5 Keys to Attracting, Hiring and Retaining Quality Motorcoach Drivers

Posted on August 19, 2013

Page 3 of 3

A solid hiring process paid off for Peter Pan, when Joe Anderson and Alfred Protano reached three million miles accident free. 
A solid hiring process paid off for Peter Pan, when Joe Anderson and Alfred Protano reached three million miles accident free. 

4. Make use of tools

Both the UMA and American Bus Association (ABA) offer numerous tools to members to aid in the hiring process.

“In the litigious society we live and work in, companies are always looking to reduce their risk and find out about their employees, or prospective employees before they hire them,” says Dan Ronan, sr. director, communications, for the ABA. “We offer some great discounts, which combined with the benefits of those solutions, really makes it worthwhile for our members to utilize these tools.”

Discounted services offered to members include personality testing, which can help determine if the applicant can fit in at the organization, and background searches — the all-important final step before a driver is hired.

“Clearly things have changed; the dynamics of our businesses have changed, the types of services and businesses they are getting involved in are evolving, so we have to make sure our programs and services keep pace and provide direction to make sure our members are keeping pace with what’s happening in our environment,” says Parra about the tools UMA offers members.

Additionally, developing an excellent training program not only helps operators set the tone for what is expected, but also some, like Dipert Tours, to hire people with no prior experience.

“We have spent a great deal of time and effort developing a driver training program that trains individuals, with no previous experience, appropriately,” says Dipert-Brown. “We honestly believe our training prepares them better than any training they may have received somewhere else.”

In fact, training appears to be the last step to hiring a quality driver. This final step gives operators one last chance to determine if an applicant will or will not cut the mustard.

“The training program is where the applicants make it or not,” says Randall. “We bring about double the number of people in for the positions we have open, and typically, about half will fall out of the program.”

5. Employee retention
While hiring is an inevitable part of any operation, the best way to limit the amount of drivers you need is to develop a retention program. Retaining drivers begins with creating a great environment, which makes drivers feel at home and part of the team, according to the operators we spoke to.

Our experts add that competitive pay, health care and retirement packages are good jumping off points, but creating a program that rewards drivers’ performance is also important.

“We have a bonus program, which focuses on the safety of the individual and is based on accident/incident, as well as ride-along reviews where there is a host of procedures and policies they are measured on,” says C&J’s Lesniak.

The operation awards bonuses to drivers twice a year based on miles, and recently handed out $19,000 in bonuses for the first half of the year, according to Jalbert.

Meanwhile at Anchor, Stancil says the operation recently began the “Driver Care Program,” where drivers are contacted regularly via telephone to discuss any needs or issues they may be having. The goal is to not only touch each driver, personally, but be clear that they are an important part of the team.

Post-trip, Anchor also sends out a short, 12-question survey to its customers to find out how much they enjoyed their experience, including their interaction with the driver.

“When a driver is specifically mentioned in the positive feedback, we give those drivers a copy of the survey, a $10 gift card and tell them thank you,” Stancil explains. “The importance of a retention program is that we have already invested a lot of time and energy in the drivers we have hired, and it is becoming increasingly harder to replace them. This is very tough market for us to find quality drivers.”

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