Professional driving, especially trucking, has always been an older folks’ game. Figures constantly come out with worrying trends about the increasing average age of truckers, which is worsening the driver problem. Inevitably, companies will have to find creative ways to attract and retain younger drivers.
A recent article from Forbes looks at this issue head-on through the lens of creating a millennial-friendly culture to allow this to happen. Though Forbes focuses on white collar work environments, the principles they discuss apply equally to drivers.
Mainly, if you want to create a culture attractive to younger drivers, be they millennials or now Gen Z’ers, you need to focus on critical elements that younger people hold important and incorporate them into your company culture. Here are the major areas the Forbes article highlights:
Create a Driver Career Path
Young people care deeply about both the future and having a clear direction for that future. If you can offer them a potential path to certain hours, routes, promotions, raises- all of these will show them possibilities for the future. Forbes found that this means even more than money to millennials.
What millennials fear most is a dead end job. You need to show them driving isn’t one of those jobs. Explicitly advertise and share the possibilities that driving for you can offer as a long-term career.
Advocate Career Development
Young people expect a certain amount of time and care for their professional development in any job. Why should driving be different? The worst thing you can do is take the hands-off approach – what the Forbes article refers to as a "get on with it” attitude towards new hires.
Millennials want to understand their job and know how to do it well. You’ve already invested time and money into them. It pays to keep that going to retain those drivers.
Driver mentoring programs and driver-assisted training are great ways to help develop them as long-term drivers while also showing that you care about their success.
Young employees often want unfiltered, abundant information and feedback for the work they do. This can seem like a lot for managers and dispatchers to handle, but there’s usually a reason for it.
Some of it can be tied to them simply wanting to do their job as best as they can, while on other occasions it might be an opportunity to discover pain points or problems in daily work processes.
Find ways to communicate with drivers efficiently that also allows them to be heard. 1 to 1 meetings and driver committees are both ways in which millennials can gain access to reliable feedback and needed information while also allowing them to be heard for suggestions or issues that need to be addressed.
However you decide to engage younger drivers, remember that it is the culture overall that will matter the most.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start by reading our blog on how to create a career path for professional drivers and go from there.