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Recruiting: It’s not just about the money

By Gino Fontana

Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange

As an industry, we’ve long been talking about how to attract young people to careers in trucking. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently released a report, Integrating Younger Adults Into Trucking Careers. ATRI surveyed fleets and young drivers to get some real-world input on recruitment, retention, and training. The report defined younger employees as those between the ages of 18 and 25.

The report cited statistics from American Trucking Associations that the industry has increased the percentage of minority drivers from 30% years ago to 42.3% in 2020. However, we still aren’t doing a great job of attracting women to driving positions, with women making up only 7.8% of the driver pool.

Citing a 2021 Deloitte Global survey, ATRI reminded us that millennials and Gen Zers understand the changing demographics in the workplace, but more than that, “they see diversity and inclusion as a key part of maintaining an adaptive, creative, growing company.” This is important to keep in mind when developing recruiting material. Make sure that the images you use reflect a cross-section of people. If people don’t see themselves in your recruiting material, they are not likely to apply for jobs with you. Lack of diversity in your workforce is becoming a negative to attracting younger workers.

The report is quite extensive, and it concludes with best practices for recruiting, training and retaining younger employees. I don’t think anyone will be surprised by the fact that today’s younger workers are not motivated by money alone. Their decision to accept a job is based on other factors, including whether there is a career path for them and work-life balance. Younger people also want transparency about what the job entails. They suggested fleets post “day in the life” videos as a way to get a sense of what the job is really like from people who are already doing the job.

Once you’ve been successful in hiring millennials and Gen Zers, you may need to change the way you provide them with feedback. According to the report, “Millennials and [Gen Zers] prefer a ‘coaching’ feedback model, in which managers or supervisors provide more frequent, preemptive, and specific communication about their job performance (rather than waiting for year-end reviews or a serious incident).” In other words, these younger drivers want to know how they are doing on a more regular basis than baby boomers or Gen Xers.

“Many younger drivers said that they dislike cutthroat environments and prefer collaborative ones where managers, dispatchers, and other drivers see themselves as part of the same team,” according to the report.

Ultimately earning a decent living is important to workers, regardless of age, but when recruiting younger workers, make sure to focus on some of the other things they value like inclusion, communication, and transparency.

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