Let’s keep this simple: American Trucking Association figures say we will need 890,000 drivers to replace retirees over the next ten years. Millennials represent the largest segment of the workforce in the country right now with 86 million people - a number that’s going to grow over the next few years. Like it or not, you'll need to hire some of these people to keep your fleet going.
Some fleets have turned to new tools and systems to meet younger drivers half-way. Central Oregon Trucking Company has placed a renewed emphasis on driver orientation and lowered it's requirements for new drivers. Other companies have enlisted the use of apps and feedback programs to help younger drivers improve over the road.
So how do you reach this workforce and put them in a position to be successful drivers? Read our 5 ways to attract and retain good millennial drivers.
1. Be Transparent and Offer Stable Pay Scales
Pay is always important and it’s more critical than ever that you be up front about how much you pay all drivers, not just new ones. For all of their whippersnapper flaws, millennials have shown a surprising aptitude for financial planning and will care about potentials for bonuses, raises and benefits.
2. Offer Longer, More Intensive Driver Training
If you want to pull in drivers with little or no experience, you need to be ready to prepare these drivers for the road. They'll need more practice and coaching in order to become reliable, safe drivers. Invest in a program like driver finishing school to help you polish these young drivers into road ready truckers and prove to them that you care about their success.
3. Use Technology to Measure Progress
Millennials LOVE apps. More and more trucking companies have turned to apps and new technologies to measure how new drivers are doing on the road. One called True Fuel, for example, measures how fuel efficient drivers are on a trip and can indicate that they are speeding or braking too much. Other apps offer virtual coaching for practically any aspect of driving, from measuring following distance to allowing drivers to ask questions on forums, which helps provide feedback and visual confirmation of what a driver is doing well and where they need improvement.
4. Advocate Driver-to-Driver Feedback
Apps are nice and all, but there's still no substitute for the wisdom and experience of a veteran driver. Administering a driver-mentoring system is a great way for younger drivers to learn from those crafty vets.
AvatarFleet’s LLLC Instructor and Driver Certification teaches new drivers to become defensive-driving certified by the best drivers at your company, and can help develop a promising career path for those just breaking into the industry.
5. Prioritize Health at Your Company
Most drivers want to live a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately though, trucking is stuck with the stigma that unhealthy, overweight people are the only ones driving trucks.
Combat this stigma with a driver-rewards program that pays for part of a gym membership or offers drivers points for going to the gym that they can cash in for cool stuff they want, like cell-phone discounts or gift cards to entertain a night out with the family. Show that driver health and well-being is important and younger drivers will take notice.
How to Make All of Your Drivers Happy, not Just the Millennials
Millennials are not a puzzle to be solved, but rather are a younger group with different concerns and priorities than some older drivers. With that in mind, know that there is never a substitute for a driver-centric culture, which some of these tools can help with. If you put drivers first, regardless of age, they will want to work for you.