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Ryan O'Donnell By Ryan O'Donnell • May 1, 2018

How Employee Referrals Can Improve Driver Recruitment

Are Employee Referrals the Answer to the Truck Driver Shortage?

There is little wonder why truck drivers are considered "the backbone of America." After all, nearly every product purchased in America, whether online or in a brick-and-mortar store, is transported at some point via truck. This factor alone creates a continuous high demand for qualified truckers. 
Unfortunately, trucking companies are experiencing difficulties maintaining the number of truck drivers they need to ensure smooth operations. In fact, according to Bob Costello from the American Trucking Association, there is currently a shortage of 50,000 truck drivers. Costello also warns that without changes to the truck driver hiring process, this shortage could triple by the year 2026.  
Trucking companies do not have the luxury of waiting for things to shift in the job market. They need viable solutions, and they need them now if they hope to remain competitive in the upcoming years.  

Challenges Facing the Trucking Industry

The trucking industry faces several challenges when hiring truck drivers, including:
  • Required Qualifications
Trucking companies are limited with who they can hire. First, they must hire drivers who hold a valid CDL license. While training is a possibility, CDL training can cost an average of $6,000 per driver and take about 8 weeks to complete. This is a hefty price to pay before even putting the driver on the road. Secondly, employers want drivers with clean driving records, or they risk increased insurance premiums. 
  • High Turnover Rates
Another major obstacle trucking companies face is high turnover rates. In fact, the third quarter of 2017 showed a 95 percent turnover rate among truck drivers. Considering the high costs of onboarding new drivers, this is an unsustainable rate for many trucking companies. 
  • Fraudulent Applications
A recent study showed that 85 percent of people lie on their job resume. A small lie may not have a significant impact in some cases, but when it comes to truck driving, even little lies could spell big trouble. If an applicant lies about their credentials or driving history, your company could face thousands of dollars or more in increased insurance premiums, fines and lawsuits.
  • Unique Working Conditions
Another major obstacle for hiring truck drivers is the unique working conditions that come with the job. Truck drivers often spend weeks away from their families, maintain erratic sleep cycles, and basically spend their time in a space that isn't much bigger than a walk-in closet. Truck driving is not the right fit for everyone. 

Truck Driver Hiring Solutions

So, where do you go from here? How do you find innovative solutions that enable your company to attract quality candidates and keep them?
 
One solution is to invest in a well-defined employee referral program. Many employers note that employee referrals are among the highest quality candidates. Think about it: your employee doesn't want to look bad and is therefore likely to refer quality candidates. On the reverse side, a referral doesn't want to let that friend, family member or former co-worker down, so he or she is likely to be a good worker. 
 
In addition, studies show that referrals offer a 13 percent higher retention rate than employees found through career sites. Other known benefits of employee referral programs include short time-to-hire rates, reduced hiring costs and improved employee morale. 
 
While it's not likely your current employee would recommend a friend and family member without believing he or she is qualified for the job, it is still vital to vet every referral. The good news is that blockchain applications like BlockCerts are making it faster and easier for employers to check an applicant's credentials. Learning Machine, creator of BlockCerts, is working with governments, schools and companies to create a blockchain system that will store everything from college degrees to driving certifications to work histories and more in one central location. 
 
Learn more about how an efficient employee referral program may be the innovative solution your company needs to onboard qualified truck drivers today. www.employus.com