Home Truck News Carriers recruiting pick of driver crop amid sluggish conditions   - Truck...

Carriers recruiting pick of driver crop amid sluggish conditions   – Truck News

Putting people first and setting them up for success with opportunities and training helps Challenger Motor Freight recruit and retain drivers. Word of mouth endorsement of how you treat drivers is the best recruitment tool for the company that was recently named the Best Fleet to Drive For.

“People talk about how they’re treated, how they feel in their employment. It doesn’t mean giving people everything they want,” Geoff Topping, chief people officer at Challenger Motor Freight, said during Truck World in Mississauga, Ont.

Picture of Geoff Topping
Geoff Topping (Photo: Leo Barros)

Fleets are hiring drivers despite the weak economy and sluggish trucking conditions. It’s just that they are pickier in their selections and ensuring that people they hire are the right fit for the work being offered.

The Erb Group also has its doors open to drivers, but it depends on what kind of work they are looking for. Alyssa Couvillon, senior director of human resources at The Erb Group, said there aren’t as many empty seats to fill. The carrier’s U.S. division is very busy while local work is a little softer.

Picture of Alyssa Couvillon
Alyssa Couvillon (Photo: Leo Barros)

Couvillon has noticed a reduction in turnover. During the pandemic when spot markets rates were soaring, drivers were quick to grab opportunities and move to earn more money.

Given the current economic situation, she said some drivers are putting off retirement and staying in the workforce longer. Drivers are calling seeking employment as work dries up where they are employed. She’s had some drivers offer to work for less than advertised pay packages as they desperately seek work.

Kentville, N.S.-based Eassons Transport is seeing drivers who left the carrier, now returning. Ravneet Khroud, recruiting supervisor said she’s hired five returning drivers in the past month. Driver turnover was lower too.

Picture of Ravneet Khroud
Ravneet Khroud (File photo: Leo Barros)

“The foremost thing on their mind is money, and at Eassons they are paid weekly,” she said. The carrier only hires company drivers and benefits that include online doctors help recruitment. “They are coming back and are telling their friends about us as well.”

Newly-licensed drivers usually have a hard time finding work and the current situation only makes matters worse. But one company is actively looking for them.

Adriano Longo, senior field recruiter at GFL Environmental said although some roles need experience, many of the company’s locations are hiring new drivers. The job has a big physical labor component.

In the residential side of the business, waste collection is done by two-person teams. An experienced employee is teamed with a new driver, providing an excellent training opportunity, Longo said.

Picture of Adriano Longo
Adriano Longo (Photo: Leo Barros)

The longest non-stop part of the driving route is from the yard to the first pick-up location. From then onwards it is stop-and-go until the truck is filled and driven to the waste collection facility. As one person collects the waste, the other drives. They switch roles while servicing the route, allowing the new driver to get trained.  

As the drivers gain experience, they have an opportunity to apply for commercial waste collection jobs that do not involve as much physical labor and offer more driving. The pay is also better for these roles.

Challenger, Erb and Eassons are also hiring new drivers, choosing candidates that fit into their culture. The carriers use finishing programs to polish skills and underline their safety standards before allowing drivers to head out by themselves. Challenger’s Topping said the waiting list for entry-level drivers to get into the finishing program is longer than before.

There are various reasons why drivers choose to work for a fleet. And trucking companies highlight perks, benefits and positives that prove to be selling points for potential candidates.

Driver feedback

Drivers like to be heard and fleets ensure there is two-way communication. Eassons has an open room environment so drivers can discuss issues with human resources and management. Periodical surveys also help with feedback.

GFL Environmental offers a four-day working week, with three days off. Drivers work four 10-hour days to a total of 40 hours a week. They are paid overtime if they work more than 44 hours a week. This can occur during bad weather when routes take longer to complete.

The trucking business is cyclical, and these carriers are preparing for the next upswing by hiring skilled drivers to haul freight while maintaining a steady pipeline of potential candidates.   

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