You’ve read everywhere about how the trucking industry needs younger drivers. Luring them into professional driving still proves to be a challenge. This post assumes you’ve read our Driver Marketing E-book and are flooded with millennial drivers. Wait - you’re not running extremely targeted ads for millennials? Stop and read the e-book and then come back.
As it turns out, even those companies that can offer competitive starting salaries, benefits and the like still have trouble attracting younger drivers. Why is that? We’ve discussed in this blog before the negative connotations millennials associate with trucking. There are ways to clear up some of those perceptions and position your company and your jobs as an attractive opportunity, but that’s not enough. Millennials think differently than your average middle-aged truck driver.
Millennials Are A Different Animal
This recent article from Truckinginfo hits the nail on the head. Generational parenting styles shape the way each new generation views work.
Millennials grew up with clearly defined systems - their day was scheduled from school, to baseball practice, to piano lessons, to homework and then bed. Oh, and never out of their parent’s sight.
Conversely, boomers left the house at 8 AM and came back for dinner - mom didn’t know or care where they were as long as they didn’t break a leg or get picked up by the cops. Millennials have only known structure so you must provide it for them. How do you do this? Glad you asked.
Design a Mentoring System For New Drivers
This should be in place for ALL drivers, regardless of age. But it’s especially important for younger drivers. Have your veterans teach newcomers the ropes and show them how to conduct themselves on the job and what to expect from the profession. Don’t be afraid to smother them with attention. Remember, their parent did since they were babies.
Conduct Frequent Mini-Meetings with Feedback
Like we said, millennials crave feedback and suggestions. They grew up with Google and Smartphone so they have been conditioned for instantaneous feedback and results. Give them that feedback with a driver scorecard. The scorecard clearly defines their annual goals with a weekly progress tracker. Talk to their mentor and offer constructive feedback at least once a week.
Develop A Comprehensive Support System
Another idea applicable to drivers of all ages. Drivers should know who to call when something goes wrong or if they need help. Make sure everyone understands how your company works. If A happens, they should immediately call Manager B or Dispatcher C. Then they know how to address the issue or notify the person who can take action.
Establish A Finishing School for New Drivers
Drivers, especially millennials, can get easily discouraged if they go into a new job and struggle. But often, new entrants are thrown to the wolves with little or no preparation. Having a CDL does not mean someone is ready for the road. Not even close. A CDL is barely worth the paper it’s written on when compared to the knowledge and skill a true professional driver has accumulated. Having a formalized finishing school makes you much more attractive to millennials. Remember, they love structure. Yes, developing your own drivers from scratch is expensive, but is turnover. Studies show that millennials, bought through a formalized finishing school, remain loyal and don’t quit on a whim.
If you implement these ideas, you will have more success recruiting young drivers. They are your future. Embrace it now before that last boomer is gone.