The ongoing driver shortage is one of the top topics of conversation for every carrier nationwide. Given the fact that our truckers are responsible for moving 72% of our country’s freight, a lack of drivers equals a substantial disruption to the US supply chain. When you’re searching for ways to find and keep truck drivers, during this historic shortage, it’s important to know the difference between gimmicks like hefty signing bonuses and the tried and true strategies that actually work.
In a recent Work4 Survey, we found that while the signing bonus may have worked in the past, only about 8% of today’s drivers found them appealing in a job posting. In a time when carriers struggle not only to find enough qualified drivers who they want to hire, recruitment intelligence is precisely what trucking companies of all sizes need right now. (Download the complete guide free for easy reading and added bonus material or keep reading below the button.)
What’s Driving the Driver Shortage?
88% of fleet managers say they get plenty of applicants, but most of them aren’t qualified for the job.
The median age of an OTR trucker is 49, and nearly 25% of all drivers are 55 or older. Additionally, while the new DRIVE Act and the SDAP program aim to remove the barrier, the legal age for driving over state lines in a commercial rig is still 21 and over.
In our last driver survey, we asked drivers “what do you feel is the number one reason for the driver shortage?” 38% of drivers surveyed felt that low wages were the primary factor.
Lack of Work/Life Balance
The most common driver opportunities are OTR but drivers all want the work/life balance that comes with local jobs.
The Impact of COVID-19
The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated an already struggling industry and in general, reduced labor force participation in the transportation industry.
DON’T – Just Rely on the Usual Talent Sources
In today’s driver market, demand outpaces supply, which means it’s time to increase your investment in sourcing and recruiting initiatives to widen your candidate pools.
Find New Channels to Connect With Drivers
Recruiting websites like LinkedIn, and Indeed are popular for a reason, but they’re also incredibly crowded. Think outside the box and look into other channels like YouTube and TikTok.
Consider Virtual job Fairs
You don’t have to hold your own virtual job fair to try this recruiting approach. With Work4 you can join industry-specific virtual job fairs by state, or region.
Put Employer Branding to Work for You
A solid employer branding campaign can showcase what it is that sets you apart from the competition and bring qualified drivers to you.
DO – Accelerate Your Recruitment Process
The competition for top driver talent is fierce. Every delay in your hiring process represents an opportunity for candidates to accept a different offer. Don’t keep candidates waiting!
Modern recruiting technology can be used to automate everything from job posting to candidate nurturing and can significantly reduce the workload of your recruiters as well as increase your candidate engagement.
Be Prompt With Follow-up
Best practices say you should follow up with candidates within 8 minutes yet in our last survey 62% of drivers said that recruiters reach out to them on a less than weekly basis.
Harness the Power of Employee Referrals
Studies show that candidates hired through employee referrals are 55% faster to hire, compared with employees sourced through other channels.
DON’T – Rush the Onboarding Process
A solid driver retention strategy should start on day one. A strong onboarding process can lead to better on-the-job performance, improved job satisfaction, and reduced driver turnover.
Conduct Appropriate Background Checks & Screenings
You need drivers ASAP to fill your trucks, but not just any driver will do. Always conduct a thorough background check and driver screening to look for:
- Moving Violations
- Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Records
A little due diligence now could help you head off turnover as well as save you time and money down the road.
Create a Formal Orientation Program
If your company doesn’t already have a formal orientation and training program, now is the time to create one. This is your moment to prepare your new driver to perform all of the expected job requirements as well as give complete transparency regarding the workload.
Ask for Driver Input and Feedback
Consider conducting post-training interviews to ask new hires how they feel about the job so far. Listen to their feedback, and answer any questions they may have honestly.
DO – Prioritize Transparency & Communication
When it comes to your drivers you should always emphasize honesty, transparency, and open communication. Never let a driver feel disposable. Drivers who don’t feel like an integral part of the team won’t hesitate to leave.
In a recent survey, we asked drivers what they felt was driving the driver shortage. Unsurprisingly compensation was the number one answer, but numbers 2 & 3 may just surprise you.
- Lack of respect, transparency, and honesty 15%
- Failure to follow through on recruiting promises 22%
- Not enough pay 38%
When asked “What ONE factor would most affect your decision to change jobs for another fleet?”More respect/appreciation came in at #2 with 24% of drivers selecting it as their number one choice.
DON’T – Engage in Unsafe Practices
Your driver’s safety should always be a top priority. Take the time to make sure that they know it.
And, when updating or upgrading equipment or systems that affect safety, always outline how these changes will improve their safety.
Start With a Fleet Safety Plan or Policy
Each fleet should have a fleet safety program that establishes the key elements of safe fleet operations. A well thought out policy should define granular details about:
- Acceptable standards of driver performance
- Driving requirements and records
- Consequences of DUIs
- Collision policies
- Resources for drivers when they encounter issues on the road
- Rules about license suspension
- Penalties for poor vehicle care
- Critical maintenance and preventative maintenance baselines for company equipment.
You should have all drivers read and sign this plan and consistently send out communications that zero in on specific elements of the program as a continual reminder.
Stay on Top of Fleet Maintenance
This includes truck maintenance, inspections, and potential recalls. A truck that is overdue for an inspection can be dangerous for both your driver and other drivers on the road with them.
Incentivize Your Safety Program
Offer monthly or quarterly bonuses for drivers who achieve top safety goals or standards as a way to encourage employees to model exemplary behavior.
DO – Prioritize Driver Retention
During a driver shortage, one of the best strategies you can have is a focus on retention. Good truckers generally have their pick of jobs, but keeping them happy depends on more than a paycheck.
Beyond the Raise Hike
It’s no secret that retention can sit squarely on the shoulders of higher wages. But not every carrier can afford high salaries. If you have limitations on your salary offerings think outside the box with bonuses and perks that make your drivers feel appreciated.
By optimizing routes, you can reduce delivery times while increasing home time for your drivers. Our studies have shown that 60% of current drivers would be willing to take a reduced pay rate for more home time.
Map Out Advancement
Providing your drivers with opportunities to advance skills and grow professionally garners feelings of loyalty. If a company is willing to provide ongoing driver training and professional development opportunities, drivers are far more likely to stick around.
In the end, today’s driver candidates are looking for more than a paycheck. They want a promising career, good pay, work-life balance, strong company cultures, and a sense of belonging to the fleets they work for. Even during a driver shortage, carriers who can meet these demands will attract better-quality candidates, see lower churn and higher loyalty levels.
Take your recruiting game to the next level by implementing these do’s and don’ts and partnering with Work4 to fill your trucks with top-quality drivers.
From high-volume candidate lead generation to candidate nurturing, employer branding, and virtual job fairs, we have the ability to tailor the solution that is right for your fleet. And, before you go, don’t forget to download your free copy of the Guide to Do’s and Don’ts of Driver Hiring During the Driver Shortage.
All of the stats for this guide came from the research found in our Driver Recruiting Report 2022 Edition Download the free report now to gain valuable insight into creating a recruiting strategy that works!