Five Tips for Effectively Recruiting and Retaining Truckers

February 22, 2022

By Blair Robbins

In an industry struck by constant logistical concerns and an aging workforce, the demand for truck drivers has never been higher for transportation and logistics organizations. What often feels like a thankless role to consumers, truck driver turnover rates are reaching all-time highs due to long hours, lack of benefits and extended time away from families. To combat this vital worker shortage, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed legislation to open apprenticeships to truck drivers under age 21 earlier this year.

To begin recruiting and retaining the next generation of talented trucking professionals, successful transportation and logistics companies are pushing new benefits and compensation to stand out from their competition.

1. Increase Driver Signing Bonuses

As hiring in the industry grows more competitive, offering a sign-on bonus for new truck drivers has become par for the course, making it more important than ever to stand out.

Consider both how much you are offering for your bonus as well as its payout structure. Some companies are offering upwards of $20,000 for new drivers who join their teams, depending on prior experience and certifications. They may also pay it out in a shorter amount of time, sometimes in only 12 months.

2. Create a Great Employee Referral Programs

Across all industries, employee referrals continue to rank as one of the top sources of new hires. If you plan on creating a great employee referral program for your team, do it in an effective way.

Offering impactful rewards, making the process as simple as possible and involving engaged employees every step of the way are all crucial factors in creating a successful program. This will empower and encourage your current team to advocate for you as an employer to their network of friends and colleagues.

3. Offer Competitive Benefits

The unfortunate reality about the trucking profession is that it does not promote the healthiest lifestyle, nor does it always offer traditional benefits to its people. Offering a full benefits package—including medical, dental, vision, etc.—not only helps retain employees for the long haul but gives them access to the proper care they need to stay on the road.

And while we are focusing on how to hire truck drivers, it’s important to consider the compensation and benefits of your management staff as well. These employees are still in high demand, and there is no worse time to lose a key employee than in an already competitive market.

Working with a third-party benefits and compensation consultant can help you determine the best plan for your company's unique situation to stay competitive in today’s hiring environment.

4. Provide More Flexibility

During the pandemic, employees across the nation’s entire workforce began to shift their focus to careers that offer flexibility rather than just a competitive salary. Trucking employees are no strangers to this shift. And while offering flexibility is more important than ever, it's not always an easy request as consumers’ demand for instant satisfaction increases through faster shipping deadlines.

Consider offering flexibility to your drivers in other ways, whether it is being able to choose the region(s) in which they’ll operate, the equipment they use and so forth. Survey your drivers on what kinds of flexibly is most important to them and deliver on your promises.

5. Offer a Clear Path for Career Advancement

As a younger generation of trucking employees enters the hiring market, they are often looking to build a career. Communicate to your employees what a clear path of their career trajectory could look like at your organization—whether it’s increasing their income, having more time off or moving into a managerial role.

In trucking, sometimes it can feel like you’re putting in countless hours and miles simply to get to the next shipment. Laying out these “career roadmaps,” with clear directions of how to advance, gives employees an extra reason to stay with your company and grow in their careers.

As the population continues to age, the transportation and logistics industry continues to face challenges with retaining and recruiting new truck drivers. Thinking outside of the box to offer unique and impactful benefits and perks allows your company to stand out in this competitive environment.

About Blair Robbins

Blair Robbins, CPA, EisnerAmper Partner also leads the firm's Film Production Incentives Practice.