How To Recruit Less And Retain More

(2 minute read)

This article is written by guest author Joey Slaughter, a 25-year trucking veteran.

Reputation matters

I was at a truck show recently where I had a conversation with a recruiter for a large nationwide truckload carrier.  Trust me, you’ve heard of this company. They are a 100% owner-operator fleet; different than most trucking companies these days. However, many lessons can be learned from them. One particular lesson is how to recruit less and retain more.

This particular company is strong and well respected, so they already have a great product, and when it comes to selling their product to an owner-operator, they don’t have a lot of work to do as their brand is already equated with success, above average earnings, and satisfied professional drivers.  They have built a superior product so it’s easy for the recruiters to sell it, and for the most part it’s being sold everyday as the brightly marked trailers traverse North America and display the brand for all to see. That said, the recruiters have very little work to do.

Pay attention to the ratios

The aforementioned company has over 9,000 drivers so it must take an army of recruiters to keep the wheels rolling right?  Wrong! They only have 9 recruiters. How can this be?

Additionally, they don’t experience the turnover rate that the rest of the industry deals with.  Sure, some of that has to do with being a 100% owner-operator company, but much of it has to do with their focus on driver retention.  It’s easy to discern their focus when you see their employee structure:

  • Over 9,000 drivers

  • 9 Recruiters

  • 4 contracted qualification centers processing paperwork

  • 90 new hire coordinators who work with new hires for the first ninety days (and beyond if necessary)

  • 70 other employees who do nothing but run orientation and keep a close eye on productivity and safety for the first ninety days

This model will not work for all trucking companies and this particular example shows a company that has done things right for a long time and has built a strong foundation. This foundation has allowed them to change their main focus away from recruiting and over to retention.

I think most trucking companies have this backwards. Their employee structure would be inverse to the one listed above. They probably have 10 times as many recruiters as they do retention personnel.  The data shows it’s time to change that.

About Joey Slaughter:

Joey is a 25 year veteran of the trucking industry, spending time as an operator of dry vans, reefers, doubles, gasoline tankers, step decks, and auto haulers. His time as a company driver and now independent owner operator have led to seeing the industry from numerous perspectives. He’s also the author of the ebook “The Beginner’s Guide to Auto Transport".

Beyond Joey’s trucking career he is a US Army veteran, a representative for Freightliner’s Team Run Smart, and an avid writer.