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How to Improve Remote Onboarding for Truck Drivers

Whether digital process enhancements have been underway at your company for years or are completely new in your fleet, Coronavirus changed everything. Many tried and true processes for hiring, onboarding, and training are simply not feasible right now. With the possibility of continued social distancing looking likely, establishing a protocol for remote onboarding is well worth the time. Here are a few best practices that have proven successful in the trucking industry.

Prioritize People

Driver safety has to be a high priority for all fleets during this time. Drivers have questions about everything from orientation to sanitation. It’s important to address these concerns quickly and compassionately.

As you hire new drivers, it may be tempting to increase efficiency by removing human contact in the onboarding process and relying solely on technology. In this case, removing the personal touch is a counterproductive strategy. 

With reduced face to face contact, reaching out to new employees becomes even more important. Each interaction becomes more meaningful because there are fewer touchpoints. Studies have demonstrated that most driver turnover happens within one year. With such limited time, it’s critical to start out on the right foot. What you do in response to the challenges of trucking during Coronavirus will leave a lasting impression. With that in mind, even with remote onboarding, make every effort to warmly welcome new drivers into your company. 

Get Organized

Transitioning to remote onboarding for the foreseeable future may require a significant shift in workflow. As you prepare to refine the rapidly implemented processes of this spring, consider what you will need to move more permanently to remote onboarding. 

Gather the requisite hiring documents and establish a secure system for sharing them with drivers. That might include driver contracts, tax documentation, and any other hiring forms you typically request. 

Throughout the entire process, allocate more time than you would usually consider necessary. Both management and employees are likely going through several “first-times.” A buffer allows everyone involved to work through challenges without the pressure of a tight deadline.

Digitize Your Material

Review the training files you would normally give to new drivers. If a digital copy doesn’t already exist, make one and decide how you will share that information. Fleets with greater financial flexibility may consider working with a learning management system designed for onboarding truck drivers. For companies on a tight budget, start with free tools like online repositories that let you share files and folders. Drivers should be able to access much of their training material remotely.

There are some training components that work well in person but fall flat online. Avoid trying to use materials designed for in-person orientation in exactly the same format online. Instead, use this time to consider how that information is best presented in a virtual format. Often, that means shorter “in-person” sessions, and more opportunities for drivers to learn at their own pace.

Communicate Clearly

As you move forward with changes to your remote onboarding process, don’t forget that drivers are also in uncharted territory. Many drivers may not immediately be comfortable with using technology for onboarding. For some drivers, this may be the first time they are using many of the online job training tools. 

Prior to the onboarding process, communicate with drivers about exactly what they can expect. 

If you are using specific technologies, share the details early. When possible, give drivers time to explore programs like video calls on their own to prepare. Any guidance you can offer on accessing information will also help smooth the process. 

Infuse Your Culture

Driver orientation and onboarding is about more than information sharing from your company. It’s also when drivers meet their peers and supervisors. It’s hard to replace this kind of natural networking in remote onboarding. Video calls, social networks, and personal phone calls or emails all help bridge the gap.

During orientation, consider arranging at least one video call for all new drivers. This is also the perfect opportunity to launch a mentoring program. Then, new drivers meet other members of the fleet and have at least one personal connection to regularly connect with as they start their new job.

quick-guide-to-remote-onboarding-truck-drivers

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Remote Onboarding for Truck Drivers

Is remote onboarding the new normal in trucking? This quick guide is packed with tips to get you started or help you optimize your current remote onboarding process.

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Total Compensation for Drivers: Communicating Effectively

Job offers that are limited to salary and health benefits tell a partial story. If you have great perks, equipment, or company culture, don’t miss a chance to talk about it! Total Compensation statements are a great way to showcase all of the direct and indirect compensation benefits you are offering to truck drivers. They won’t make up for bad pay, but they are a good way to highlight all of the assets you have to offer. In short, a total compensation package accounts for the complete pay package awarded to employees on an annual basis.

Direct compensation is the money that is paid directly to an employee. It typically includes base salary and incentive pay. On the other hand, indirect compensation accounts for all of the compensation that is not paid directly to the employee. Healthcare, retirement benefits, fuel perks, and continuing education opportunities are just a few examples of indirect compensation.

When talking to a candidate, share both the direct and indirect compensation to effectively communicate what you have to offer.

Typically, the more detail you’re able to give, the more beneficial the statement will be. Here are several common assets to include in a total compensation package.

Direct Compensation

Direct Compensation is divided into two main categories⁠—base pay and bonuses. These are the most common forms of compensation that come to mind for most people.

Base Pay

Whether you state base pay as an hourly rate or annual salary, be clear about your offering. At a minimum, include how much can drivers expect, the anticipated hours or miles, and how frequently they will get paid. If your company offers a per diem rate, this can also be included.

Bonuses

Clarify the potential for driver bonuses from the start. A few of the most common are safety, sign-on, performance, retention, and referral bonuses. Consider sharing the average amount that drivers receive from bonuses in addition to the top amount. By sharing both, drivers have realistic expectations (boosting driver satisfaction and retention) and a goal to strive for.

