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The logistics of attracting and retaining top talent on our roads

With a renowned driver shortage in the logistics sector, Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman, is encouraging operators to deploy their own effective tactics to help retain and attract drivers.

Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman

Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman

Alongside the plethora of daily challenges fleet operators face, combating an ongoing skills shortage remains a prevalent issue. With more than 1.4 billion tonnes of goods transported by road in the UK in the last year alone[1] it comes as no surprise that demand for qualified drivers is high[2], and any shortage is cause for concern, not only for operators, but the UK supply chain as a whole.

Whilst some economic factors influencing the shortage are beyond our control, such as HGV licence application costs potentially deterring young drivers, there are steps fleet businesses can take to improve their retention and recruitment efforts. Effective company policies, training programmes and new tech-enabled tools all play a role in attracting new talent, whilst keeping the reliable drivers you already have satisfied in their roles.

Firstly, you need to think strategically if you want to get the high quality hires you are looking for. Promoting job roles on social networking sites, such as Facebook and relevant industry job boards, is an extremely targeted and cost effective way of recruiting talent; from geo-targeting your adverts to areas where you need drivers, to targeting those who have the job you’re advertising listed as their occupation on their profile, you know you’re adverts will be served to a more relevant and engaged audience. You also get real-time data on how your job ads are performing, as well as having tight control of how much budget you are putting behind them, so you can easily manage the process.

Additionally, videos promoting your company’s offering, and what certain roles entail, can serve as a great tool to engage potential candidates, whether placed on your website or used as marketing collateral. Casting your own employees to star in such videos helps put a genuine face behind your brand, and they will be able to talk passionately and knowledgeably about what it is like to be a part of your team. Not only does this come across as authentic content, but also means viewers get a real-life glimpse into the culture of your business and, if produced well, will really connect them with the idea of working with you.

Decision-makers in any fleet business should also look to invest in relevant technology to attract and retain employees. For example, installing in-cab mobile solutions improves communication whilst out on the road, resulting in better connectivity between drivers and management. Communicating with your workforce and monitoring in real-time not only improves your day-to-day business operations and boosts productivity, but it appeals to prospective staff and current staff alike, as they will feel supported, valued and safe throughout their working day.

However, if you do take steps towards new tech-driven solutions, ensure existing workers are upskilled with adequate training. Whilst paper methods of record keeping will soon be outdated, some colleagues will inevitably need some convincing that new technology is the way forward, and if you do not take the time to bring them up to speed and train them how to use new equipment, they might feel out of their depth and de-motivated by such changes.

Additionally, using data-driven insights to incentivise drivers is a wise move. Telematics data can initially provide a very clear picture of driver behaviour, notifying operators and drivers of any safety breaches, such as speeding or harsh braking, giving drivers the chance to improve performance with driver training.  Managers can then utilise that data to create their own incentivising programmes, rewarding good driver behaviour to encourage progress.

Not only do incentivising programmes boost morale for existing staff, but they can prove attractive to prospective drivers too, and can set you apart from the competition if promoted correctly. Such policies simultaneously promote a positive road safety culture, in which drivers then feel proud to play a part. According to a recent industry study[3] that we conducted, 69% of organisations are not currently rewarding driver behaviour, so there is certainly scope for more fleet businesses to invest in this area.

Ultimately, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to attracting and retaining staff, and the tactics you deploy will largely depend on the needs and scale of your business. Whatever your needs are, there are steps you can take that demonstrate appreciation, respect and concern for current and future staff, which will go a long way when it comes to tackling any staffing issues the industry might experience.

 

[1] The findings are taken from Gov.uk – Road Freight Statistics 2017

[2] The findings are taken from Skills for Logistics

[3] *The survey represents the findings of 229 UK respondents, conducted 2018

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.