Posts

driver feedbackThe trucking industry is years into the “Driver Shortage”, and carriers are still having a difficult time hiring and retaining top talent. Drivers now have a lot of options for which carrier they work for, and they’re choosing to work for ones that have a proven track record of listening to their drivers.  

That’s why in today’s labor marketplace, any carrier that wants to recruit and retain top talent needs to collect and utilize driver feedback. But how do you collect drive feedback? What are the benefits to collecting it? And, once you do have it, how do you utilize it for your business? 

Why Should You Use Driver Feedback?

Driver feedback can help carriers solve the two biggest problems facing trucking right now: recruiting and retention. 

Nobody enjoys working somewhere where they have no input in what goes on; especially truck drivers. This type of environment can lead drivers to become actively disengaged and eventually start looking for another job. 

On the flip side, when drivers feel their voices are being heard, they’re more likely to stay. In Drive My Way’s Happiness and Retention survey, we found that a strong company culture where drivers feel valued is the second leading reason that drivers are attracted to working for certain carriers.  

We talked with Bryce Kjellander, Recruiter with Stevens Trucking about why collecting driver feedback is important to them.  

We collect feedback from our drivers because they’re at the front lines and can be a huge asset when it comes to staying on top of maintenance issues. One of the main ways we communicate is by having an open-door policy with our drivers. This includes everyone at the company from the top down. Secondly, as a company we use an anonymous software service that allows drivers  to give input to the owners and upper management. We’ve been using this tool for about a year and a half now with a lot of success. Throughout this process we have received all kinds of feedback, some of which we have been able to implement. One of the ideas we are looking at incorporating is setting up an inbound service lane for all of our trucks and trailers to pull into so they can be checked out before leaving the yard. Our goal is to help catch some of the minor stuff that could have been missed when guys are in a hurry to get back on the road.”

Gathering Driver Feedback

driver feedbackPutting up a suggestion box in the break room probably won’t be enough to get the kind of feedback your carrier needs to really make a difference. You’ll want to create multiple avenues for drivers to share their thoughts.  

A suggestion box is one way. Others could be having an open-door policy with drivers, holding monthly/quarterly meetings, or using anonymous feedback services.  

Anonymity is a huge part of collecting driver feedback. While some drivers may be fine putting their name with their feedback, many won’t be. Having options for both is the key to collecting as much as you can. 

Another reason these anonymous feedback services work well is because drivers can use them to submit feedback from anywhere. This is very important in trucking since drivers will probably be on the road when an issue occurs. 

Exit Interviews are another great way to gather honest driver feedback. These are interviews done with a driver who’s planning on leaving your company. While the drivers may be leaving simply because of a better pay package, there could be other factors that led them to leave that you’re unaware of. Having productive exit interviews with drivers can help you uncover those reasons. 

Utilizing Driver Feedback

This is the biggest part of the equation, and one that many carriers may fall short on. You’ve collected all that driver data, but that’s only half the battle.  

The first step is to analyze the feedback you’ve gotten. Do you see any trends? Are multiple drivers citing the same issues time and time again? You’ll want to gather your results and plan to meet with decision makers in your organization to see what can be done.  

From there, you can begin the process of implementing solutions to the feedback you were given, just like Stevens Trucking did with their inbound service lanes. You may not be able to work on every issue raised by a driver, but just communicating that it was received shows drivers that your carrier is listening.  

As for how to communicate, consider having a monthly or quarterly email that goes out to all drivers containing all the feedback you’ve received and the steps the carrier is taking to address it. You can also hold monthly zoom (or in-person) meetings or call the drivers who gave you feedback directly. 

As the “Driver Shortage” continues to roll on, carriers are finding it necessary to change their operations and policies in order to attract the best drivers. That’s why the carriers that actively seek out driver feedback and implement it into their businesses have a huge edge in the fight to recruit and retain top talent.  To see what other factors drivers consider when looking for a new job, check out our Driver Lifestyle & Job Happiness Survey below. 

driver happiness and retention survey

FREE SURVEY REPORT

Driver Lifestyle & Job Happiness Survey

We surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their career and life. Access the survey report to see the results.

Get the Results

social mediaLike most everyone, truck drivers are all over social media. It’s where they connect with other drivers, share tips for being on the road, and discuss current happenings. It’s also where they look for jobs and research carriers.  

As a recruiting team, how can you use that to your advantage? You want to make sure that drivers looking at your company come away with a positive impression, but that’s easier said than done. Here are 3 ways to strengthen your trucking company’s social media presence.  