Indirect Compensation

Indirect compensation includes a very broad range of offerings. Most companies offer several forms of indirect compensation, but may not discuss it in their job offer. That’s a missed opportunity! Let drivers know about all of the benefits you’re providing them. While it may not come as money in the pocket, indirect compensation can be significant financial assets. Drivers who are a good fit for your fleet will value the benefits your company provides.

Health and Wellness

Medical benefits, life insurance, retirement benefits, and disability insurance are all common forms of health and wellness benefits. Nearly all fleets offer basic healthcare, and many go above and beyond. This section should communicate when benefits start as well as the details of each package. If you offer a 401K match, that’s another great asset to include in this section. Even perks like a gym membership allowance or smoking cessation programs can be included here. Drivers love to see that you are prioritizing their health by supporting their healthy habits. 

Days off

Paid time off and vacation days are another form of indirect compensation that drivers value highly. If you are offering any additional sick days or benefits for drivers who get sick with COVID-19, make sure your total compensation package includes that time. In addition, always include the anticipated schedule for home time in a job description or compensation package. 

Continued Education

Learning and development offerings are a wealth of opportunities for drivers. Many potential employees will be particularly excited to find a company that supports their professional growth. Whether you offer compensation for educational assistance programs or regularly facilitate career advancement opportunities, these are a form of indirect compensation. Not all drivers will take advantage of continued education opportunities, but those who do will be highly appreciative. 

Perks

Once you have covered the big benefits like health insurance and PTO, it might be easy to overlook smaller perks, but they add up! Perks can help drivers with big expenses such as relocation benefits or maintenance benefits. They might also defray the cost of smaller, regular expenses such as highway tolls, or gas. If you offer an EZ Pass or a Fuel Card, list it in your total compensation package.

Highlight Non-Financial Incentives

When asked, drivers revealed that there are consistently two top factors that determine whether they are looking for a new job: pay and company culture. Company leadership and culture are difficult to equate to a compensation amount. That said, they are no less important to driver recruitment and retention. If you prioritize a family-like culture or are very safety-minded, it’s appropriate to include this in your total compensation package. 

Foodliner, Inc. is one of the largest bulk food carriers in the country and a Transport Topic Top 100 carrier. They make a point to highlight company culture in their job descriptions. We spoke with Tim Yochum, Foodliner’s Director of Recruiting, and this is what he shared:

“The culture of a family owned business that values their people, treats them with respect, and works well together as a team is what makes us successful and provides a more positive experience for the driver. We have late model equipment, high quality shops, and a great customer base, but in the end it is people that make it all work.”

Similarly, quality equipment is a high priority for most drivers and can be included. Consider adding the year and type of truck as well as whether it is manual or automatic. Then, highlight any additions to the cab. If you provide a fridge, microwave, Sirius XM radio, or allow ride-along programs, share it in your total compensation package. To recruit drivers, there are also other attractive non-financial incentives that you can implement.

Communicating Total Compensation Effectively

After you have clarified exactly what your company is able to offer potential candidates, start drafting the total compensation statement. Ultimately, you’re looking for good hires and strong retention. Tim Yochum shares why he prioritizes transparency at Foodliner:

“We list non-monetary compensation in our job postings and if a candidate contacts us we are very open to providing the details of the compensation so they understand how this can affect their total compensation package. Honesty up front verses a surprise later is what we feel candidates value and appreciate. We feel that if the only reason you take a job is the money, then that will eventually be the reason you leave the job. We want the candidate to understand how the total package affects them and their family.”

Give as much detail as you are able to clearly share. It’s important for drivers to have all of the necessary information to make a decision. Even if drivers decline the job offer, that is a better outcome than hiring drivers with misleading information. If drivers feel like they have been intentionally deceived, they are more likely to quit and will have a poor impression of the company. There should be no hidden surprises. Clear communication that highlights everything you have to offer is the best approach to a total compensation package.

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7 Reasons Drivers Decline Your Jobs

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

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How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Trucking Industry

The trucking industry overall is very dynamic, with plenty of changes over time. However, one thing that seems slow to change is the general perception of a typical trucker. Older, white, and male are the words that many people think of when picturing a truck driver. That stereotype exists because it has been true for a long time. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. So when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the trucking industry, what can be done to change the narrative?

In recent years, things are changing from the “old guy club” people sometimes describe. The data tells us that there is a “new face of trucking” starting to emerge. This new change should start to shift those old perceptions.

Per the US Census Bureau: Among younger truckers under age 35, more of them are women, Hispanic, and more educated than their older counterparts age 55 and older.

This means that for the younger people entering the trucking industry, they’re also more demographically diverse than the historically typical driver. This change is a welcomed one for those who have been looking to broaden the pool of candidates for their open jobs. If you’re looking to change things at the local hiring level, here are some ideas of how to promote diversity and inclusion in the trucking industry.

Change Your Demographics

One way to keep pace with the changes, is to have a hiring plan that helps you broaden your reach and mix of applicants.

Women

female truck drivers

As mentioned, trucking has historically been a male-dominated field. However, statistics also show that female trucker numbers are growing. You want to find ways to bring women into the industry, and as a hiring manager, you want to avoid making mistakes that keep women from wanting to work for your company.

