Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce in 2016. Even so, most trucking companies fail to effectively recruit and retain millennial drivers. Now, in 2019, it’s getting to be sink or swim. Whether you like it or not, you need millennial drivers. Consumer culture keeps trucks rolling 24/7, but not even the driver problem in trucking has caused any kind of improvement in the perceived rift between generations. The older generations who mainly comprise trucking jobs and the younger generation of potential drivers who could ease the driver problem aren’t seeing eye to eye.
Perception, of course, is the problem. Older generations see all millenials as entitled, selfish and lazy. Younger people see trucking as a dead-end job that leads to family strain, unhealthy living and loneliness. These two extreme views clearly don’t apply to everyone. So how does a trucking company approach this breach?
Put aside the obvious for a moment, that every generation thinks nasty thoughts about the generation that follows them (see: your parents’ generation). You are presented with a large group of individuals who are young, better educated on the whole than the generation previous, and facing an ugly future in employment. They will likely see the end of social security, a landscape moving further towards stuffing everyone in cubicles for their job, and, in many cases, the increasingly high cost of living. They want a fair paying job with benefits that keeps them busy and rewards their hard work. This is exactly what you’re offering (or should be).
Millennials just need to get the message. Know that this generation of people has been raised in an environment where they are nurtured, in constant communication and require feedback on how well they are doing their job. Understanding these things can help you both advertise and bring on more young drivers, and then have them stay. Then, you can take some steps forward:
Honesty is in short supply on the job market. Businesses prefer to withhold details about jobs in order to fill vacancies as quickly as possible. Better to be up front about exactly what the job is, a career in professional driving, and what it entails. When you construct a job posting or a conduct an interview, be as specific as you can, with exact amounts and educated estimates for home time, etc. In this regard, the fact that you’re not McDonald’s or Wal-Mart is an advantage. Chances are many young people will gravitate towards the transparency and better opportunity of a truck driving job.
Make driver day-in-the-life videos and post them everywhere. Let people understand that you actually care about your employees, on and off the job. Tell prospective drivers in these videos about last year’s driver awards or the company cookout, maybe a new feature you brought to the terminal. Again, you are not Wal-Mart and millennials don’t want to work at Wal-Mart. Show them how much better they will be treated as truckers. A good way to do that is with a landing page.
Looking for a job is a nightmare, even in the digital age when you can upload resumes and fill out documents on a computer from home. Most applications are still tedious, confusing and unnecessarily long. Streamline your process as best as you can and contact candidates often and early. You would be shocked how many jobs lose potential applicants based on a bad application and no one calling them back. Sometimes that requires a applicant tracking system.
Most businesses in general have some sort of mentoring system for newcomers now, so trucking companies should too. All new employees have lots to learn, and training doesn’t quite create perfect drivers, they need practice and feedback. Experienced drivers can provide that and both help drivers improve and not get discouraged and quit. Younger drivers need this support more than anyone.
Frankly, this recommendation will become more necessary as the driver problem worsens. Eventually, you will need a system that can both train new drivers of any age over a longer period of time. Not to mention it you want to put younger drivers to work sooner, rather than have them suffer in the infamous “driver mills” of the large, uncaring trucking companies who ruin trucking for new people. Finishing school can do those things and work seamlessly into your driver advancement. A young driver with a CDL can go through extra weeks of training and gain crucial feedback and guidance from an experienced driver who is a safety expert before they hit the mandatory 21 mark or start driving normally. If you don’t know what finishing school is or how it works, learn more about ours.
Millennials may not be perfect, but that’s beside the point. The reality is that if trucking companies want to survive the worsening driver problem, they need to hire millennial drivers. There are some millennials out there right now panicking over their future employment. You have a career in a professional industry that needs their energy and effort. They know next to nothing about professional driving. Tell them how it is and go get them.
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