There’s no doubt about it: Making a positive first impression is important. When you’re competing with other trucking carriers to hire and retain professional drivers, you want to leave those drivers with positive thoughts about your business after every interaction with you.
That starts from the very first interaction, during the hiring process. That’s why earlier this year, we wrote up a blog sharing our tips for making the best first impression when you meet and engage with prospective hires.
Today, we’re taking the discussion a step further. While your literal first impression counts for a great deal when you’re trying to hire a driver, the impression you leave on drivers in their first days working with your company is also vitally important.
Read on for some perspective about shining a positive light on your business in the days and months after a new driver comes on board.
Making the Onboarding Experience Matter
No matter what industry you’re in, the first few weeks and months after an employee joins your team is a crucial time. Your interactions during that time can make or break this new relationship.
What can you do to ensure you get a solid foundation in place? We have a few suggestions:
- Set your company up for success before hiring. OK, so we’re hitting the rewind button for a moment and returning to the hiring process. One of the biggest mistakes companies can make during the onboarding process actually occurs before a new driver even signs on the dotted line. Drivers are often disillusioned — and may even leave for a different employer — when they find out that what they were promised during the hiring process (about things like benefits, pay, or home time) doesn’t align with what they’re seeing during onboarding. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Set your company up for success with honesty and transparency during the hiring process.
- Consider why the onboarding experience is so important. Your recruiters were rock stars during the hiring process and made a memorable first impression on the drivers who are now joining your team. But what next? Onboarding is your opportunity to reinforce drivers’ first impression of your business — or to cause them to rethink it. The training and resources you provide during this initial stage of employment are important.
- Put time and energy into your onboarding and training efforts. Training is an issue that will keep your drivers satisfied or push them away. (More about that here.) Drivers working at bigger companies often report being more satisfied with the training the company provides, largely due to the processes those companies are able to implement around onboarding. Regardless of the size of your company, make it a priority to make your onboarding program shine. Ensure you are arming new drivers with the tools and resources they need to be successful with your company. Making your veteran drivers available to answer questions can help with this.
- Introduce your feedback program as part of onboarding. We talk a lot about how feedback helps companies stop relying on assumptions about what drivers need and want. That’s why you want to provide them with a continuous feedback tool like WorkHound from the beginning. If you aren’t giving them a way to communicate their frustrations or questions, they will share them…but they’ll be sharing them by venting to peers inside and outside the company on social media networks and in other ways. Teach them how to use the employee feedback program during these first days of employment and share why it’s important and how the info is used.
- Seek driver feedback specifically about the onboarding program. Shortly after onboarding is complete, circle back to your new drivers. Ask them their thoughts on how this initial training program went — and make it clear you are looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly. The best way to identify gaps in the training you are providing is to ask the drivers themselves. Truly listen to what they have to say, and then adapt training and resources to match those needs.
- Don’t leave them hanging after onboarding is over. While the initial training period might be finished, drivers are still feeling their way with your company for months after being hired. Make sure you’re providing drivers with tools and resources as they start their driving journey and ensure they know exactly who to contact when they need more support.
Want to identify where your company could make a better impression? Seek the feedback of your current drivers! Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help.
, driver engagement
, engaged drivers
, truck driver retention