Addressing female driver’s concerns up-front, will help appeal to more women applying for your open jobs.

Things like safety, equipment ergonomics and company culture are more important to many women drivers than male drivers. Putting a priority on these things can lead to more female candidates, and ultimately new hires.

Millennials

Truck driving can be a great career for younger people. It’s a terrific way to get paid to travel the country. Truck drivers can make great money, and bringing in younger drivers can establish company loyalty with these new drivers. Putting a strategy in place to recruit younger drivers is another great way to promote diversity and inclusion in the trucking industry.

Focusing on wellness and benefits is helpful when appealing to younger people.

Reaching younger people via through social media channels works well with this group. Making the application process fully electronic and user-friendly is a bonus for millennial recruiting as well.

Develop a Good Plan

Just like any good long-term strategy, you need a good plan. Set a clear vision and assemble a team to work towards your goals. From there, you need to develop and add details your plan to make it work. Think through multiple scenarios until you’re certain the plan is solid. Implement your plan and then evaluate to see what’s working and what’s not working.

If your company only has bandwidth to focus on one or two changes, start there. Once you see the positive changes you set out to make, continue working the plan. You can reevaluate as you go.

Be the face of change that you want to see. If the culture of your company is non-inclusive, you might find it difficult to start to make changes. We know referrals from current drivers are a reliable source of new leads. So, the more diverse your base of employees, the more likely you would have a more diverse set of referral leads to filter. Continuing to change your culture to a more inclusive one is a great start if you want to promote diversity and inclusion in the trucking industry.

The Quick Guide to Employee Value Proposition

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Employee Value Proposition

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

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How to Use Behavioral Interviewing to Hire Better Drivers

It takes more than a valid commercial driver’s license and a good safety record to be a top-performing professional truck driver. A driver may meet all the minimum technical requirements for the job. They may have previous tractor-trailer experience, a valid license type, and the required endorsements. Even so, that driver still may not fit your job or company well.

To reduce driver turnover and improve your company culture, prioritize the quality and fit of your drivers. Building a high performing team requires evaluating and rewarding drivers. That’s true for not only the work a driver does but also how they do their work. No one can predict how successful someone will be in their job. That said, behavioral interviewing will help you hire better drivers by evaluating their previous performance as a signal of their future performance.

What is Behavioral Interviewing and How is it Different?

Behavioral interviewing is based on the belief that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Behavioral interviewing states that how a candidate has handled a situation in the past is the best way to understand and predict how they will behave in the future.

This style of interviewing uses historic evidence from a candidate to predict future behavior using behavioral competencies, not traits or skills.

Competencies as a benchmark for hiring were introduced by psychologists in the early 1970s. Studies were conducted that demonstrated that knowledge-based and intelligence tests did not accurately predict candidate success in a new role. In time, psychologists developed competencies based on empirical data gathered by job incumbents with exceptional performance in specific functional roles. Competency models have become the core of modern behavioral interviewing. One set that is widely used is the detailed list of 67 competencies known as the Lominger competencies.

Vocabulary to Know

As you prepare to use behavioral interviewing with your staff, there are a few phrases to clarify. Get to know the differences so you can differentiate between them during an interview.

 Traits 

Traits are characteristics that are deeply ingrained and typically don’t change a lot over time. Gregariousness is a good example of a trait.

Attributes/Skills

Attributes are skills in the context of a behavior. They typically develop because of experiences, and people often learn attributes over time. A few examples are motivation and loyalty. Look for evidence of these attributes such as a job promotion.

 Competencies

Competencies are a combination of skills and behaviors. An interviewer can easily identify and measure competencies. They are the way we practice certain behaviors. Problem-solving, priority setting, and conflict management are examples of competencies.

How It Works

behavioral interviewingTo successfully use behavioral interviewing, there are a few steps. First, review a competency chart. Then, identify the competencies that are most important to successfully doing the jobs you have open.  For all truck drivers, planning, problem-solving, and time management are likely to be high on your list.

For drivers who regularly work with customers, you may prioritize customer focus. On the other hand, it may be a secondary priority for OTR drivers who spend long hours solo on the road with less customer interaction. For an OTR position, problem-solving and technical skills may be key.

Once you know the required competencies, develop a list of behavioral-based interview questions. You will need one question for each competency to assess whether candidates have what you need. All behavioral interviewers should train in the STAR model before evaluating candidates. This teaches interviewers to ask questions that allow the candidate to describe his or her past experiences. Interviewers will listen closely for the Situation or Task the candidate encountered, the Actions they took, and the Result of their actions. Interviewers should assess each answer while citing behavioral indicators that verify how the candidate previously showed behaviors that led to success.

Benefits of Behavioral Interviewing

Everyone wants to sound their best during an interview, and it’s natural for humans to be selective in their storytelling. It’s all too easy for a candidate to embellish or stretch the truth when talking about themselves. Unfortunately, as an interviewer, this makes your job very difficult. Even a well-meaning enhancement of what a driver would do in a situation can create a biased interview. It’s much harder to completely make up a situation that has already happened. When in doubt, there are often other sources who can confirm what a driver has said.

