Attracting and retaining drivers has become an ongoing battle for fleets, carriers, and motorcoach companies alike. J. Starcic/METRO Magazine
There are many obstacles motorcoach recruiters must overcome in today’s recruiting environment, such as spreadsheet- or paper-based homemade or legacy application management solutions, a lack of prospect engagement and, the most prevalent, the shortage of qualified CDL drivers.
Every year, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) releases its “Top Industry Issues” survey results, outlining the most prominent challenges facing the trucking industry. According to 2,000 drivers and carrier executives, the driver shortage remained the number one industry concern for a third straight year. The demand for qualified drivers has never been higher, but, unfortunately, there aren’t enough drivers entering the industry and far too many are leaving each year.
Consequently, attracting and retaining drivers has become an ongoing battle for fleets, carriers, and motorcoach companies alike. Organizations must look to new, innovative solutions to help attract talent, as many industries already have. The only way to attain consistent, quality employees and company growth is to get drivers in the seat, faster and more efficiently. How can motorcoach recruiters conquer the shortage and achieve their goals?
1. Optimizing the applicant experience
Organizations with hiring and growth initiatives, particularly within the transportation industries, should covet digital application engagement and interaction. Every time the “Apply Now” button is clicked is an opportunity, but, oftentimes, the opportunity is wasted with a lengthy or clunky online application. It’s critical the applicant’s experience is positive, and there are a few approaches recruitment teams can take to ensure a more user-friendly process.
Because of the significance of mobile technology in today’s world, all applications should be mobile-friendly and easy to use, access, and fill out on a phone and tablet. According to Morgan Stanley, 91% of Americans always keep their phones within arm’s length. As a result, it’s highly likely many prospects will use their mobile devices to at least fill out a portion of the application.
Texting is an underutilized engagement medium within the transportation industry. According to EZ Texting’s 2019 Mobile Usage Report, 90% of respondents open and read a new text message within 30 minutes of receiving it and, furthermore, texting has higher engagement rates than more traditional communication tools. For example, it has six times the engagement of email. Text messaging is a significant differentiator for recruiters looking to improve engagement among prospects and foster meaningful conversations. It optimizes the applicant’s experience by sending reminders, updates, and company news and information, streamlining communication and workflow.
General best practices for optimizing a driver applicant’s experience also include making the application or lead form brief and concise, easy to find, and locate on the organization’s website and auto-filling features for re-engaged drivers.
2. Prioritizing and valuing human interaction
A large part of a recruitment team’s job is keeping the prospective driver engaged throughout the entire application process. Don’t waste any time contacting them after they fill out a digital form, as human interaction and personalized communication are key. Otherwise, they’ll just move on to your competitor.
First, whenever you interact with a candidate or prospect via a phone call or in-person conversation always establish the importance and value they’ll bring to the company you represent. In the world of motorcoach transportation, where most recruiters only hire one, maybe two, out of every 10 applicants, conveying a driver’s significance will increase the likelihood they’ll want to be a part of your organization. After all, recruiting is sales. Be prepared to “sell” the driver on why they should work there. Ask questions and use phrases, such as, “I bet you’re like most people,” to discover and convey value alignment.
When specifically speaking to a driver on the phone, the recruiter should speak enthusiastically, make them feel as they matter, pay attention, personalize the conversation, and always get their contact information. At the very least, first and last name and mobile phone number.
Lastly, make sure to follow up and keep engaging after you have a prospect’s contact information. Recruiters must be proactive and assertive, or else these leads will disappear. Texting is a great way to follow up, especially after leaving a voicemail, and to provide application updates.
3. Leveraging easy-to-use technology
Transportation HR professionals and teams are often behind on easy-to-use recruitment and application management technologies compared to other industries. Modern driver recruitment requires constant communication, which is made easier through CRM, AI, and automation platforms. There are many obstacles motorcoach recruiters and executives must overcome in today’s environment; don’t let outdated technology, such as spreadsheet- or paper-based homemade or legacy applicant tracking solutions, be one of them.
Not only do CRM and application tracking systems help visualize data points and information, but it also helps recruiters communicate more efficiently. Most of these solutions have automation capabilities, where you can automatically send monthly newsletters, emails, and texts to drivers throughout the application process, and, furthermore, build drip marketing campaigns.
Ultimately, these three driver recruitment tips will help your organization conquer the qualified driver shortage and achieve your recruitment and HR goals. They streamline workflow, help you maintain governance and compliance, and put more time back in your day, so you can generate more leads and hire better, faster.
Jeremy Reymer is the founder and CEO of CDL driver applicant tracking system, DriverReach.