In December of 2019, AvatarFleet President Scott Rea joined podcast host Chad Hendricks on an episode of Recruit & Retain: Trucking Edition. The episode focused on AvatarFleet’s solutions to the driver problem. Rea and Hendricks discussed recruiting, retention, safety, and how the three all work together to curtail driver turnover. Last week’s article gave a recap of the episode and how you need a multi-pronged approach to solve your driver problem. In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the relationship between safety and driver recruiting.
Safety And Recruiting: Get The Right People in The Right Seats
The driver problem is a complex issue plaguing transportation companies on a national scale. Here’s how Rea describes the driver problem on the podcast: “I never have enough drivers. I’m drowning in compliance paperwork. I’m constantly focused on putting out the next fire, accident, or incident. And, we got as many [drivers] walking out the back door as the front door.”
The problems that Rea describes don’t happen in a vacuum. When you have high turnover, the pressure’s on to scramble and find more drivers. Since a recruiter is graded on the number of new drivers they bring in, there's a natural tendency for hiring standards to slip as desperation increases. This creates an issue in the safety realm because not everyone is cut-out for professional driving. We call it getting the right people in the right seats. You need candidates who are compliant, risk-averse, reliable, conscientious and make safe driving a priority. When you’re forced to hire your second-choice candidates, you put your company at risk for more accidents. As Rea puts it, “How we [get] safety and recruiting singing kumbaya is for our marketing to attract the right person to the door.”
Where Have All The Good Drivers Gone?
You may have already noticed, but your best-fit and ideal candidates aren’t easy to find. That’s because they’re currently driving for the competition. If you want to hire best-fit candidates, you need to meet them where they are: out on the road. The right Applicant Tracking System (ATS) helps you do so.
Rea points out the importance of “reducing the friction” in your hiring process. How do you currently accept applications? Do you have a home-grown online application that potential-hires fill-out? Even worse, do you still have paper applications? These won’t cut it if you want to hire your ideal driver. Since the best drivers are already out there making someone else money, they don’t have the time or the ability to utilize these antiquated application processes. A simple online application won’t track progress, so when a driver is inevitably interrupted, they would have to start over. Nobody wants to fumble through entering in data on their phone that they already did. Similarly, if you have a paper application, the best drivers don’t have time to come pay you a visit; they’re out on the road.
The Power of an ATS
An driver-centric ATS like A-Suite will help eliminate friction in your application process in three ways:
- Saves the applicant’s progress
- Mobile Friendly - In 2017, 90% of our applicants who applied through our software did so on a mobile device. And, the amount of people applying via mobile devices is only going up. A mobile-friendly application makes it easier on your applicants. When it’s easier to apply, you’ll get more candidates. The drivers you want are working hard - make it easy for them to squeeze into their existing schedule while they’re at a rest stop.
- Job Board Integration - You need an ATS that integrates with job boards in transportation. This means when your candidates fill out their information on job boards, their data will automatically pre-populate the A-suite application. This saves candidates a ton of time and gives them a good first-impression of your company. Many systems integrate with Indeed but you need sites like Randall-Reilly, CDL Marketing, and Jobs in Trucks that cater to CDL holders.
- Progress Tracking - Your ideal candidates are filling out job applications at rest-stops and while waiting at customer locations. It’s rare that they’ll be able to complete an entire application in this time. That’s why it’s essential for their progress to be saved. Otherwise, they’ll be liable to get frustrated and look for a company with an easier application to fill-out. When they get interrupted, they need a log in to come back and pick it up where they left it.
Safety & Recruiting: Improving One Improves The Other
In the trucking industry, nothing happens in a silo. When turnover is high, recruiting efforts resort to hiring whoever is available. That often means hiring unsafe drivers. Conversely, by improving recruiting efforts with an applicant tracking system, you’ll have an easier time reaching all-star drivers. Better yet, it works both ways. Improving safety often improves recruiting efforts. Visiting the Ohio Trucking Association’s Driver of The Year Awards last year, we found all the top candidates want to work for a safe company. It’s like we always say: there’s no silver bullet for solving the driver problem. It takes a multi-pronged approach to drastically reduce your driver turnover.
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