Behavioral interviewing was developed to more accurately assess candidates based on behavior-based proof and to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process. This type of hiring helps interviewers to look for competencies rather than traits. Then, you are more likely to hire based on the ability to successfully perform a job. It will also reduce hiring bias toward candidates who seem like a good fit primarily because they look, sound, or behave like you.

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

Recruiters work hard to bring in valuable driver leads. Are you making the most of them? From the first point of engagement to the job offer, your drivers offer valuable insight. Use this data to inform your recruitment process and optimization areas. The recruitment funnel should be realistic and efficient. Focus on hiring rather than strictly lead generation. Use these tips to optimize your recruitment strategy and ensure you’re making the most of your valuable driver leads.

1. Lead Attribution

There are two main models of lead attribution—single-touch models and multi-touch models. Single-touch models clarify pain points at particular stages in the recruitment process. Multi-touch models provide a holistic view of your recruitment process. Single and multi-touch models are also divided into smaller subsets. Each of the models has benefits and drawbacks. You may implement different models at different times as you continuously analyze your lead to hire process. Randall Reilly’s comprehensive video covers each lead attribution model in detail. Here are the highlights.

Single-Touch Lead Attribution

First Touch Model: As the name implies, this type of lead attribution is analyzed based on the point where a consumer makes first contact with your company. Drivers still have a long journey through your sales or recruitment pipeline. This model is most helpful in determining how drivers are being introduced to your company, particularly within a single campaign. 

Last Touch Model: This model similarly analyzes a single point of contact for a driver, but this time at the end of the recruiting funnel. The last touch model rests on the idea that it is most helpful to understand the point where the sales/recruiting effort is successfully closed. As a result, credit is given to the final point of contact in the recruiting pipeline. This model is a good fit for companies who are bringing in leads and want to analyze the success of a single closing campaign or compare results between campaigns. 

Multi-Touch Lead Attribution

Linear Attribution Model: The linear attribution model is the simplest way to track leads at multiple stages or across multiple campaigns in your recruitment pipeline. Each stage is weighted equally in importance. While multi-touch models are inherently more complex than single-touch models, linear attribution is a good place to start a broad analysis of your recruitment funnel. 

Time Decay Model: This model also examines leads at each point of contact or across campaigns, but it weights the stages of your funnel differently. The first points of contact are weighted less heavily, and more significance is given to points of contact that are closest to the point of conversion. This model can be particularly helpful with long recruitment funnels with time between each of the touch-points.

Position-Based Model: Like the Time Decay model, the Position-Based model unevenly weights lead attribution. Credit is more heavily attributed to the first and last points in your funnel that a driver encountered. This model implies that the first and last points of contact are the most important to successful recruiting. This model may be a good fit for companies that rely on long-tail lead nurturing because it weights your most important interactions more heavily. 

2. Allocating Paid Marketing

Once the research is done and you have a better understanding of your lead-to-hire process, paid marketing can amplify your impact. Assess your lead attribution model and determine which channels are driving your success. 

As you decide which marketing campaigns and platforms to elevate, keep the number of quality hires, and not the number of leads, as your north star. 

Ultimately, regardless of how many valuable driver leads you acquire, success is a hire. It’s important to understand your cost per lead (CPL), but the cost per hire should be the final decision-maker. In the end, a channel that has a low CPL but high cost per hire is less valuable than a channel with a lower cost per hire. Allocate your paid marketing to the channels with the lowest cost per hire.

3. Know Your Target Driver

The leads you are generating are more than potential hires. They are also reflections of your recruiting message. Make a point to understand the basic profile of your applicants. Then, examine which drivers are moving furthest through your recruitment funnel. Do they fit the persona of a driver who is a good fit for your company? If so, that’s confirmation that your messaging is resonating with the right people. If not, it may be a good opportunity to refine your content. 

Lead tracking is another valuable tool to understand the people behind your leads. Determine where your strongest applicants are coming from. That data, combined with carefully targeted messaging, can help you align your recruitment strategy to be attractive to the drivers you really want. A clear understanding of the people who make up your valuable driver leads will help you create an employee value proposition and write successful job descriptions

Free Template: Truck Driver Job Description

Follow this template to make sure your job descriptions are converting.

4. Create a Realistic and Efficient Recruitment Funnel

To make the most of your valuable driver leads, set appropriate hiring targets. If possible, use historic data from the past 1-2 years on the hiring trends for your company.

Like many industries, trucking has seasonal peaks and troughs. These may correspond to your type of freight. Also consider that drivers who change jobs at different points of the year may be attracted by slightly different messages. Aligning your marketing strategy with natural seasonal flux will help you maximize your budget and your recruiting efforts. 

5. Improve the Quality of Your Leads

Inbound marketing is the gold standard because it brings valuable driver leads to you. Optimize your inbound digital marketing efforts with a few quick updates to your intake process. Review your site for appropriate and mobile-friendly calls to action as you share company information with drivers. Then, consider how drivers are sharing their information with you. Collecting qualifying information early on is key. Even though it may deter some drivers, it will ensure that the drivers you do get are qualified for your position.  

