The industry’s driver shortage has only been exacerbated by the pandemic as the driver pool has shrunk as drivers have been recruited away by delivery giants such as UPS, FedEx and Amazon.
But there are proven tools to recruit and retain talented drivers, says Erin Ducharme, Director of Accounting & Financial Control at Bloom’s Bus in Taunton, Massachusetts.
Ducharme is the chair of Women in Buses, a council of the American Bus Association, which created the Driving Force task force in December and quickly got to work. She and other Driving Force members joined UMA Town Hall on June 24 to share strategies for recruitment. (They returned on July 1 to talk about retention.)
In addition to Ducharme, the task force is a mix of operators and vendors: James Blain, PAX Training; Adam Hall, Bridgestone Americas; Brent Maitland, MCI; Pam Martinez, DATTCO; Mike McDonal, Saucon Technologies; John Meier, Badger Bus; Debbie Piner, Prevost; and Mike Van Horn, Betterez.
Driver recruiting tools
The task force is providing industry operators tips and tools to recruit and retain their most valuable asset: drivers The task force has released several tools to recruit drivers. They can be found at www.buses.org/about/drivingforce, and offers tips, a webinar and a toolkit. WIB is hosting a July 7 webinar featuring case studies from operators.
One tool is a video featuring drivers who share why they love their jobs. Ducharme recommends operators share it on social media and their company’s website as a way to introduce driving as a career choice.
Maitland, MCI’s Vice President Private Sector Sales and Marketing, stressed the importance of understanding your corporate culture and communicating it to potential employees. Company culture — policies, procedures, ethics, values, behaviors, goals — is essentially a company’s personality. It determines how organizations are seen by the community, their workforce and customer base.
“Ultimately, it’s going to really be critical to differentiate you in the market for employees, and it’s also going to help bring in employees that are a better fit,” Maitland said.
The Driving Force toolkit comes with a roadmap that outlines the major steps in both recruiting and retention.
Steps for recruitment
Blain, president of PAX Training, explained Driving Force’s Roadmap, which outlines the following steps for recruitment:
- Create an elevator pitch and message. Describe who you are, what you do, and the reasons to work for you in 20-30 seconds. This can quickly create interest.
- Develop a company video. This should include the elevator pitch and highlight key elements of the job descriptions. Include driver testimonials. Use the toolkit script.
- Post on the company career page. Insert your elevator pitch, post your company video and create a job listing, including benefits and key job responsibilities.
- Use social media and hiring sites — such as Facebook, Linkedin, Indeed and Monster — for posting your pitch.
- Target new segments, such as military personnel, firefighters, police and women. Leverage existing employees to help you make contacts with these groups.
“You want to make sure that you’re posting links that can be shared,” said Blain, adding that posts should include instructions on how to apply for a position or learn more about the company. “You want to reach out for all these different channels. Remember, the more ways that you reach out to people and the more ways you get people to reach back out to you, the better your opportunities” to get a response.