goes without saying that if you don’t contact job candidates fast enough, you’ll lose them to someone else. There are also many other reasons to contact truck drivers faster during the hiring process and maintain open lines of communication and dialogue.

1. You Won’t Lose the Top Candidates

The most important reason to contact truck drivers faster is that this way you’re less likely to lose the top candidates to your competitors. In fact, according to data by drivers matched through Drive My Way, the top reason candidates declined job offers is because they just accepted an offer by someone else.

Being scooped by rivals is especially risky for your top candidates. One recommended solution is to assign a “decide-by date” for candidates. This way you can focus your immediate time and attention first to the top-tier prospects, then to the second-tier prospects, and so on.

Categorize your prospects into tiers, type of jobs, or other characteristics. Otherwise, you risk drowning in an overwhelming number of candidates whose details you won’t remember. It may seem intuitive that a slow hiring process improves the quality of those you hire because you have more time to gather information and feedback before deciding. However, there is a trade-off as well. Slow hiring can also have the opposite effect because the longer you take, the lower the quality of new hires will be.

If you take too long to hire, you may have to pay new hires more because they will be bid on.

So, if your company is the first to approach and hire them before other companies have a chance to offer them something, they will most likely accept your initial salary offer. Contacting truck drivers sooner lowers the chances that they will be scooped up by rivals, or that rivals will drive up the salary negotiation process.

2. A Window to Communication on the Job

A big reason to contact truck drivers faster and often during the hiring process is that it is a strong indicator of workplace communication habits within the company. This is a reason often missed by recruiters because it has more to do with marketing than with HR. This goes to the heart of the dual function recruiters play in organizations.

In addition to facilitating the hiring process from point of contact through placement, recruiters also play a role in persuading top talent to join their fleets. The speed and flexibility of the hiring process can indicate to job candidates that the organization communicates with its employees well and makes decisions quickly.

A candidate might impress you by arriving early and proactively sending a thank-you note. Similarly, your company can impress candidates by contacting them quickly and offering as much information as possible.

According to a survey by the platform 15Five, only 15% of employees are “very satisfied” with the quality of communication within their companies. This leaves plenty of room for improvement, and any way to signal that your company values communication will be noticed by truck drivers.

3. Give Feedback on Resumes or Interviews

The traditional method is that a candidate applies, you review their materials, and schedule an interview. Some companies may touch base once or twice, or at times, the candidate only hears back once you’ve made a decision. But most candidates want to hear how they did, whether good or bad. In a LinkedIn survey, 94% of respondents said they want to receive feedback on their interviews.

Employers are afraid of upsetting candidates or gaining a bad reputation such that they avoid giving feedback entirely. However, if done right, you can give candidates extremely beneficial feedback. Talk about both positives and negatives, and you can maintain or even improve your company’s reputation.

Let them know that you were impressed by their materials and experiences. Then, lead with strengths before weaknesses. Inform them about what you liked or which skill or experience made them particularly strong. When addressing weaknesses, take care to phrase it delicately. “I would have loved to have heard more about….”, or “I didn’t get the chance to learn about…..” usually works best, regardless of whether the message is over phone or email.

Candidates might surprise you. Many people will thank you for the feedback, even if they aren’t the best match for the positions. This can boost your company’s reputation among truck drivers, and the good karma may come back to help you with a prospect highly suited for your fleet. Contact your prospects faster to give them feedback on how they did.

4. Start Talking Numbers Early

One final reason to contact truck drivers faster is to start talking about salary and compensation. Usually recruiters may mention numbers only with an offer and expect candidates to accept or negotiate for a higher salary.

If you start mentioning numbers mid-way through the recruiting process it actually has several advantages.

Bringing up the numbers early on signals your interest to your prospects. This makes it less likely that they will accept another offer by someone else. Second, the nature of salary and compensation becomes more transparent. Your prospects have very little idea if your offer is in line with their skills, what salary is typical at the company, and other factors that go into deciding the compensation package.

Most companies think it is in their interest to keep their prospects in the dark. In reality, it may be more beneficial to be transparent. Most candidates aren’t just looking for more money, but they want to know that they are being paid fairly. If your package is the best the company can afford to pay them, your prospects will want to know that.

A PayScale survey found that 82% of employees who were payed lower than industry average but whose employer was open about their salary were satisfied with their jobs.

It even helps to show your math: how did the company reach that figure? Contact truck drivers faster and be open and transparent about pay and benefits early in the game. Doing so will help you gain trust and build a stronger reputation for your company.

Mockup-1-1

Access More Driver Decline Reasons

Unlock additional reasons why truck drivers decline your CDL jobs by downloading our free ebook. The book shares insight to what drivers really want.

Download the Ebook