In many industries, lifetime employment ending in generous pensions and retirement security have become a think of the past. Still, lifetime relationships remain important. Additionally, for those looking to replenish their operator ranks, rehiring former experienced, professional truck drivers who have departed may be just the answer.
For many fleets, exit survey results show that when truck drivers leave an organization for preventable or non-performance-related reasons, they would consider re-joining the company at a later date. Consider how difficult it is for some fleets to find qualified truck drivers, and you can see why this statistic if so important.
As the economy expands, if you want to lure your former truck drivers back, you have to create a reliable and effective return program that touches on every aspect of the organization, from recruiting to training and human resources – or employee relations.
Starting at the Door
The effort to bring back experienced truck drivers who contribute not only to your bottom line, but to your safety culture should begin with the recruiting department. Bundle these efforts with your recruiting budget.
What makes this method so valuable is that a rapport already exists between the recruiter and the candidate. There should be an opportunity for candid conversation based on what the potential employee already knows, from the organization’s mission to its management structure.
Also, consider that rehiring truck drivers already familiar with your equipment and practices are likely able to be trained in a shorter time frame. When they already know the systems, they should be a quick study.
Where the Challenge Lies
To say that re-hiring past operators comes with no inherent risk would be disingenuous. Considerations must be made. One of the most obvious being that the truck driver left in the first place. Why did they leave?
As an example, if someone left due to a sour relationship with their supervisor, but that supervisor has since either left the company or moved to another department, perhaps this is a golden opportunity to win back a great employee without having to start all over again.
What any enterprising fleet manager needs to be paying attention to is the long game. Of course, some fleets are opposed to re-hiring truck drivers, for a number of reasons. Conventional wisdom is that if the truck driver left the company to begin with, there must have been a good reason for doing so.
While this may be true, it also could be akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face. Let’s go back to that idea of a lifetime relationship. Still, embracing the idea of employee reentry is something many a hiring manager struggles with.
Those who do get it understand that they are playing a long game. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, so for an organization to be ready when an experienced, qualified and capable truck driver returns, they are going to lose him or her to someone else before they can get the job done.
Before They Exit
Another way to look at truck driver retention and hiring back the right people is to never lose them in the first place. Is there a way to salvage a relationship before it ends with one half of the party throwing in the towel?
One way to prevent this from happening is to develop a trucker profile that will allow you to determine who may stay and who may go, in addition to who is suitable for promotions.
Finally, initiate a recovery conversation. Ensure someone with the authority to make hiring and firing decisions sits down with the employee and inquiries into the reasons why they are leaving and how the company may address them. By preventing a valuable truck driver from leaving in the first place, you need not worry about how or why you’ll need to get them back.