In an industry that runs 24/7, it may be hard to imagine flexible work options that make sense. These arrangements can include a variety of options, from compressed workweeks to part-time hours, load sharing, job sharing, and more.
However, all of these scenarios exist in trucking and logistics and, in terms of recruiting and retention, the positive impact shouldn’t be ignored. According to Trucking HR Canada’s survey on youth in the industry:
• 59% of surveyed employees 18-35 years old say flexible work is a priority
• 62% of surveyed drivers 35 or older say the lack of flexibility is a challenge to them staying in the industry
• 75% of all surveyed drivers plan on leaving the industry within the next 5 years and cited lack of flexibility as one of the key factors
Top Fleet Employers
As one of the reviewers for our Top Fleet Employers program, which honors the best workplaces in Canada’s trucking industry, I evaluate and analyze the HR practices and programs at carriers of all sizes.
It might surprise you, but 92% of our Top Fleet Employers offer flexible work arrangements to drivers and 85% offer them to other employees. Among small fleets, 94% offer flexible schedules.
Among the benefits: fleets with flexible options report annual turnover rates of less than 22% on average. They also report more employees in the 18-35 age range than the industry average.
How to include flexible work options in your workplace
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to flexible work arrangements but here are some tips to consider:
1. Assess your current practices
Many fleets accommodate employees’ needs without having formal policies in writing. So, if you’re starting from scratch, write down the formal and informal ways you
currently flex schedules to accommodate employees. Do you reschedule routes so drivers can be home when they need to be? Do you have a formal leave policy?
2. Engage your employees
If you want to know what type of flexible work arrangements would help your employees the most, talk to them. Surveys, town halls, group meetings… You won’t know unless you ask. This doesn’t mean that everyone’s idea of flexible work will be included in your plans, but it will give have a better idea of what your employees are looking for.
3. Communication is Key
Any program that involves flexible work options needs to be transparent and fair. The best way to achieve this, as Trucking HR Canada always advocates, is through clearly written, consistently applied, and well-communicated policies.
Formalize your policies. What are your expected hours of work? Who and when can someone request an arrangement? How should and could policies and expectations differ depending on the type of work involved? How do you communicate your expectations? And, again, as Trucking HR Canada advocates on a regular basis, you need someone in charge and accountable for measuring success.
Offering flexible work options is already helping companies stay competitive. Assessing and reviewing your own practices can help you do the same.
Isabelle Hétu is the Director of Programs and Services at Trucking HR Canada, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the human resources challenges and opportunities in the trucking and logistics sector. Isabelle oversees key initiatives including Top Fleet Employers, diversity programs and compensation benchmarking. As a respected leader in HR, Trucking HR Canada works with various associations, government departments and industry professionals to ensure employers have the skilled workforce needed for today and in the future. Feel free to learn more at truckinghr.com or follow us @TruckingHR for tips, practical resources and more. We can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. All posts by Isabelle Hétu