If you had to use one word to describe the state of work in the United States in 2020 and early 2021, what would you say? For us, it would be “change.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic took over in March 2020 and in the year to follow, we witnessed changes of all sorts in the American workforce. There were unprecedented levels of unemployment (at least in the post-Depression era), a wholesale move from offices and other communal workspaces to remote work in the home, and ultimately, a good number of people looking for a new career path.
The “why” behind looking for new work varies quite a bit. While you have many people who were forced into seeking new employment after a layoff, there were also many other people who took the opportunity to reassess their work and whether it was the right path forward.
As businesses gear back up for post-pandemic life, they’re looking to fill open positions. While hiring and retaining the best of the best for your workforce can already be tough, employees today have more options to exit than ever with plenty of companies hiring quickly in nearly every industry.
That has created a job search experience that’s somewhat similar to the seller’s market we’re seeing in real estate: Potential employees, especially if they’re exceptional prospects, can essentially name their price.
How can you position your employment opportunity ahead of the competition? Read on as we offer up some insights from other industries, along with our thoughts about how to stand out as a trucking company.
A Look at What Other Industries Are Doing
If you do a quick search online for work perks, you’ll be met with a glut of information. Some of the ideas for amenities and benefits are fairly common these days — such as compensation to cover the cost of commutes or catered lunches in the office — while others are a little more “out there.”
In the tech space, for example, you’ll find a lot of ideas that are way outside the box, such as onsite acupuncture or nap pods built into the office (at the time of this blog’s publication, WorkHound employees haven’t requested acupuncture or nap pods as an employee perk. They are, however, big fans of a strong culture of transparency and trust).
We’ve also found companies in a wide range of industries trying other strategies to make their job openings more appealing — in some cases, changing up job titles to make them sound more fun and exciting or powerful.
But as interesting as these ideas may be, are they really an effective way to capture the attention of potential employees? And specifically, would they actually work in trucking?
“Adding fancy amenities has become far more commonplace over the past few years, particularly in industries outside trucking,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “That’s nice, but at the end of the day, we know that professional drivers — and employees of other industries, for that matter — want to be respected for their abilities and their contributions.”
What Trucking Carriers Can Do
It’s no secret that the trucking industry is facing a driver shortage, and in good part, that’s due to older drivers aging out of the industry. We also saw a number of drivers who previously planned to stay in the industry reconsidering their options in 2020, and many of them have chosen to leave the workforce.
A pre-pandemic report from the American Trucking Associations found that the trucking industry will need to hire 1.1 million new drivers in the next 10 years, with 54 percent of that number being tied to retirements. That means that not only are trucking companies looking to hire — they’re looking to attract the attention of a new generation of drivers, who have different needs and wants.
“The trucking industry is having to rapidly change because of market demands and because work is evolving,” Love says. “The status quo is a death sentence. If companies don’t look for new ways to innovate, new ways to capture a younger generation of drivers, they’ll fall behind.”
So — how do you capture that younger audience? As your company looks to hire and retain truck drivers, one key way to entice new drivers is to put them in the driver’s seat of their careers.
“Some of how companies sell truck-driving to potential employees is aesthetics,” Love says. “You can say ‘you’re getting paid to travel, you have autonomy over your career,’ etc. But these messages have to be honest. Drivers are also looking for flexibility. Home time is one thing, but what drivers are typically communicating is a desire for general flexibility for life outside of the truck, which can look different for each individual.”
Strike the right note with potential hires by offering up benefits related to home time, paid time off, companions while on the road, and other specifics that give younger drivers the work/life balance they’re looking for.
There’s also a bigger-picture way of reaching the younger generation of employees: offering up honest insight about the potential impact they can have on the lives of others.
“We’ve seen a lot more companies, particularly in the last year, that are empowering drivers to know that they’re a part of something bigger than themselves,” Love says. “They want drivers to know they’re doing something really valuable for themselves, their communities, and ultimately, our country. Knowing you have the ability to make an impact can make a big difference in a person’s job satisfaction.”
Lastly, we know that drivers want to be retained. Starting a new job is a tough personal transition, so if your company has an excellent retention reputation and you intend to keep a new recruit for the long haul, let it be known. If your retention reputation could use some work, we know where to start.
Ready to put a feedback tool to work for your company? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!