LONDON, Ont. – An attentive crowd of 70 industry professionals participated in the first Driving for Profit seminar Jan. 24. The event took place at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn in London, Ont.
Organizers say the goal of the series is to provide transportation industry experts the tools and information needed to improve their business in a timely and cost-effective manner. The first seminar was geared towards recruitment and retention with an emphasis on best practices for keeping drivers.
David Brown, recruiting manager of The Rosedale Group, gave tips on how companies can improve their hiring practices during his “Raising the Bar” presentation.
Brown noted that in the same way not all drivers are meant to be drivers, not all recruiters are fit for recruiting, so it’s important to evaluate their performance consistently. He told listeners that even though many recruiters find it difficult to turn down potential new hires – either because the company is short on talent or they fear for their own job security – some just plain don’t know how to recruit. It doesn’t help, Brown noted, that the Ministry has been “giving A/Z licences out like candy.”
Brown says that by raising the bar and trying to do better with interviewing practices, your company is raising the bar for the industry overall. His three main suggestions for carriers were to explore new ways of hiring, ensure your recruiter is the right person for the job and to not be afraid to try something different.
Brown’s presentation was followed Ray Haight, executive director of MacKinnon Transport and president of ATBS Canada, who shared best practices for recruitment with his presentation,”Turn Around Your High Turnover.” Haight’s credentials seemed firmly in place from the get-go, as he explained how MacKinnon has turned around its turnover in recent years, going from 120% annual turnover in 1996 to 34% annual turnover last year.
He started by noting that commitment from company directors is likely the “most critical (factor) to (having) a long-term benefit of any retention effort.” Next is having a clear hiring policy to match your company values by eliminating the gray areas and most importantly, never deviating from those standards, he explained. To ensure your existing drivers have met this criteria, Haight says retraining may be necessary, and in some cases, certain drivers may have to be let go.
Orientation is critical to the success of ushering in new drivers and mentoring is also useful to guide new hires, Haight said, so make sure these items are adequately encouraged. Both company veterans and new hires must have their performances evaluated consistently and training must be ongoing, Haight told the audience.
A driver’s overall happiness is key to retention, so companies need to review their pay rates and make sure equipment is kept clean, safe and well-maintained. Further to this point, recognition for workplace achievements and celebrating personal milestones like birthdays and anniversaries can create a sense of pride and comfort in drivers. Other driver-friendly items, from staff BBQs to a comprehensive benefits package, will keep your drivers around for the longhaul and make your company a better place to work, Haight said.
The Driving for Profit seminar series is a partnership venture between KRTS Transportation Specialists and NAL Path Insurance, with SelecTrucks of Canada sponsoring the series. Three more seminars will be held in 2008. The next event will take place in Windsor. For more information visit www.drivingforprofit.com or call 800-265-1657.