Be on the Right Channels  

The first step is to make sure you’re in the right places to find drivers. While there isn’t much new data on what social media platforms truckers are on the most, you can find a lot of drivers using Instagram, Facebook, and now TikTok. 

The newest social platform, TikTok can be difficult for carriers to get on, as the majority of content is user-generated videos, and creating that on a regular basis takes a lot of resources. Facebook and Instagram on the other hand are easier social channels to manage and post on. You probably already have a Facebook, and maybe an Instagram account, but whether you’re leveraging them for their recruiting value is a different question.  

We were able to talk with April Smith, Driver Recruiter with Drive My Way client, Lansing Building Products. April told us about what Lansing posts on their social channels and how that helps attract drivers. 

April Smith,
Driver Recruiter,
Lansing Building Products

What kind of content does your company post on social media?

“We post company news and events, job postings, associate highlights and achievements, product, and customer accomplishments.”

What social media platforms is your company present on?

“We’re currently active on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Twitter.”

How does the content you post support your company’s recruiting efforts?

“Our social media presence promotes our company culture, engages job seekers, and helps attract top talent.”

Lansing BP’s recent Instagram post, celebrating Mother’s Day

Is there a certain kind of content that does particularly well?

“Photos and videos of our people do very well. A great example of this was our recent Mother’s Day post that shared pics of Lansing Mom’s and their kids.”  

What is the overall goal for your company’s social media presence?

“We want to build brand awareness and boost brand engagement through social media. We want people to have a genuine feel for our people, our culture and what makes Lansing Building Products a great place to work.”

3 Ways to Engage with Truck Drivers Using Social Media 

Driver Testimonials

Maybe the most powerful tool when it comes to social media recruiting, driver testimonials are great at showing potential candidates why your company is a great place to work. What makes this content so powerful is that it comes from a source that drivers trust.  

Many drivers have been misled in the past by recruiters. So, when a recruiter tells them all the great things about driving for a company, there’s a good (and reasonable) chance that they’ll be skeptical. They’ll be more receptive of that same message if it comes from a fellow driver. 

There’s a few different ways to driver testimonials. The most common is to ask drivers to send in a short video about why they enjoy working for your carrier. The other is to film drivers on site. Both are great, but asking drivers to send in a short video is usually more cost-effective, as you won’t have to pay for or rent video equipment. These videos also have an amateur feel that comes across as more authentic.

Mission Statement Video

One minute to show what your company is, what they do, and why they do it. That’s what a mission statement video is. These videos are used to give visitors to your social media pages (including prospective driver candidates) a bird’s eye view of your company. 

Mission statement videos should be short and to the point. B-roll footage of company trucks, drivers, and your building over a narration of your mission statement is a great way to go. If you’re unable to do video, you can do the same thing with still images. 

Consider pinning this video to the top of your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page. Many visitors to your page may want to get a quick overview of your business, and this is a great way to do it. 

Company Culture Posts

It’s always better to show than it is to tell. Sure, you can tell a driver that your carrier has a great company culture, but that probably won’t stick in their head. Using social media to show your company culture is a great way to send a message that will resonate with them throughout the recruiting process. 

Do you have any after work events? Parties during workdays? Do you celebrate work anniversaries for drivers? Documenting these events on social media is a great way to get engagement and showcase to drivers what it’s like to work for your company.  

The best thing about social media is that there’s very little (if any) cost to it. You can experiment with different post types to see what gets the best engagement with drivers and go from there.

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

home time

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

Pay

home time

 

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

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

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

Home Time

 

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

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

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

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

What Can Recruiters Do?

 

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

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

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

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

Get the Ebook

American Central Transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Josh at the White House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

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

Get the Ebook

American Bulk Commodities

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

What was your original position with American Bulk Commodities?

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

How did that role turn into what you do now?

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

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

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

What are some of those trends that you look for?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View the Case Study

You’ve probably heard the phrase “driver-centric” a lot over the past few years. It’s become a popular term in the transportation industry, especially when carriers describe their culture to truck drivers. But what does it mean? Simply put, being driver-centric means putting your drivers at the heart of every decision your company makes. A lot of trucking companies may say they have this kind of culture, but what does it really take to be driver-centric?  

We talked to two Drive My Way clients, Kam-Way Transportation and Danieli Inc. about their driver-centric approach to company culture. They shared insight on how they’ve been able to achieve this culture and how other trucking companies can do the same.   

1. Implement Driver Programs

Driver programs like these have become the norm for a lot of carriers, and it’s easy to see why. These programs lead to healthy competition among drivers, increased happiness, and most importantly, higher retention rates. This last part is especially true in relation to referral programs, as drivers who come from referrals will on average, stay longer than drivers who come from other sources.  