For example, when recruiting HazMat drivers with 2+ years of experience, ask for that information on an intake form. Then, sort your leads by that information and only pursue candidates who meet your criteria.

Similarly, cultivate your brand image and company reputation so they can be used as assets. In-person or virtual Word of Mouth and Referrals are some of the most effective marketing channels. When drivers learn about your company and turn to Glassdoor, Facebook, or Google for insight from other drivers, what will they see? Develop an online presence that will make drivers excited to learn more about your company and available positions.

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

hiring truck drivers

Recruiting is all about building, maintaining, and nurturing personal relationships. In this uncertain time, there’s one counterintuitive rule to remember. Even if you’re not hiring truck drivers, keep recruiting. Doing so will help you smoothly transition back to hiring drivers when your fleet is back to normal. 

Maintaining your recruitment efforts may seem like the last thing you’d want to do when you’re downsizing. Don’t be lulled into complacency. If you only focus on your plans for the next few weeks, you will be too late. Continuing to nurture your pipeline is critical to your company’s long-term health, but your strategy may have to change as a result of the global health crisis. Uncertain times require improvising, adapting, and overcoming obstacles. When you’re not actively hiring truck drivers, focus on building relationships in your recruitment pipeline. Here are a few best practices.

1. Don’t Lose Interested Applicants

As HR professionals know all too well, recruiting isn’t a faucet that you can turn on and off. Leads that are not consistently nurtured will turn cold and disengage. Even when you’re not hiring truck drivers, it’s important to develop your relationships for future employment.

Consider that consumers typically take three to nine months to make a decision. In this case, your jobs are a product, and applicants are your consumers. Most people spend the majority of our waking hours at work, and making a job change is a really big decision.

It’s too early to predict when freight demands will increase and hiring will resume, but you need to be ready. Continue to build a relationship with interested drivers. Found out what is important to them and whether you are a good fit. Then, when the time comes to bring in drivers, you’ll be prepared to quickly fill your open positions.

2. Stay Visible

Dee Sova from Prime Trucking

Example Campaign from Drive My Way

It’s important to stay top of mind for drivers even if you’re not hiring right now. While more drivers are in the market for a new job now, the competition remains very high for experienced, high performing drivers with exceptional safety records. A lull in recruiting is a good time to promote marketing campaigns. Highlight your current drivers with tasteful video campaigns.

There is no better endorsement for being a great place to work than one from current drivers who are happy that they joined and chose to stay. You can also take advantage of social media trends like #thankatrucker. Provide resources for current and prospective drivers to increase brand awareness and strengthen ties to your company. 

As a recruiter, it’s important to keep your energy high even when working from home. Continue making calls to drivers. Cultivating relationships in a hiring slowdown will make you an obvious choice when drivers are changing jobs in the future. Drivers are not shy about sharing their experiences with others. Employers will be remembered for the actions they took and how they treated drivers during this difficult time. 

3. Fine-Tune Your Message

With uncertainty rippling through the trucking industry, clear, positive communication is more important than ever. As a fleet, the best strategy is to be transparent about your position.

If you are not hiring new drivers, be honest with applicants. Even if you are not able to offer jobs right now, be a resource to drivers.

In recruitment conversations and all other company messaging, strive to acknowledge the current hardships, be authentic, and offer valuable, curated information that drivers can use. This is also an opportunity to optimize your outreach with video campaigns and a mobile-friendly interface. Setting the appropriate tone helps drivers respect and relate to your brand and will foster relationships with potential hires. 

4. Seek Out Opportunities That May Be Available in a Few Months

A hiring lull is the perfect time to look toward the future. The strategic recruiting plan that you laid out in early 2020 may or may not be the right fit for your company going forward. As you approach hiring for Q3 and Q4 of 2020 and beyond, do you anticipate your hiring needs changing? What is different about the drivers you need to recruit and how will your company meet those demands? Use the Drive My Way Ultimate Guide for Truck Driver Recruiting to create a comprehensive recruitment plan for the months ahead.

It is more important than ever to understand what drivers prioritize in a job.

Previously, drivers may have been asking for local jobs or flexible rider policies. Now, their focus may be on PTO policies for sickness or your truck cleaning standards. Listen carefully to what drivers are looking for and shape your marketing and recruiting efforts accordingly. This recruitment slowdown is also a great time to offer operations experience to recruiters to help your whole team align with current drivers’ experiences. Pairing a recruiter with a dispatcher or terminal manager may give them a perspective on drivers’ needs.

5. Prepare for Continued Remote Processes

Slowly but surely, companies are re-opening and finding a new normal. The widespread shutdowns due to COVID-19 will continue to ease, but the effects of the pandemic are likely to linger for far longer. With millions of Americans becoming remote workers overnight, virtual recruiting and onboarding have become the norm for many companies. Even as restrictions on in-person work environments are relaxed, prepare to manage your candidate lifecycle virtually.

