Building a High Performance Team of Drivers

The difference between success and failure is teamwork. The strongest teams will consistently outperform expectations and overcome adversity. Weak teams will trip over the smallest of hurdles and cost the company money. Recruiters are responsible for putting together a high performing team of drivers. Keep reading to learn how to build a high performance team.

Don’t Hire Good Drivers, Hire Great Drivers

High performance team celebrates together.The 2019 ATA Driver Shortage Report predicts that the shortage could reach 160,000 drivers by 2028. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that there is no shortage, but instead high turnover creates a perceived shortage. Either way, both studies pressure recruiters to hire any qualified driver that applies.

That is not what you should do to build a high performance team. Yes qualifications are important, but they are only part of hiring the right driver for your company. Ideal candidates will show a commitment to their career.

Hire applicants that stay with companies for long periods of time. Avoid applicants that have a history of changing companies like they change clothes. Drivers that have a track record of switching companies frequently will not hesitate to leave your team for a higher paying job elsewhere.

Hire drivers that fit well within your company’s culture. Ask the applicant how they deal with their current co-workers/managers. Avoid drivers that speak poorly on their current colleagues, they will do the same to your team.

One negative team member can ruin the entire team’s morale. Recruiters that take the time to hire drivers that are qualified, committed, culture fits, and have a positive attitude will have the right pieces in place to form a high performance team.

Unite the Team by Focusing on Goals

Gather the team together and brainstorm a list of goals that you want to achieve together. Involving the drivers in this process will develop a sense of ownership. Reaching the goals will become a point of pride for the drivers. Drivers that want to reach their goals will be inspired and motivated. Opposed to drivers that feel forced will perform reluctantly. A team that comes up with the goals together will work as a team to achieve the goals.

Offer Advancement Opportunities

Drivers may not perform at a high level if they believe they are in a dead-end job. Most drivers want to advance in their career and improve their craft. Sites like CDL Training Spot are dedicated to teaching drivers strategies that make them better drivers. If the drivers you hire can see a career path ahead of them, they will be more motivated team members. Obtaining more endorsements or moving up to management will motivate some drivers. Others may find it appealing to move laterally into a position where they do something different. Keep an eye on your team and provide the resources they need to make the career moves they desire.

Individual Motivation Strategies

A one-size-fits-all approach to motivation does not work. Some drivers want to be checked in on constantly and reminded of the goals. Others want more autonomy in their work and relent the idea of having their hand held by the boss. In times of stress, certain team members respond strongly to a kick in the pants while others will crumble from the pressure. Think of the best sports coaches throughout history, they do not treat every player on the team the same way. Effective team leaders are aware of how different team members respond to different motivators. As you lead your team of drivers, do your best to inspire each of them in a way they will respond positively to.

A high performance team of drivers is the best asset a trucking company can have. High performance teams will improve your company’s retention rate and help avoid having to deal with idle trucks. A recruiter that hires great drivers, unites through goals, offers advancements, and motivates individuals will succeed at building a high performance driving team.

Building Trust Into the Truck Driver Recruitment Process

It is no secret that there is a growing disconnect between drivers and recruiters. The feeling that recruiters will say anything to get drivers into seats is growing amidst drivers. You need to work on building trust into the truck driver recruitment process. When asked about their skepticism of recruiters a driver said,

“Because recruiters are in sales… they’re selling their employer’s driving positions to you…”

So the question stands, how do recruiters establish trust with applicants?


Self Reflect, Where is the Miscommunication Coming From?

Cartoon between cat and dog depicts business miscommunication

Recruiters that we have spoken to about mistrust claim that they do not intentionally lie to drivers. They say that miscommunications occur when the carriers pass information intended for the applicants through the recruiters. Similar to the game telephone.

A recruiter I spoke with on the topic said,

“Most of the ‘lying’ is actually miscommunication. Trucking has a lot of moving parts in real time and things change constantly and instantly.”

In order to buck this trend you must analyze your current flow of information and identify points where miscommunication can occur. Identifying these points will enable you to attack them head on.

Deploy Radical Transparency Through the Entire Recruitment Process

Ray Dalio popularized the term ‘radical transparency’ in his book Principles. In layman’s terms, ‘radical transparency’ is being transparent in every step of the process. This will improve overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Throughout the recruitment process, you need to be radically transparent at each step. Inform the applicant about the possible areas of miscommunication. This may seem counterproductive; however, doing so will lay the foundation for trust that a mutually beneficial relationship can be built on.

By laying this foundation of trust, we can then begin to build the type of relationship that will make the driver want to stay with the company. While reflecting on all the times they had been recruited a driver said,

“The only recruiter that was truthful with me was the one for the company I’m with now.”

In the case of this driver, all it took for the recruiter to earn the driver’s loyalty was for the recruiter to deploy radical transparency.

Go out of Your way to Initiate Communication

As the recruiter, it is up to you to communicate with the applicant where you are at each step of the hiring process. Never assume that the applicant has no questions or concerns simply because they have not directly asked you. By repeatedly reaching out to the applicant and providing them with updates and asking if they have any questions you are establishing yourself (and vicariously your company) as a trustworthy source. Frequently initiating communication with the applicant will build a stronger relationship and ensure that all parties are on the same page.

Make the Every Element of the Process Personalized for the Driver

Even in an industry where turnover rate hovers around 100%, switching employers is a big decision for drivers. In the initial interview with the driver, it is up to the recruiter to find out what is motivating them to switch carriers. Is it money? Is it home time? Does the driver’s current company not value its drivers?

By figuring out the driving force behind the driver’s desire to switch companies you are able to accurately assess if the position you are filling is a good fit for the driver. If the position is a good fit then you are able to solve the applicant’s biggest employment pains by hiring them.

Use this to your advantage. Inform the applicant that your position will alleviate the problems they are experiencing. Solving the driver’s biggest employment pains will earn their trust for as long as you were honest with them throughout the recruitment process.

Trust is an essential element to truck driver recruiting. Unfortunately the level of trust drivers have in recruiters is deteriorating, so you must actively work to earn that trust. Building trust into the truck driver recruitment process will help you earn the loyalty of drivers hired. Analyze your hiring process to minimize miscommunications, deploy radical transparency, initiate communication, and personalize the process in order to build trust into the truck driver recruitment process.