How to Beat the Driver Shortage
Below is a full transcription of our popular webinar on recruiting and retaining drivers called, “How to Beat the Driver Shortage.”
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this week’s webinar. While people are still connecting, we’ll give everyone just a few more minutes before we get started and then we’ll begin. Thank you.
Well, welcome everyone to this week’s webinar on “How to Beat the Driver Shortage” that is currently going on. Obviously, this is something that is very familiar to you all. No particular big news, we would say. However, we can go over some different ways that we can improve upon that process for you and strategies on how to help you recruit and onboard drivers a little faster.
My name is Jim Parker. I’m one of the enterprise corporate consultants over at Foley. So, I work with clients anywhere from the 100-10,000 driver range in order to help them get onboarded, and for their drivers to get onboarded and maintain compliance in a fast and compliant way. So, I’m happy to share some insight as to information I’ve received and found through my conversations, as well as information through this webinar itself.
If there are any questions, please throw them in the chat. If we have enough time, I’ll be happy to go those towards the end of the webinar. Anything else, myself or my team will reach out to you following the webinar to answer any additional questions.
The US is currently short 80,000 drivers
The first thing is the US is currently short 80,000 drivers. That’s a pretty substantial number; it’s also expected to reach 160,000 in the next 10 years. I think this is quite shocking, but also a very substantial number. Obviously, we’ve been experiencing a driver shortage for quite some time in this industry, but there are some different ways that the past couple years have impacted that even further, and ways we can go over with you on what the changes will be moving forward and how to effectively beat that and still find and hire more drivers faster.
The Root Cause(s)
The main cause of this situation is, of course, the pandemic. We’ve been experiencing that now for a couple years. It’s not news. However, it has affected not only this industry, but every other industry across the world, with minimizing people by just not feeling comfortable working or having to be sick and leaving work. And that’s obviously made these issues a little bit worse for the industry itself. We also have drivers that are nearing retirement. So, if you have older individuals and employees that are working for you, whether it’s because of COVID and they decide that this is a good time to retire, or it’s just that time for them; you’re losing those drivers. If you’re not replacing them, that’s missing seats in those vehicles.
And in addition to that, we have the Clearinghouse. So for any CDL drivers that you do have within your organization, the DOT Clearinghouse, when it went into effect, has removed another 60,000 drivers from failed alcohol or drug-related tests. This is obviously a great thing; we are making the roads safer for regular individuals, of course, and everyone else who are on the road for the trucking industry as well. But that doesn’t help put individuals and employees back in your organization, of course. So we’re going to also going go over different ways that we can improve that process for you and what’s being done in your organization to make those changes.
What’s Being Done
So one change is trucking companies are being offered better benefits to attract new drivers and to keep better drivers. Whether it’s new incentives, pay incentives, health benefits, what have you; that is a key component that is assisting drivers wanting to go to your organization or going to different organizations. Another piece would be that the FMCSA is piloting a program to get younger drivers behind the wheel. So just as in the previous slide where you have these individuals and folks that are retiring, we want to make sure that we can replace them with some younger talent in order to keep that ever-going process flowing.
And last but not least on this piece, the FMCSA is actually working on an initiative to get more women to enter the industry. That would also be a substantial and beneficial piece just to grow this hiring spree and to make sure we can get any and all individuals that are safe and great employees working for your organization.
Bottom Line is That Drivers are in Short Supply
Obviously, that is not news again, we already know that. They have more employment options than ever before. The biggest piece here, ways that you’re going to attract top talent, is one of the reasons that you wanted to sit down for this webinar today. A lot of these initial pieces may already be familiar to you as to why you don’t have as many drivers as you need; but the biggest piece here is, of course, is finding out how can you get those drivers in those seats and increase your employee staff.
3 Ways to Attract Top Talent
#1: Give Drivers What They Want
So one way that we can guide you through that process would be giving drivers what they want. Competitive pay, benefits packages are also key, easier said than done, of course. But depending on the signing bonus and the rate that they’re given, that may be the difference between hiring a driver today and them leaving tomorrow or hiring a driver today and them staying for the next 10, 20, 30 years. If you have to have an internal conversation and see what is more valuable and are keeping that driver for a longer period of time, this most definitely seems to be the better case scenario. Prioritizing a healthy work/life balance; so giving those drivers the ability to be at home, see their families have a good work experience and healthy work/life experience as well. Drivers just having the ability to go to work and enjoy their job is a crucial and small difference that can be made in order to effectively grow your staff. And COVID safety protocols to keep them safe as well.
