Trucking HR Canada outlines projects at PMTC conference
June 19, 2013
KING CITY, Ont. -- When the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council lost the majority of its federal funding, it would’ve been easy to fold its tent and leave the trucking industry to deal with its own HR-related challenges.
KING CITY, Ont. — When the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council lost the majority of its federal funding, it would’ve been easy to fold its tent and leave the trucking industry to deal with its own HR-related challenges.
However, recognizing the vital need for support and the threat of an ongoing people shortage, the organization soldiered on, partnered with industry organizations and reinvented itself as Trucking HR Canada. And now, the organization, in its present incarnation, is more focused than before.
Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada, spoke at the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada’s annual conference this morning, to provide an update on the services the group provides. First, she explained the reasons behind the restructuring.
“In 2010, the federal government undertook a strategic review of all the (sector council) programs,” she said. “They were looking at where they could make their budget cuts and funding changes. We were part of that.”
Some funding remained in place for the organization, but the group had to become more self-sustaining, Splinter explained.
“We had to develop a business case around everything we have,” she said. “We are still a not-for-profit organization, but we have more of a business approach.”
The group re-evaluated its programs and services, and relaunched as Trucking HR Canada in March, just as its previous funding expired. It is now overseen by a smaller board consisting of four members. So, what can be expected of the reborn Trucking HR Canada? Splinter said the group will continue with its labour market information studies, which explore industry demographics and trends.
“We want to continue doing this type of research,” Splinter said. “It enables us to be more responsive with the types of programs, products and tools we then develop.” It helps also that the feds have identified labour market information projects as worthy of continued funding.
Tamara Miller, director of programs and services with Trucking HR Canada, also said work will continue on expanding the National Occupational Standards first developed by CTHRC. In fact, a new round of NOS were released the morning of her presentation.
The standards define the main roles and responsibilities within an area of work. The first NOS focused on the jobs of: entry-level driver; professional driver; specialty driver; and mentor/coach. The new standards include: dispatcher; cargo worker; freight claims specialist; safety and loss prevention specialist; shunt driver; and supervisor/manager/foreman.
Fleets can reference the standards when hiring, training and evaluating staff. The NOS can be downloaded free of charge from Trucking HR Canada’s online store.
The new group will also continue to offer its popular HR Guides. The three volumes focus on: recruitment and retention; hiring and retaining immigrant and temporary foreign workers; and building the business case for HR and managing generational differences.
Speaking of generational differences, Trucking HR Canada recently concluded a study on youths’ impressions of careers in trucking. The study found young people and educators see a lot to like about careers in the industry, but have concerns about things such as: time away from home; safety; stress; sleep deprivation, etc.
Interestingly, Miller said most respondents – both among young people and their educators – thought of careers in trucking in the context of driving. Miller said the industry must do a better job of raising awareness of the breadth of careers available within the trucking industry.
“People are not promoting the variety of careers we have in the industry,” she said. She also noted some of the concerns, such as safety, are perceived issues that may not even exist.
“We need to start dispelling some of these myths,” she said, adding fleets should be promoting their safety records when recruiting employees.
Another recent project has been the compiling of various government funding opportunities. Splinter said a free guide can be accessed on the group’s Web site, which outlines funding opportunities that currently exist.
“There are a lot of initiatives out there,” she said. “We consolidated that into this short document that explains each of these programs.”
Lastly, Splinter spoke of the HR Circle Check program; an online tool that provides fleets with a way to self-assess their current HR policies to identify their strengths and weaknesses. The program has been well received, with 300 carriers taking the survey since April, about half of which were private fleets.
Participating carriers receive a customized self-assessment report that compares their HR practices to industry benchmarks. It also provides links to modules developed by Trucking HR Canada that will help carriers improve in the areas where they fall short. The survey takes just 15 minutes, Splinter said.
Assessing the surveys that have been completed to date, Trucking HR Canada has identified the following concerns that continue to pop up: a lack of understanding on why people leave; too much money being spent on recruitment efforts; too much time spent on unqualified applicants; lack of a consistent hiring process; how to adapt to hiring process for different generations; conflict between generations; how to evaluate foreign credentials; always being in a reactive mode to fill vacancies; and concern about losing the knowledge of experienced employees.
The HR Circle Check can be taken at the Trucking HR Canada Web site: www.TruckingHR.com.
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