Danieli“We’ve implemented many programs such as V.I.P. bonus programs, driver of the quarter awards, anniversary gifts, and a very generous referral program,” shared the Danieli Recruiting Team.

In addition to performance and recruitment programs, showing appreciation to all your drivers is a great way to show your driver-centric culture. Small gifts for holidays and work anniversaries, free lunches, and giveaways are just some of the ways you can communicate to drivers that your carrier puts them first. 

2. Communicate and Listen to Feedback

This tip may seem like common sense, but there are many carriers who struggle with it. The crux is not just making small talk with drivers and checking in with them once every six months or a year. It’s implementing a plan like Danieli has to constantly communicate and gather feedback from drivers. Keeping an ear to the ground of what’s going on with your drivers, what they’re enjoying, and what they’re not can help you adapt things accordingly and keep them happy.  

“We have a ‘Staying in Touch’ policy where we regularly call every driver on the phone, even just to say ‘Hey, how’s your week going?’ or ‘Any concerns we can address?’. Being personable with our drivers, or ‘business partners’ as we call them is our top priority. Also, hear your drivers out! Some of our best ideas come from drivers on the road. Whether it’s the way you conduct orientation, the bonuses you offer, or the way you approach issues, find out what your drivers are saying and use that to your company’s advantage,” shared the Danieli Recruiting Team. 

There are many ways to communicate with your drivers. You can frequently call like Danieli does, set up an anonymous suggestion box (online or on site), use employee engagement surveys, or just stay in touch via text.  

Also, while it’s never good to hear a driver is leaving, make sure you take that opportunity to perform an exit interview. It’s a great way to get candid insight on how your company is running and what you can do better in the future to avoid doing any more exit interviews.   

3. Show Drivers Respect

Respect goes a very long way in the trucking world. What are some of the ways a carrier can show respect to their drivers? The first is to be upfront and honest about everything relating to the job when talking to candidates. Don’t hide important details just because they’re not the most attractive aspects of it. This will just lead to unhappy drivers after they sign on and may lead to a bad reputation in the industry. Making sure it’s a good fit for both sides is more important for long-term retention than simply getting drivers in seats. It’s also another big part of cultivating a driver-centric company culture.  

“We really take pride in making sure that our drivers don’t feel like they’re just a number. We really focus on solving any issues that might arise quickly to build a fantastic working relationship alongside our driving team. We believe in treating our driving team with respect, which means offering great pay, generous home-time, a great bonus structure, and more,” shared the Kam-Way Recruiting Team.

In the current job marketplace, drivers have more leverage than ever, so lowballing them in terms of pay won’t do your company any favors in the long run. Drivers understand that every company may not be able to offer the absolute best pay package in the world, but your pay should be competitive with industry averages. The same goes for benefits, bonuses, and raises.  

4. Have a Knowledge and Passion for Trucking

When drivers talk to recruiters or other people inside an organization who have little knowledge of the day-to-day responsibilities and lifestyle of a trucker, it doesn’t do much to establish trust. This isn’t to say that everyone in your organization has to be an expert on trucking, just that there should be an enthusiasm and general knowledge about the work drivers do when talking to them.  

This is also why bringing in driver recruiters with CDL experience can be a huge boost for your company’s recruiting efforts. These recruiters have a knack for building relationships with drivers and turning candidates into hires, which is invaluable for any recruiting department.    

“It’s important for us to share our company culture either by conversation or through social media in order to allow potential drivers to see the value in our company. Transportation has a special place in many of our hearts, and our hope is that drivers seeking employment with us feel that fondness towards the industry. Many of our office team members have been in the transportation business for many years. Allowing that expertise to shine through is just one of the many ways our company culture can positively impact anyone looking to join our team,” shared the Kam-Way Recruiting Team. 

5. Broadcast Your Culture

Just like the population at large, most truck drivers, are active on at least one social media platform. These social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok could very well be the first place where drivers learn about your company. This is why it’s important to broadcast your company culture on these platforms. Aside from having quality pay and benefits, drivers want to work somewhere where they know they’ll be valued and the right messaging can do just that.  

“We believe that sharing the industry with both non-driving individuals along with drivers is so valuable. It shines a light on the transportation industry and allows everyone to see how vital it is to our economy and more. Creating a sense of transparency builds trust, which in turn, provides a strong company culture. We also really love featuring our hard-working men and women on our social media platforms so that they can be recognized by everyone,” shared the Kam-Way Recruiting Team. 