#2: Provide an Easy Application Process
So, the application you use can either make or break your recruiting process. Thich means, if you’re currently using a paper-based process or perhaps using partially digital, where you have a generic application for a digital process, but still have your DQF packets or your driver qualification file packet in paper format, that can be a major factor that removes potential candidates from working for you. I have had, through my conversations, many individuals and many businesses that are still working in paper that have to have individuals come to the office specifically in order to apply. And that may work for you currently. But you are missing out on a larger portion of drivers that prefer to fill out applications, whether it’s mobile or on their home computer or laptop; just giving that accessibility increases those employment options for you to get more drivers behind the wheel. By having easy to use digital applications, the same process for step two here, it’s easier for drivers to complete while away from home.
So, mobile friendly is key as well. Not only filling out a digital application, but making sure they can use that from their cell phone or their mobile device. We found through Foley, that through our mobile friendly application, it increases submissions by 33%, which is a fairly large number. So if you currently don’t have that, maybe you have a digital application, but it’s not mobile friendly; that may be something that you want to speak to us about or investigate, or at least have a conversation on different ways that this can be improved or changed in order to increase your staff.
#3: Create and Efficient Onboarding Process
The next step is creating an efficient onboarding process, so time to hire matters more than before. If you don’t act fast, you could lose quality candidates to a competitor. I’ve seen this almost daily from trying to onboard drivers for companies that are reaching out to us for help. They have drivers and their onboarding experience is taking – I’ve seen it as high as three to four weeks – even longer; and they’re wondering why the drivers are not completing the onboarding experience and going to the business next door to be hired there. So of course, getting onboarded faster, making sure the driver can have a digital process moving forward, and making sure that the compliance process is quick is very crucial to finding those candidates and then keeping those candidates. But that also doesn’t mean to do that and miss any steps.
We don’t want to miss any compliance pieces. Speed is not equal to safety, and you still want to make sure that you are verifying their employment status. You’re running those MDRs and keeping out for all the compliance portions, but you need to have that driver on the road and do that fast. There’s a fine line in between the completing the onboard effectively, but also compliantly. That’s something that we most definitely can do and help you with, or at least review that with you if you do have any questions. Then, making sure your DOT regulated candidates are already registered in the Clearinghouse; if you have any CDL drivers, at least since it began; there’s been a lot of instances where drivers are just lost in the process. You typically need an email in order to get registered, and drivers are delayed through that process and that can create large distraction and issues, specifically for those drivers, making it difficult to get them onboarded in an effective timeline.
So, those are the pieces that you can assist them with to make sure they’re already registered or have a process through the application to assist them. That’s something that we do as well in order to make sure that’s already completed to not make it an additional hurdle.
Automation = Faster Time to Hire
Automation equals faster time to hire, so it’s kind of a given. Depending on what your current process may be, if you are currently running in paper, or if you’re partially paper and digital; with the way the world’s working, technology is going to increase that speed flow and increase that time-to-hire process for onboarding and increase your driver count.
Step 1: The Digital Application
We’re going to go over a few different pieces here, which involves that process and part of that automation, one being the digital application. The digital mobile application will make it easy for drivers to apply. So something that I’ve talked about beforehand is you’re able to a larger audience – individuals that may not want to go your office location or that don’t want fill out an elongated application or paper application or print something out in order to sign it can do that digitally. You’re open to a lot more candidates which can improve your process. And of course it needs to be DOT compliant. I do come across some clients that have a generic application or an ATF they’re using, but the DQF process and the actual DOT required application is in paper still. So, it’s great when you have that digital process initially, but it’s still delaying you when that driver qualification file packet is in paper and not digitized for the entire application. Through our system, we’re able to capture that digitally; and once the driver hits submit on that application, that information actually directly uploads into the account for review.
Step 2: Background Screening
Part two is background screening. The information contained on the driver’s DOT compliant application is going to give you everything you need to run their background screens, including required consents. For our digital application, we already capture eSignatures for all that information to streamline that process for you. If you’re doing that today, that would be fantastic. If you’re using a different vendor or doing that internally, and it’s in paper, those may be some additional hold ups for you that you want to think about to review, to improve upon. If you are working with Foley, all you have do is give us the okay. We can automatically get that process flowing for you, which would be including a safety performance history, a pre-employment drug test, and the pre-employment Clearinghouse query, depending on which driving positions they are.
Step 3: Full Compliance
Then you have the full compliance piece. The information we’re getting through both the application and screens will be used to get that driver fully compliant quickly. Again, speed is important through onboarding, but it’s not as important as being compliant. There’s a fine line to make sure you can do both; that is exactly what we can guide you with, in order to do this correctly, or assist you through our services. That will be a driver qualification file being built, and the driver will be enrolled in a random drug and alcohol testing program. Of course, this is required depending on the driver type, and the same goes for the Clearinghouse query program.
