The Business of Communication
The trucking industry employs millions across North America, however it has become glaringly obvious that there is a significant ongoing shortage of qualified truck drivers over the past few years. Experts in the industry estimate that...
The trucking industry employs millions across North America, however it has become glaringly obvious that there is a significant ongoing shortage of qualified truck drivers over the past few years. Experts in the industry estimate that in the coming years there will be a shortage of epidemic proportions, with 300,000 positions open nationwide. Qualified and well-trained drivers are abandoning their trucks, replacing a driving career with a different job within the industry or leaving trucking altogether. The majority of experienced drivers are baby boomers which are now retiring and leaving the industry, and to appropriately replace them is proving extremely difficult.
The Business of Communication
In a rebounding economy, younger generations are looking for a better work-life balance which rarely comes with being a truck driver. They are seeking more localized employment opportunities with less physical demands. Eager young drivers are often discouraged by strict safety regulations that limit their earning potential. The amount of regulatory handcuffing, coupled with a solitary lifestyle does not make for a very glamorous career. In order to attract younger drivers and help them to feel integrated within their organization, trucking companies must create engaging and encouraging environment where the driver, young or old can thrive. Achieving seamless communication and favorable employment conditions for truck drivers should be the goal for all trucking companies. The "them vs. us", the office staff vs. the truck drivers attitude needs to disappear.
A Driver Retention Committee plays an essential role in developing and pinpointing the work-life improvements of each truck driver at any trucking company. Caravan's newly formed committee consists of both office employees and their drivers who volunteer their time to improve the jobs of all 200 drivers and also to recognize excellence and appreciate drivers' efforts. The main focus of this committee is eliminating the "them vs. us" and bringing forward ideas from all perspectives, from the driver, the dispatcher, the mechanic, the sales representatives, and beyond. Each person contributes to strengthen the sustainability of the company's driving force by bringing forward their own experiences. A true Driver Retention Committee should always remain focused on the old additive "until you have walked a mile in their shoes." The number one priority must be communication.
When Caravan Logistics explored ways in which to quickly reach their drivers and to assist in creating a better sense of community, social media outlets seemed the natural choice. Without hesitation, two-way communication was established through the use of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter (@CaravanTweets), allowing Caravan the potential to connect with all of their staff members on platforms that are accessible, easy-to-use and above all, fun and engaging. Drivers' ability to seamlessly upload photos and comment on articles while on the road, gives them the opportunity to share a piece of their world with co-workers, friends and family in real-time.
Using a newsletter, Caravan Logistics ties these forms of communication together spotlighting its many achievements and educating staff on quarterly changes, developing a sense of awareness and integration within the company. The newsletter humanizes the corporate processes within the company, and provides an easily approachable avenue for employees and management alike to instigate positive change and really make a difference.
In such a competitive industry, turnover is unavoidable but with these methods of communication, Caravan will continue to unify office staff and truck drivers, creating a better work-life environment for all. The notion of "them vs. us" has to be a thing of the past and open communication with a mutual collectiveness is the way of the future. "Communication works for those who work at it."