But, as we know, drivers are understandably skeptical of what comes from a company’s recruiting or marketing team. Showcasing the drivers themselves in testimonials is the best way to build trust with potential candidates and show your driver-centric company culture through social media. 

A driver-centric company culture is much more than a popular buzz word. It’s truly putting the needs and priorities of truck drivers at the front of your business. It can seem like a big task, but making small changes and implementing the tips above will make your company a place where drivers will be happy to come aboard.    

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

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

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

What led you to working with Foodliner?

Tim Yochum

Tim Yochum, Director of Recruiting, McCoy Group

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

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

How has your background in transportation helped you recruit drivers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FoodlinerFoodliner Partners with Drive My Way for Success

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

View the Case Study

tuition reimbursement
Demand for labor in the trucking industry has never been higher. As the market for drivers continues to be competitive, coming up with new ways to entice drivers to work for your carrier is becoming more and more important. One added perk for drivers that many trucking companies are adding to their benefits package is tuition reimbursement.  

We spoke with April Smith, Recruiter with Drive My Way client, Lansing Building Products, about their Tuition Reimbursement Program and the results they’ve seen from it.  

tuition reimbursement“We currently offer a Tuition Reimbursement and a CDL Reimbursement Program. Tuition Reimbursement assists associates with tuition, registration, books and required fees, as well as licensing exams,” shared April.

What is Tuition Reimbursement?

Tuition Reimbursement is when a carrier pays the full cost or a portion of cost that the driver paid to attend CDL school. The company could also pay the cost of a current employee to attend CDL school while working for them. Many companies not only in the trucking industry, but also in the greater workforce are finding success with this tactic. According to a study by EdAssist, “84% of employees cited tuition assistance as an important factor in their decision to join their companies. In fact, 71% of participants rated tuition assistance among the best benefits offered by their employers after healthcare.” 

“Aside from that, we have a CDL Reimbursement Program assists with the fees for current associates desiring to get their CDL license. This helps associates acquire additional skills that can lead to promotion opportunities and growth within the company,” shared April. 

How Does it Work?

Most carriers who participate in tuition reimbursement do so in incremental amounts over a set course of time. This can be one month, two months, or whatever increment the carrier sees fit. Doing tuition reimbursement in increments helps with retention efforts, as drivers will be incentivized to stay with your carrier for the long haul in order to receive the full benefits of the program. 

What are the Benefits of Tuition Reimbursement?

It Helps with Retention

According to a study by Bright Horizons, “76% of employees said they are more likely to stay with their employer because of its tuition reimbursement benefit.” This means that aside from the driver staying with your carrier throughout the period of repayment, they’re more likely to stay with your company after as well. 

Tax Breaks

Aside from tuition reimbursement helping recruiting and retention efforts, it’s also good come tax time. Under IRS guidelines, companies that reimburse their employees’ tuition are eligible for a tax break at the federal level. One thing to keep in mind is that this tax break caps out at $5,250 per year per employee.  

Reputation in the Industry

Having a tuition reimbursement program signals not only your employees, but the greater industry, that your carrier is committed to the growth and well-being of your drivers. In an industry like trucking, where word of mouth is how a lot of drivers find new jobs, this can be invaluable.  

“Offering professional development opportunities lets job seekers know that we are invested in their future. We’ve had numerous drivers over the past few years that have taken advantage of the opportunity to increase their skill set and grow within our company,” shared April. 

According to Randall-Reilly’s Trucker News Connectivity Report, 26% of drivers rely on word-of-mouth when looking for a new job.  Starting a Tuition Reimbursement Program can be a great way to build up or build back a positive reputation of your company in the industry.  

Drivers Who Take Advantage of Tuition Reimbursement

These programs tend to appeal to drivers who are new to the industry and are still paying off their trucking school loans. They especially attract drivers who are right out of CDL school, since the sooner they take advantage of a company’s tuition reimbursement program, the less money they’ll be paying in the long run. 

The most important thing about tuition reimbursement is the tangible impact it can make in the lives of drivers. Just like it has for Lansing Building Products driver, Dominic. 

tuition reimbursement

“I’ve been an associate with Lansing Building Products for six years in their Tampa location. I have always had an interest in driving and brought that to management’s attention. Since then, Lansing has provided me with the opportunity to earn my CDL while working for them. Right now, I’m utilizing my CDL to cover for other drivers and hope to eventually become a full-time truck driver. Overall, I appreciate the opportunity Lansing has provided me by helping me to get my CDL and completing the program over the last 6 months,” shared Dominic. 

