The role of trucking recruiters seems pretty simple: bring people on board.
But, as the fight for talent in trucking becomes more difficult—as finding and developing talent has never been more difficult in the industry—recruiters often land in a difficult spot. No matter how many new drivers they help bring in, just as many, if not more, head out the door.
That’s why recruiters should consider shifting focus to the other side of the coin: trucking retention.
Keeping drivers in place, alongside recruiting new drivers, is imperative for companies looking to get an advantage over the competition. And for recruiters, that means a shift in attitude.
Here are three key things recruiters need to know about retention, and why it can shape their jobs:
Word Travels Fast
Between online forums, truck stop talk, driver conference calls and plenty of other areas, drivers are constantly chatting with each other about their experiences. One key topic that frequently arises: their companies. It’s easy for drivers to complain about their dispatcher or how the company did them wrong.
And bad news travels fast. Once a friend or an acquaintance at the truck stop hears something negative, they’ll remember it. One study found that, once people hear bad news about a topic, they’ll often misremember exactly what they heard and exaggerate the situation.
Just as the best advertisement your company could have is a happy customer, the best advertisement your recruiters could have is a happy driver. When they share the good news about your company around the continent—or just around the corner—you’ll feel the repercussions of that positivity.
Focusing on the wellbeing of your drivers by encouraging ongoing transparency is not only proven to reduce driver turnover, it’s necessary to create a beneficial, happy team of drivers that create positive buzz wherever they are.
And that creates happy recruiters.
Recruitment Can Be Costly
Think about the incredible overhead college recruitment takes. There are teams of people who travel to attract students to their university, traveling around the country, and often visiting with prospective students on an individual basis.
That’s an incredible amount of money and time.
While college recruitment is much different—by design, there’s a loss of students each year—the trucking industry shares much of its same dilemma: it’s not cheap to woo talent to join your team. According to CareerBliss, companies can spend more than $50,000 per year on one driver recruiter.
That’s why smart companies are growing to understand that recruiting drivers cold often loses more money than driver retention saves. So, by switching more focus to driver retention, companies will put money back in the pocket of companies.
The price of hiring and training a new driver? More than $5,000.
The price of keeping your current drivers? Often, that’s free.
Misrepresentation Creates Tension
Recruiters are experts at telling prospective drivers exactly what they want to hear. They’re very talented at sugar-coating the rough spots. And, when drivers come aboard, they discover things weren’t quite the way they were promised.
Then, months into the job, the driver is seething with resentment and has nowhere to go to vent.
It’s the recruiter’s job to get people in the driver’s seat, but it’s not always their job to keep them there, which is why some resort to negative tactics.
But by balancing recruitment and retention, companies will see better results: potential drivers excited to come join your team and current drivers who feel content with their choice.
One key way to keep your drivers in place is to give them an opportunity to provide feedback anonymously. When they can vent, let you know about any problems they see in the company, and offer suggestions for improvement, companies see dual bottom-line improvements in a happier team and reduced inefficiencies.