On April 27, 2019, TransRep hosted the first annual National Recruiting and Retention Symposium in Mississauga, Ontario, featuring various industry and non-industry leaders who brought their best take on combating the driver problem in trucking.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to give my presentation on how the Driver Shortage is for Your Competition, which you can watch in it's entirety using this link. Outside of my talk though, I was all ears for the expert speakers, so here's my take-aways from the day.
When someone asks you how you’re doing, do you respond with “busy”? That’s not a special update. Everyone’s busy. Your co-workers are busy, your friends and family are busy, and today, even kids are busy. When it comes to work, though, busy isn’t best. Busy means you don't know how to prioritize. No one needs to prioritize more than Professional Driver Recruiters. Recruiters manage hundreds of leads everyday, constantly bouncing from task to task. No doubt this keeps them busy, but that doesn’t always mean they’re moving the needle. So what’s better than busy? Productive.
A quality recruiter is productive because she knows how to ruthlessly prioritize her list. As I covered during my presentation, a productive recruiter has set up systems to automate the lead prioritization process and tell her what to do next. She can then focus on the candidate and not burn energy thinking about what to do next.
The Resilience Ninja and Keynote Speaker, Allison Graham, says that if you’re burning energy on mundane, repetitive tasks, you don’t have any brain capacity for the bigger projects that move the needle forward. When we confuse busy for productivity, we inappropriately stress over the small stuff. Seth Godin recently wrote you get “no points for busy. [You get] points for successful prioritization. Points for efficiency and productivity. Points for doing work that matters.”
The surface level is answer is easy: we’re all desperate for drivers. But when we dive deeper into the root cause, as the opening speaker Mike McCarron stated, “truckers are bad sales reps because we lead with price. There’s no money to pass on to drivers because we under bid each other to win the business. Lead with service and how you’ll use that extra resources to invest in the driver’s wealth and health.”
If we invested in drivers and created a driver-centric organization, recruiters would be set up for success. Right now, they’re set up to overcome “a lousy job with lousy pay.” Mike correctly stated that “trucking is competing with warehouse jobs that are paying $20-25/hr that get you home every night”. The bad news is that to fix this will be a lot of heavy lifting for cultural and operational investment to change. The good news is you can do something about it. Investing in driver retention pays for itself twenty fold by reducing soaring recruiting costs and accidents due to lack of tenure with the company.
Here are a few sample ideas from Mike that show an investment in drivers and a realization you’re competing with Amazon warehouse jobs, not just other trucking companies:
We have an additional 75 other tactics for you to check out in our e-book on driver retention.
Are you constantly reacting to the world or proactively addressing issues head on? That’s the difference between being busy and being productive. Use Applicant Tracking and Compliance Management software such as the A-Suite to automate your prioritizing so you can think about accomplishing the big tasks. If your still consists of paper pushing and manual data entry, you’re “busy” for the wrong reasons. Switch your mentality from busy to productive.
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