While the circumstances have caused us to adapt and be distant, that does not mean that we have to lose the personal connection. In recent years, several companies, including Luma Brighter Learning, have started offering online Learning Management Systems (LMS) for onboarding truck drivers. It’s a strategy that is effective for both companies and drivers. We spoke with Luma Brighter Learning CEO, Gina Anderson, and she shared her perspective on why synchronous online learning is a great option for trucking fleets.

“The carriers are saving time, they’re saving money, they’re becoming more efficient, and they’re making their drivers happy.” Gina continued, “There’s not one way to train people. That’s why it’s so valuable to be able to provide mixed methods of training [using platforms like Luma]. You don’t have to get rid of synchronous (same-time) training — you can do it online. Drivers can learn any time, any place.”

Gina Anderson went on to add that it’s no longer a question of whether or not to implement online learning systems for drivers. Drivers still value real-time connections with peers, mentors, and trainers, so companies should be asking themselves how to make virtual onboarding possible. Asking drivers to complete the basics in a synchronous online environment is a cost-effective strategy to streamline your onboarding process while still complying with social distancing restrictions and engaging your driver community.  

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

truck driver layoffs

By March 2020, it had become evident that COVID-19 had spread to the United States, but it was difficult to anticipate the nuances of the economic fallout to come. The trucking industry has been deemed essential, yet few people accurately predicted the vastly different outcomes that would divide the industry. The fate for many fleets hinges on the presence or absence of a single word. “Essential.” That designation has created a feast and famine situation that has left some companies scrambling to hire drivers while others face heart-breaking truck driver layoffs.

If you are one of the companies that has been forced to consider layoffs and furloughs, you have our sympathy. These are difficult times that demand that you to make difficult decisions for yourself, your drivers, and your company. As you move forward, we encourage you to, above all, prioritize people.

Be a Hero to America’s Heroes

The way you treat drivers during hard times and bad situations will be the way they will always remember you. Choose respect, honor, and integrity. Even if you have to lay off drivers or place them on furlough, support them where you can. Here are a few ways you can help your drivers if a layoff is unavoidable.

1. Get Drivers Home Safely

Your truck drivers work hard for you. Make sure you don’t leave them with loose ends. If you have truck driver layoffs, treat your drivers how you would want to be treated.

Get drivers home safely and don’t turn off their fuel cards. Doing so demonstrates to your drivers that you care about them as people and not just for the work they do. The cost to your company is small compared to the respected reputation you earn.

2. Be Clear in Your Communication, Especially About Jobs

Each truck driver who is laid off is going to start looking for another job, but first, they will have an important question for you. Should they anticipate their job coming back? Unfortunately, most of us don’t have an easy answer to that question. As an HR professional or executive, the best approach is transparency. If there is a possibility you may hire again soon, let them know. Do you anticipate that it may be a long dry spell in hiring? Be honest about that as well, and connect your drivers to job finding resources like Drive My Way.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Valuable Resources

You may be facing quite a few truck driver layoffs within your company. Each person will react to the news differently, but many of them will have the same questions. Prepare for some of their most immediate concerns and questions your drivers might have. Drivers may ask how to file for unemployment, whether their health coverage will continue, and whether they will have disability insurance. Soon, they will become more work-focused as they begin looking for a new job and may wonder if they need to register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse.

Drive My Way’s displaced driver resources can help you navigate these questions and we’re here to help get your drivers back on the road as soon as they’re ready.

Displaced Driver Resources

Help drivers transition, search for a job, and care for their families.

How to Have the Hard Conversation

No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, especially in such uncertain times. If you do have to make layoffs in your company, strive to be clear, concise, and compassionate. Your drivers are aware of the economic uncertainty right now, so don’t sugarcoat the truth. Acknowledge that no one is at fault for the global crisis, but it is creating very difficult circumstances for your company. Reassure drivers that your decision is not because of their performance and that they have been a valued part of your team.

Here’s our conscientious layoff template for getting started with hard conversations.

Due to the current economic state, it saddens me to share that we, unfortunately, need to downsize our fleet. This affects our entire company and is an extremely tough decision for us to make. Our drivers have gone above and beyond for our company, and we want to help you transition during these difficult times. We respect you, appreciate you, and want to assist you and your family. We hope to operate at full capacity again in the near future but, unfortunately, can’t anticipate a new start date due to the unstable state of the economy. In the meantime, we’re committed to providing you with resources as you make this transition and would like to stay in touch as our situation changes and we are able to hire again.

Consider the Health Impact on Managers

As you strive to be compassionate toward your employees, don’t forget to safeguard your own physical and mental health. Leaders who are consistently having to deliver layoff notifications to drivers and staff won’t get much sympathy from other employees but are likely coping with a tremendous amount of stress themselves. You might notice stress as the subtler signs of increased irritation or frequent headaches. For others, it might be obvious. Difficulty sleeping at night, emotional breakdowns, and the development of serious health concerns all point to stress. For the health of yourself, your colleagues, and your company, you can’t afford to ignore these signs.

To keep moving forward, give yourself time and space when you need it. Anxiety and stress over layoffs are normal. Be honest and compassionate with yourself, just as you are with your employees.