As recruiters continue to search for new ways to reach drivers, Tuition Reimbursement is proving to be more and more helpful. Having a Tuition Reimbursement program is great for a lot of reasons, but it all comes down to drivers wanting to work for a carrier where they feel valued. Offering to reimburse their CDL school tuition shows that your carrier is committed to their career and invested in them for the long haul. 

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

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

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

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

What do you think 2022 holds for the trucking industry?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

Get the Ebook

recruitment podcasts
If you’ve been in the driver recruiter space long enough, you probably know about Recruit & Retain: Trucking Edition with Chad Hendricks and Taking the Hire Road with Jeremy Reymer. Both podcasts focus on the challenges of recruiting and retention in the trucking industry. The recruitment podcasts also feature a number of industry experts who share their knowledge with listeners.  

We had the chance to talk to both Chad and Jeremy about how they started their podcasts, what their favorite episodes have been so far, and what topics they’re excited to tackle this year. 

How Did You Start Your Podcast?

recruitment podcasts

Jeremy Reymer, host of Taking the Hire Road

Jeremy: “Years ago, I had the thought of doing a podcast on my own. I loved the idea but felt that it wouldn’t be a good fit at the time. I wanted to do it, but just didn’t have the time. 

Fast forward a few years and FreightWaves reached out and pitched the idea of me hosting my own podcast with the help of their audio and content team. It was the perfect situation. I would be able to pick my own guests and host, while the FreightWaves team would handle all the production and promotion. I agreed and now here we are, 44 episodes later.  

As for the name of the podcast, it came from my belief that it’s important to surround yourself with people who do the right thing and who take the higher road. The play on words with higher and hire was the perfect fit.” 

recruitment podcasts

Chad Hendricks, host of Recruit & Retain: Trucking Edition

Chad: We had a client in the building industry who was looking for ways to be known as an industry leader in his space. He asked us what we recommended, and we pitched him the idea of starting his own podcast. He wasn’t a fan of the idea, but it got us thinking about doing a podcast ourselves.  

Starting out, we thought it might be difficult to get guests on the podcast, but that wasn’t the case at all. It’s really surprising how many people were interested in being on it, especially our clients. That’s the origin of Recruit & Retain, and we’re still here, going on our third year.” 

What Topics are you Excited About Tackling on the Show this Year?

Jeremy: “From a company perspective, recruiting and retention are the two number one issues that they’re facing right now. For drivers, their biggest grievances are things like parking and pay. If a carrier is able to solve those driver problems, they’ll be working towards solving their recruiting and retention problems. My main goal is trying to find more material that addresses those issues. 

I also want to put a focus on more compliance talk to dispel certain misinformation out there. For example, so many times recruiters think, ‘I need to get 10 years of employment verification’ and that’s just not true at all. You may have a company policy that says that, which is different. Dispelling some of those common misconceptions and informing recruiters is a big focus this year.” 

Chad: “The biggest one I’m excited to dive into is helping recruiters find where they can differentiate from competitors. Most are trying to wordsmith their pay package in the job advertisement, but drivers and getting keen to it. You can’t have a job ad that just talks about cents per mile with the picture of the guy with his arms folded. Drivers have seen that 1,000 times. You need something to get their eyeballs to stop for a second on your ad.  

The second piece to differentiation is figuring out how to create a positive driver experience once drivers come on board. It only takes a week for a driver to decide how they feel about working for a certain carrier. You want your new drivers to say, ‘I’ve never been treated this well in my first week at a new job.’ I’m really looking forward to bringing on some guests who can speak on this topic.” 

What has Been Your Favorite Episode of the Show so Far?

Jeremy: “I really enjoy talking with Rebecca Brewster, President & COO of the American Transportation Research Institute. We have a good natural rapport that always leads to a great interview. I would also say any episode that features Leah Shaver is great too. She has such a great personality and is so knowledgeable about our industry. Every time she’s on, I know that listeners are going to come away with something they didn’t know before.” 

Chad: “I don’t know if I have one specific favorite episode, but I’ve really enjoyed when I’ve been able to be very transparent with the audience and talk about our internal processes and how we operationalize our values. What I mean is that if a company says, ‘these are our values,’ then how are they actually living those out? In those episodes, we lay out exactly how to do this at Brand Outcomes, with concrete examples that carriers can implement right now into their own businesses.” 

Jeremy Reymer is the founder and CEO of DriverReach. You can find new episodes of Taking the Hire Road every week on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube.

Chad Hendricks is the President of Brand Outcomes, Inc. You can find new episodes of Recruit & Retain: Trucking Edition every week on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and YouTube. 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

Get the Ebook