Insights from the 14th Annual Recruiting and Retention Conference
Just how important is the subject of recruitment and retention to the trucking and transportation industry? So important there’s an entire conference about it.
Last month, joined by transportation leaders representing about 150 fleets, I had the privilege of attending the 14th Annual Recruiting and Retention Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. We all converged on Music City to take part in a slew of information, networking, and education opportunities centered on one of the greatest challenges facing the industry today. The conference offered insights into how companies can use data to improve their success rates of finding, recruiting, and retaining professional truck drivers.
The event kicked off with a reception the night of Wednesday, February 22nd, but the meaty part of the conference began on Thursday morning with a keynote by Oliver Feakins (who runs AllTruckJobs.com.) Feakins delivered a presentation titled “Driving Forward: Using Data to Fuel the Future of Recruitment Marketing,” and spoke to attendees about the top trends in transportation recruitment in 2017. What does he foresee over the next year? Companies getting outside their comfort zones. Expect organizations to invest more in video, social media, and other technology-centric communication and marketing channels.
An Emphasis on Data and Technology
Virtually everything I saw at the conference affirmed this perspective. During breakout sessions, speakers and panels explored the manifold in which ways the industry is reaching out to drivers through the internet and interconnected personal devices. We learned about how social media KPIs can shape marketing decisions, how advanced data analytics can improve driver compensation, the ways in which drivers spend their time online—and what that means for employee engagement, and much more.
We also heard from Bob Costello, economist for the American Trucking Association; and the actor John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Clavin on Cheers, and voices Mack, the truck in Pixar’s Cars franchise. (Fun fact: Ratzenberger comes from a family of truckers, and the character was named in honor of Ratzenberger’s father, who drove a Mack truck.)
Aside from the chance to meet Cliff in person, one discussion I found particularly fascinating considered how companies can use videos to engage with drivers on the road. When employees may be spending weeks and months away from the home office, a simple, 90-second video featuring a CEO-delivered message reiterating the importance and value of your drivers can go a long way toward improving retention and safety. (Hint – CompliView’s a great way to get started with video)
Another session focused on strategies to grow your fleet—not just fill the trucks currently on your yard. When ten percent of your vehicles may be empty at any given time, how do you balance immediate needs with future expansion plans, and break out of the workforce churn cycle? The answer lies in specialization: your fleet probably isn’t like Wal-Mart, meaning you shouldn’t try to provide all things for all people. Instead, you may be able to achieve better growth by serving a certain sector or niche, or by hauling specific commodities.
There were also conversations how technology can enhance the operator’s role, leading of course to the question: Could self-driving trucks solve the driver shortage? My sense is no, probably not for at least another 10 years. Not that I’m against autonomous vehicles—I certainly wouldn’t mind being driven around Dallas by my pickup —but the real concern is the threat 4-wheelers pose to overall safety. I’ve seen people update spreadsheets on their iPads while driving down the freeway. If those drivers are out there, autonomous trucks better have the capability to make quick, defensive maneuvers, and the technology doesn’t seem to be there quite yet.
Compligo: Made for Driver Recruitment and Retention
Compligo actually aligns with many of the subjects discussed at the conference. Our platform is designed to complement recruitment and retention programs by allowing users to send out videos to their team, enhance those videos with quizzes and other follow-up materials, and measure the efficacy thereof with detailed data about engagement. It all ties neatly back to our trucking customers’ KPIs.
We’ll dig deeper into each of these topics—and the ways in which our products can help—in the next few weeks here on the Compli blog, so stay tuned.
Until then, I’d like to thank everyone who put the conference together, and send a shout-out to all of the company representatives we met and introduced to Compli last month. I spoke to many people about their challenges around onboarding, compliance, safety, and retention. If we met each other at the annual conference, or if you’d just like to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on LinkedIn here.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate Brad Vaughn, VP of Recruiting for Maverick Transportation, who was presented with the Annual Recruiting and Retention Conference 2016 Recruiter of the Year award. Congratulations to Brad and the Maverick Team!