Faster Onboarding Process Gives You a Competitive Advantage
The bottom line being that an onboarding process gives you a competitive advantage. Absolutely, of course. We’re all trying to find out ways that we can improve that process, but also maintain compliance; and that is something that we would love to give you the ideas on how to do so. That’s what these tips on this webinar will be guiding you through, which is keeping that automation process but also giving you the ability to maintain compliance.
Foley’s Automated Solution: Driver First Mobile Application
I’m going to go over a couple different bits about how our organization can actually help you onboard those drivers fast, but also making sure they’re compliant. So, one of the first pieces here would be the driver first mobile application. The application itself being mobile friendly, increases application flow by 33%. That is again, depending on your driver hiring volume; there could be a fairly large number of potential candidates that you’re missing. Especially if they’re having, again, to print anything out to fill an application or physically go into your location; we can improve that process and get you more potential candidates to screen and grow your business the way you’re looking to do so.
Lighting Fast Background Screens
The next piece here would be the background screen. We ourselves are a consumer boarding agency, so we’re able to successfully consolidate your onboarding experience and run those background check services, as well as collecting all those required documents, including the consent forms, as part of the application process, in order to quickly get those results back for you.
One of the next pieces here would be the automated compliance. Our system keeps track of all important dates. For your medical cards or driver’s licenses, when they are expiring or need to be renewed, our system automates that information for you and sets out reminders in the portal for you to be aware of so you can then update. That would also be a process that could be done digitally and by mobile.
Have Questions? (860) 815-0764
This portion, I’ll leave open for questions. I know we went over a lot of information, so I probably only have time for a couple questions here. I’ll select them through those that have come in. The first one I will read off reads: “Hello, I’m currently using a digital application through one vendor. However, I feel as though it’s still taking a while to get drivers on the road. How could you help?” Absolutely great question. I’m very happy that you’re currently utilizing a digital application. I think that’s fantastic. It really depends on what your process is like. Without understanding your current onboarding flow and what your onboarding structure looks like, it may be difficult to tell. But when I do come across this when speaking with other potential clients, it seems to be that you think you have a digital process, but in fact, it’s a little bit more manual than you believe. Perhaps you are uploading documents into the system, and it’s not automatically flowing into those pieces, into those driver qualification files and not automatically running those motor vehicle reports.
In addition to that, there’s a lot of organizations out there that are really multiple different vendors in one, you just don’t realize it. So, a lot of these compliance vendors perhaps are not really reporting agencies, so they’re outsourcing some of their background checks or motor vehicle reports, and that’s something that you may or may not be aware of. If there’s a delay and you’re waiting for that MVR, or you’re waiting for a different background check or a PSP or whatever it is that’s taking days or weeks, it may not be specifically on that vendor. But because that vendor is outsourcing that information, you may or may not have to reach out to another party in order to do so. That can become cumbersome, a little bit more difficult to onboard that driver, so it’s something that we differentiate ourselves.
We are the consumer boarding agency, and we’re able to streamline your entire process from start to finish. If you have any questions, need assistance or guidance or changes; you will have one specific representative and account manager to reach out to and are not calling into any sort of hotline number and speaking to a random person. Something that we are very fond of is our customer service approach.
One more question here. It reads: “I am nervous about going digital since most of my drivers are older and not tech savvy. Could you still improve our process?” That’s a great question. Something I rarely come across, but do come across. You know, working nationwide, there are some locations out there that have more drivers that are a little bit older than others. It really depends on a couple of different pieces here.
The first being: it can be scary or nerve wracking to make a change in something that you’re not comfortable with. So, put in perspective on a personal matter, I used to have an Android phone, I currently have an Apple. Before I switched over to utilizing an iPhone, I didn’t think I liked it. I didn’t think I wanted to change. I didn’t think I would ever change. When I did, I couldn’t imagine going back. That’s just a personal approach. A lot of things that I’m trying to state through that idea is the fact that you don’t know what the changes will be until they happen. And the world is evolving, technology will definitely be here to stay, so that may be something you want to consider for the future because it may not be for today, but in the next 5, 10, 20 years eventually digital is going to be the mainstream process of how this is accomplished, especially with the offsite audits being done so frequently, and especially with COVID being around. The next piece of that would be assisting your drivers in that scenario.
Our system does have the capability of still managing those drivers. If in fact, they don’t feel comfortable using their mobile device. Let’s say they have to update documents or renew certain documents and they feel comfortable just bringing that document into you. There’s still ways to upload documents into our system to have a workaround for those specific types of drivers. If those responses didn’t answer exactly what you’re looking for, and if you have additional questions beyond that, please reach out to us after; we’re happy to chat with you. The same goes for the remaining questions that are on here. Unfortunately, I don’t have time today, but myself or one of our other members will most definitely get back to you to answer those additional questions as well. Otherwise, thank you everyone for joining today. I really appreciate your time, and we look forward to joining you in other webinars in the future. Thank you.