As trucking continues to evolve, fleet managers look for innovative new ways to attract top talent. While personal referrals from other truck drivers remain the number one source for new talent, we live in the Millennial age. Trucking companies must do more to attract and retain top talent. Millennials make up half of the domestic workforce and by 2030 will make up three-quarters.
Recruiting professional, experienced, and motivated truck drivers is a zero-sum game. The pool of potential candidates available is limited and competition is fierce. Every time a competitor lures a truck driver away from your fleet, the pool shrinks a little more. Over time, it becomes that much harder to find the truck drivers you need to sustain the fleet. Fleets that are not investing in new and unique ways of finding talent will find themselves quickly losing market share.
Obviously, some might say I it is hard to be “creative” or “unique” in trucking recruitment, but we would disagree. Trucking companies operating within the old rules might find things like custom content and digital marketing an unproven way to find the right people. Yet, these methodologies represent the future of marketing, advertising, and communication, whether B2B or B2C.
Motor carriers and others in the transportation sector need to change the way they approach recruiting to compete in a marketplace where it isn’t difficult to find the perfect fleet. But what is an enterprising fleet manager to do to ensure they keep recruits coming through the door no matter the time of year?
Use Social Media
While there are plenty of social media platforms out there, the majority of those in the trucking industry – and around the world – use Facebook. Yet, far too few trucking recruiters use Facebook as a truck driver recruiting and retention tool. While Facebook must be managed properly, there is a lot of potential benefit in its use.
A full 62% of Millennials turn to social media to find jobs. People tend to gravitate towards engaging video and static content. Video ads and digital blog content outperforms print content by a whopping 118%. Today’s social media platforms are conduits by which people network, create and find opportunities.
Sure, many people don’t like social media. Facebook has not been without its share of controversies, but it is worthwhile for trucking companies to educate he public about your company, employees, customers, services, and more. Facebook and other social media platforms are as much about brand awareness and audience building as they are about recruiting or generating leads.
According to one study, up to 76% of truck drivers use social media, with Facebook leading the way out of all platforms. One quick and easy way to see how you are doing on social media is to see if your own people are following you. How much of our fleet follows you on Facebook?
If you find that your efforts on social media platforms are found wanting, you could start by telling stories. Nothing gets someone’s attention better than a good tale. Whether it be through images of your truck drivers or other fleet workers, video of your fleet in action, or even trucking-related news, staying engaged on social media tells the story if your fleet, its people and culture.
We have moved beyond the days when it was easy to recruit a truck driver through a mailer or the phone call. Truck drivers who are interested in seeing how a fleet operates will check it out on Facebook or other social media platforms. Do you have a social media presence? Do you have reviews on your Facebook page or other listings?
If truck drivers are looking for a good employer, they want to see how that company represents itself on social media, one of the great digital connectors of our day. The more engaged followers you have, the better you will look to perspective truck drivers. There is no reason not to engage with people on Facebook and produce as much new content as you can on a regular basis.
Still, managing a robust social media presence as a recruiting tool does not come without its dangers. Fleets need to be very careful to watch and control negative content. If they do not retain ownership over their social media, they need to make sure they work with an agency or partner they can rely on. The last thing anyone wants is for a bad post to go “viral.” Trucking companies have enough to do to protect their image without unfortunate social media content hobbling those efforts.
Also consider that this is about more than the company. While you should be sharing your truck drivers and trucks and pets and anything else cute at the company, also feature light fare. Humorous, interactive, and statistical or random posts go a long way to creating an endearing image of your trucking company.
And don’t just look to Facebook. With Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, many trucking companies cast a wide net. But none match the numbers that Facebook puts on the board, even if all efforts should not go unnoticed. Once you have mastered the art of creating engaging content that appeals to truck drivers looking for a job, you’ll find that it becomes a recruiting tool that keeps on giving.
Other Interesting Recruiting Techniques
Certainly, there are other ways to recruit truck drivers and fleet technicians outside of social media. While social media is effective for so much outside of just recruiting, there are other 21st Century techniques to consider. For example, have you ever considered a white paper? White papers are not just for B2B marketing techniques.
If you put a white paper out there entitled “Three Ways to Improve Your Safety Skills,” someone may wind up downloading that white paper. You can then reach out to those individuals and have your recruiting team make a pitch for that individual to join your fleet.
There are even mobile-friendly apps that convert your job applications into a digital-friendly format. And considering 85% of Millennials use a smartphone, they are remarkable ways to reach people who could make valuable additions to your fleet. Did you know that Millennials access their smartphones, on average, 45 times per day? What is the best way to tap into that activity?
Take a close look at how you manage your fleet. Do you offer wellness benefits or other perks that your competitors might be offering? There may be times when people may be under the impression that a career in trucking is somehow unhealthy. Providing things like gyms or subsidized gym memberships, wellness programs, and other health and wellness-related benefits puts a shine on your image as a responsible employer.
No one wants to work for a company that makes them feel underappreciated, overworked, and underpaid. This is even more acute for companies operating in spaces that require long hours and heavy physical demands.
Here are some important questions for any fleet manager as they attempt to find the best of the best:
- Does your company culture reflect your desire to find top talent?
- Do you hold truck driver appreciation events?
- Do your employees participate in outings, mentoring programs, or other motivational training events?
- How much of a sense of pride and purpose are you ensuring is brought into the organization?
- What kind of work-life balance can you offer your truck drivers?
For many entering the workforce – Millennial or not – ensuring family time and not burning out is at the top of the requirement list. Trucking companies that offer dryage and intermodal solutions keep truck drivers local. For those working in the long-haul segment, Wi-Fi or satellite connections are great benefits. Not only does this keep drivers happy, it is shown to have a measurable impact on the bottom line.
For those of you who find recruits aren’t making it passed the interview process, ask yourself, what are you putting the candidate through? In fact, a full 78% of Millennials surveyed said that the job interview matters greatly in whether they decide to go with the employer, should an offer be made. Instead of using old, outdated ways of interviewing, use apps, transparency, and effective communication.
Most people looking for a job look for stability, financial security, collaboration, professional development, opportunities for advancement and honest feedback and coaching. Does your fleet offer these things? Ensuring you are properly recruiting is just one piece of the picture.
Truck drivers of all ages and stripes will find themselves unimpressed with your organization if you are not practicing 21st Century recruiting techniques. It is easy for truck drivers who have already “seen it all” to pierce the veil of companies who aren’t practicing what they preach our putting actions behind their words. Don’t be those guys as you look for the best truck drivers for your operation.