Ask yourself:

  1. Have I acted with integrity?
  2. Have I made well-educated decisions with the best interest of my company in mind?
  3. Am I systematically looking for solutions to sustain my company through this drought?

If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, be a little less hard on yourself. You are doing exactly what you should be. Manage stress by making time for exercise and healthy meals. Even on the busiest days, carve out a few hours of time each day to completely detach from work. You are the strongest asset to your company when you are able to work productively and maintain perspective on your job.

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We’ll Get Through This Together

Times like these create uncertainty, but they also lead to opportunity. We’re here to help you and your team, whether you’re downsizing or growing.

clearinghouse judgement gavel

The FMCSA Clearinghouse went into effect in January of this year. As with many industry-wide changes, there were some technical problems early on, but now, 90 days later, the majority of these have been resolved. 

The intent of the Clearinghouse was to identify drivers with positive DOT drug and alcohol tests. It is doing just that. Nearly 8,000 positive results have been identified. That may seem like a severe reduction in available drivers. However, it does increase the percentage of candidates who are eligible for employment. It also reduces the likelihood that a good carrier loses a driver to a less reputable company. The Clearinghouse ensures that companies are following the same hiring policies. 

Here’s how you can make the most of the FMCSA Clearinghouse.

1. Reduce Processing Delays

As with any new system implementation, it will take some time for the Clearinghouse to become a well oiled machine. In the meantime, one of the best ways to improve your user experience is by reducing the processing delays. In order for your request to be processed, drivers must have already completed their CDL information. To confirm whether a driver has registered, ask them login to their Clearinghouse account. If the driver has not fully registered, there will be a note on the account prompting them to do so. 

If you are confident that the driver has completed their CDL information but your query is still pending, it may be lacking driver consent. To authorize a query, a driver must login and give consent for employers to access their record. If the driver has logged in and cannot see the consent request, you can cancel the original request and resend an identical one to reset the process. 

2. Take Advantage of Bulk Uploads

If you have a large batch of queries to process simultaneously from the Clearinghouse, consider conducting a bulk upload. Use the FMCSA’s bulk upload template.  To do a bulk upload, create a tab-delimited file that can be uploaded to the Clearinghouse. The file should include the following fields:

  • LastName 
  • FirstName
  • Date of Birth. Format is MM/DD/YYYY
  • CDL – Commercial Driver’s License or Commercial Learner’s Permit Number
  • Country Code of CDL issuance. For Canada: CN; Mexico: MX, United States: US
  • State of CDL issuance. For the U.S. and Canada, use two letter State/Province codes. Use MX for Mexico
  • Query Type – Choose one of the following:
    1. Limited Query
    2. Full Query
    3. Pre-employment Query
    4. Limited Query with Automatic Consent Request

3. Be Proactive

Employers are now required to conduct a query on potential employees before they operate a CMV. So, it is in your interest to expedite the process if possible. Many drivers have already registered on the Clearinghouse if they are job searching. Unfortunately, there are also still many who haven’t. As you approach the point of hire with a new driver, be proactive and ask them whether they are registered. Going forward, make this a standard part of your interview or hiring process. You can help drivers register if they haven’t already. 

4. Manage Existing Employees

At the time of the creation of the Clearinghouse, all drivers were added to the system. That does not mean that all drivers are registered.

As an employer, you do not need to register drivers who are existing employees.

For drivers who are already with your company, you can use the Clearinghouse to conduct your annual review. It is only when drivers are at the point of changing jobs or being hired, that they must be registered. 

5. Understand the Nuances

All drivers who are hired for CDL-A positions going forward will need to pass the Clearinghouse query. That said, the query does not need to have been completed by the time of hire.

Drivers can be hired by a new employer, but are prohibited from operating a commercial motorized vehicle (CMV) until they pass the Clearinghouse.

Employers can now decide whether to incorporate the Clearinghouse query prior to the point of employment, or to complete the query following employment but prior to operation of a CMV.

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team drivers

Is there a clear benefit to team truck driving? With regulations on the number of hours an individual driver can run, it sounds like it should be a simple answer. Two drivers in one truck can turn more miles in less time than one driver. And therefore, they can get more work done for you. But is it really that easy when it comes to team drivers? For a recruiter, here are 3 benefits of hiring a team.

1. Offer Above Average Pay

When deliveries need to go a long distance in the shortest amount of time, your buyers will pay a premium for that service. And those premiums can be distributed down to the team drivers that make it happen.

When hiring team drivers, you can let your drivers know that there’s a financial incentive for the jobs that you’re filling.

Each driver on the team usually will make a higher average salary than if they drove alone.  And if they’re willing to put in the work, you’re willing to compensate drivers accordingly.

2. Driver Safety & Health

You want to hire drivers who do whatever it takes to get the job done, safely. Without someone keeping a driver in check, this could lead to driver(s) pushing past their physical limits or even considering taking shortcuts that might risk their safety.

When there’s another driver in the cab, there’s always a back-up ready to go when one driver gets too tired or isn’t feeling well.

Drivers know that they can count on their teammate. And that’s there’s safety in numbers. By using team drivers, you can potentially provide that built-in double check for your drivers.

