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Adapting Your Driver Recruiting to the Coronavirus

Something that trucking has always had going for it is, America (and most of the world for that matter) runs on trucking. Even at a time where up to 3 out of 4 Americans are under some form of “lockdown” due to the coronavirus pandemic, trucking soldiers on.
Trucking is one of the few “essential services” that no matter what circumstances arise must be allowed to continue for us to have any hope of a functioning society. This, however, serves somewhat as a double-edged sword for the industry as a whole.
On one hand, there is virtually no situation in which trucking will be asked to shut down; which during a time where we see huge numbers of small businesses’ survival threatened and seemingly iconic brands struggling to cope with the financial ramifications of the pandemic, is comforting to hear. But on the other hand, those that work in trucking (more specifically drivers and fleet employees unable to work remotely) are among those few expected to keep working no matter how dangerous or extreme the circumstances may become.
During a time like this, fleets are faced with entirely new obstacles on top of the already daunting driver recruiting hurdles.
Randall-Reilly regularly trains driver recruiters at trucking fleets. This involves listening to hundreds of phone calls with drivers. As you can imagine, drivers are asking new questions before deciding to drive for a fleet. Are you prepared to answer these questions?

What Are Drivers Concerned with as the Coronavirus Rages On?

Concerned truck driver inside semi truck
Here are some of the most common questions fleets and their recruiters seem to be fielding as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Top Questions Asked by Drivers Linked to the Coronavirus

  • When traveling for orientation can I have my own room or will I have to share?
  • Is there any way I can take part in orientation online?
  • Am I able to rent a car and drive myself instead of taking a bus or flying?
  • Are you offering hazard pay during the outbreak?
  • Are you offering any form of extra bonuses for being away from my family during this time?
  • Is there a bonus for delivering to areas especially impacted by the coronavirus, such as New York City?
  • How have customers treated your drivers during this time?
  • What extra precautions are you taking with shippers and receivers to protect your drivers?

Do You Have Answers for These Coronavirus Questions?

It’s only natural for drivers to want a little reassurance about what your fleet is doing right now.
If you can address these concerns head-on you’re already ahead of the game. One thing every fleet can do is take steps to make current and prospective drivers feel as safe as possible. If there are options available to you to reduce contact during any recruiting, orientation, or onboarding practices, use them. If you haven’t already, make sure your on-site staff is well educated on sanitation and safety practices as well as increasing the level and frequency of cleaning.
Unfortunately, it looks like we’re in for some rough weeks and months ahead. The rigorous cleaning and social distancing practices are not going anywhere for the foreseeable future, and if we have any hope of ever getting things back to normal we will need our truckers to…well, keep on trucking. Pun intended.
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Nimble Fleets Must Adapt to the Unique Challenges of the Coronavirus

In last week’s discussion with Truckers News editor, David Hollis, he mentioned that many shippers and receivers have already put in place strict guidelines to keep drivers in their trucks while picking up and dropping off freight.
Fleets must also look to change their approach where possible in these trying times. The trucking industry has always had to be flexible and able to adapt. The current viral outbreak is no exception. Fleets must adapt if they hope to not only survive but thrive.
Here are a few of the ways we’ve seen fleets responding to the coronavirus to protect their drivers and keep their trucks rolling.

  • Online Orientations
  • Emergency Health Pay
  • Recruiting Furloughed Drivers
  • Hazard Pay
  • Adjust Travel for Orientation

How Two Fleets Are Meeting the Challenges Presented by the Coronavirus

Traveling to Orientation in Style

Right off the bat, I’m going to acknowledge I know that 99% of you reading this will be unable to do anything approaching this, but I thought it was worth mentioning to show, that if nothing else, fleets all over the country are doing their best to change their approach to minimize unnecessary contact for drivers.
In a bit of an unexpected move, Hirschbach has taken to transporting their newly hired drivers by jet. Yes, you read that right. They are now moving new drivers around the country with their corporate jet in an effort to avoid having them take buses or commercial flights to reach their final destinations. It’s certainly an unorthodox and possibly drastic move, but nonetheless it illustrates just how seriously fleets like Hirschbach are treating the coronavirus outbreak.

Emergency Health Pay

U.S. Express has implemented a new emergency health pay policy. All drivers and non-telecommuting office employees diagnosed with coronavirus will receive $500 a week.
This new pay policy lets drivers (and other front line employees) know that if they do contract the virus they have a safety net waiting to catch them. Whether you’re able to offer hazard pay or some form of emergency health pay like U.S. Express or not, it is important that you try to do all you can to let your drivers and any potential drivers know you are aware of the risks they take and will be there to support them if and when they need it most.
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Have You Changed Your Driver Recruiting Practices?

How have you shifted your approach to driver recruiting in this time of uncertainty? We’re working on compiling a list of best practices for driver recruiting, and we’d like your help. Let us know how you’ve changed what you do. What’s worked? What hasn’t?
Leave a comment or video on social media letting us know what new approaches you’ve adopted with #TogetherWeTruck and tag Randall-Reilly. Or if you’d prefer you can upload a video here. The goal is to share valuable information with one another to help us all get through this together.
If your fleet is struggling to adapt or isn’t able to find and target the drivers you need, reach out to us. Just like you, we are learning and evolving to meet the shifting needs of our world. Working together we can help you find the drivers you need and get them out there where they belong, and where we all need them; on the road.