From an early age, many of us grew up loving trucks. Whether it was the classic big yellow dump truck in your sandbox or an awesome Hot Wheels 18 wheeler, kids just seem to be born with this innate sense that trucks are cool. It doesn’t matter if they’re from the big city or living on a county road, they see a big truck go by and it’s pure excitement. Unfortunately for the trucking industry, at some point that awe of all things trucks fades away. Faced with a driver shortage and a tough recruiting environment, the trucking industry needs to tap back into that childlike sense of coolness, awe and excitement that comes with trucks.
Yes, drivers today have to deal with a whole new set of challenges such as new technology and complex regulations. However, generations of potential drives lose their love of all things trucks way before being faced with those obstacles. So how do you change that? First, some brands need a makeover: both the “brand” of what it means to be a truck driver as well as the “brand” of the trucking company. Further, you need to adapt and start to utilizing new tools of communication, which are the foundation of rebranding and reaching new talent.
The American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) analysis of 20 years of data confirms that a demographic shift is underway: The share of younger employees in the trucking workforce is now decreasing, with the industry more reliant than ever upon a specific generation—the core of which is within the 45- to 54-year-old age group.
To attract or incentivize new drivers, the industry needs to tap into that love of all things trucks; start focusing on the benefits of truck driving while making the profession more appealing and cool. Highlight the positive aspects of truck driving like adventure, independence, the open road and horsepower. One simple way to start improving your driver recruitment strategy is by creating, or updating, your online presence. This step will make your company more attractive to drivers, let alone new business opportunities.
1. Create or update your website
At this point, 99% of all prospective drivers and/or customers have a mobile phone. The first thing potential recruits will do when they want to learn out about your company is a search for it online. Having a nice website may seem like a low priority in terms of your day-to-day business, however, it can have a big impact on your recruitment strategy.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly (even better, allow candidates to apply online)
- Consider working with a local marketing company to help. The ROI will be worth it.
- Use original content (avoid stock photos)
- Your website should link to your social business accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn
- It will take effort, but try to continuously update your website’s content; the old model of “set it and forget it” just doesn’t cut it anymore
2. Create collateral/content
Explain and show what a trucking position with your company is like. Use a local marketing company to create a brochure both for print and on your website. Include quotes from your current staff, promoting your company and its culture. Most millennials have no idea about CDL licenses, hours of operation, or truckload vs LTL trucking. Create and sell your company’s “brand.” This is what people are looking for in regards to a new employer; they want to be a part of something they feel a connection to. Candidates want to feel that connection to your company before accepting a position. You can’t expect people to just show up at your door; you need to be proactively talking about the benefits of working at/with your company.
- What does a typical day look like at your company?
- What sort of pay or benefits can they expect?
- What are the hours daily/weekly?
- What are the technical, physical, educational requirements?
- What type of culture do you have/promote?
- What makes your company a special place to work?
3. Start a Facebook Business Page and Advertising Campaign
Facebook is the largest social network in the world and with their advertising you can target your local area.
According to the Social Media Examiner “95% of Millennials expect brands to have a Facebook presence. Also, 87% of Gen X’ers (30- to 44-year-olds) and even 70% of those ages 45 to 60 think brands should, at the very least, have a Facebook page.”
First, you will need a Facebook business page
- If you don’t have one, set one up. This is a painless process and you or someone at your company should make happen right away. Make sure you appoint someone you trust to run this page and make sure you have the login credentials once created.
- Use some great pictures/imagery that really highlights the people, culture and operations of your company. (again avoid stock photos)
- Promote your mission.
- What do you stand for and why?
- Your copy should have a call to action such as “Looking to drive your future, consider joining our team!”
- Offering financial incentives for acquiring CDL or a sign on bonus is another great way to draw attention to your open positions.
Once your page has been set up, you can set up your campaign with Facebook. Next, focus on using the Ads Manager, as this is the easiest ad feature to begin with. You can target your local area and target people who follow other sites that are similar to trucking.
- Hubspot marketing software has a blog post about how to set up a great campaign if you want to get a bit more in depth.
- Workable also has a step by step guide on “how to post a job on Facebook” as well.
Once Facebook is set up focus on a LinkedIn page. LinkedIn gives your business a feeling of professionalism and will connect you with many peers participating in the “digital” trucking industry.
Overall, if your goal is to attract top talent, one of the easiest and most affordable things you can do as a company is to invest in your online presence. Making your company image current and appealing is a simple first step, not only for recruitment but also as an overall business strategy for your “brand”. Let’s remind people why trucking is cool, let’s tap into that sense of adventure and always remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression.
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