3. Companionship

No matter how your individual internal teams are determined, compatibility is the key to success when it come to team drivers. With teams, they can provide each other the one thing that a solo driver can’t avoid: hours and hours of being alone on the road. When hiring for retention, hiring team drivers vs solo drivers is an important tactic. Employing drivers who are a part of team and can potentially do double-duty over the road is key to a successful team strategy over the road. Having the right partner is key.

Bonus: What to Evaluate When Assigning Partners

Here are key things to evaluate when assigning team partners.

 

For carriers that need long-haul runs, in very short amounts of time, hiring a team is a great opportunity to meet these needs. There’s a number of options for team drivers, and it’s worth looking into when optimizing your driver fleets. Having two drivers to do the work of one driver, could be a good solution when rounding out your team. Every carrier is looking to maximize the return of time and effort put into developing their drivers. Leveraging team drivers is a great way to do that.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

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employee value proposition

It’s time to go back to your roots. Every company needs to identify their business value proposition. An employee value proposition is exactly the same. Identify your employee value proposition, and consider it your north star. 

As you grow as a carrier, it’s easy for your core hiring offerings to get lost. Avoid the trap. A strong employee value proposition is about more than improved marketing. It should drive everything from your recruiting to your business model. Can you answer in 1-3 sentences:

1. Why is my company different (and better) than the competition?
2. What about my company is attractive to truck drivers?

This is your Employee Value Proposition. 

hours of service proposed ruleWhy is an Employee Value Proposition Critical?

The way we recruit employees has changed. Over the past decade, candidates have been steadily becoming more and more powerful in the job search. As a result, attracting the best talent has become harder than ever. As an employer, consistent and efficient communication of your employee value proposition has become extremely important.

Tips to Make Your Employee Value Proposition Stand Out

Now that you have identified your employee value proposition, make sure you package it in a way that is attractive to candidates. Here are a few tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Move Beyond the Pay Rate

Your future drivers need more than a paycheck to be happy. It’s true, pay is often one of the first things cited by drivers as either a huge benefit of or drawback of a company, but you need to go deeper.

Start by thinking about what you have to offer as other forms of compensation: benefits, bonuses programs, loyalty incentives, other perks. Then, go beyond the finances.

Do you excel at creating a positive work culture or work environment with fair treatment or great home/family time? How about a focus on career? Career development opportunities and strong training or orientation programs can be very attractive to drivers. Make sure you can clearly identify what makes your company a great place to work. Then, talk about it! 

2. Make it Compelling

truck driver job description templateAn Employee Value Proposition should provide the foundation for your recruiting and retention strategy. It must be unique, compelling, and relevant if it is to act as a key driver of talent attraction, engagement, and retention. Be clear in what you offer, and make sure to cover all the core reasons that people are proud and motivated to work at your company. 

If you have a great company culture, try to capture your distinct company experience. Are your drivers offered good home time? Build on the emotional aspects of why your company considers that important. Those reasons will resonate with your drivers and tell them you care about their well being as an individual, both on and off the job. Make sure to incorporate your value proposition into your job descriptions.

Free Template: Truck Driver Job Description

Follow this template to make sure your job descriptions are converting.

 

3. Talk About it In the Interview

Crucial Conversations with Driver Candidates: 3 Ways to Prepare

When interviewing a truck driver, focus on why your company is better than the competition. You are considering these drivers as potential employees. But, they also need to be sold on your company. Why is your company so special? How are you different? Why do drivers want to join your company and stay with you? Don’t let a good candidate leave the interview without sharing your employee value proposition. They need to view your company as a strong personal and professional fit.

4. Focus on What Matters

An effective value proposition rests on the foundation of driver personas. When you know what kind of drivers you want, you can align your value proposition with their interests.

To Determine Your Driver Personas: 

  1. Define the most important characteristics of your ideal driver. Do you need someone who is:
    • Reliable/timely?
    • Confidence/perseverance?
    • Courteous/willing to help others?
    • A good mechanic?
    • Prioritizing healthy habits?
  2. Set your goals
    • How many drivers do you need?
    • What’s your typical recruiting conversion rate?
    • Based on that, how many leads do you need?
    • Do you currently have empty trucks?
    • How are you planning for future growth?  

Use your ideal driver persona and your company goals to steer your employee value proposition. When they are well aligned, you are more likely to attract the drivers you want to hire. 

5. Consider Your Candidates Against Your Employee Value Proposition

With a little training and practice, probably most people can manage to drive a tractor-trailer. However, professional truck driving is more than just getting a vehicle from Point A to Point B. 

Great truck drivers are much more than mere steering-wheel holders. Driving a heavy vehicle with its cargo of costly supplies and equipment and keeping to a demanding schedule isn’t a job for an ordinary driver.

Use your ideal driver persona to evaluate applicants. Then, consider whether those applicants are attracted by your Employee Value Proposition. If so, you’ve likely found a good fit. If not, you may want to consider what types of benefits would be most attractive to the types of drivers you want to recruit. Doing so will make it easier to recruit those drivers AND retain them for longer.

The Quick Guide to Employee Value Proposition

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Employee Value Proposition

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

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