I walked into the TKO Graphic break room at 7:15 in the morning the other day. There was a man sitting in the dark, watching TV. I asked if he wanted the lights on and he said no, it was fine. I introduced myself, and then asked if wanted a cup of coffee. He did. He said he was looking for some. I brought him with me to the marketing department; we have a Keurig, and about 100 cups. I handed him a paper cup, and he picked a K-Cup. It’s how we marketers roll. He rolls on 18 wheels. He’s an over the road truck driver.
It’s a Family
After we both sipped our coffee, I asked him what brought him to TKO. He told me he had hauled a trailer from Ants Trucking Company in Orlando to have vehicle graphics applied. I asked what it was like to work for Ants Trucking and he positively glowed. He told me working for Ants was like working with family; as a matter of fact, he got his brother a job there. And not only did they treat him like family, they knew his wife and children and treated them as part of the Ant clan as well.
I asked Jimmy a few questions about being an over the road truck driver. He said it can be a demanding lifestyle, but he loves being out on the road, and he does get to spend time on local runs in his hometown of Orlando, which enables him to spend time with his family. Jimmy told me his biggest challenge right now was parking and of course HOS (hours of service) regulations, but at least he worked for a carrier that cared. He’s been in trucking for several years, and hasn’t always worked for companies that treated him like a person.
I think Jimmy hit on one huge key to overcoming the truck driver shortage. If you want to hire and retain drivers, then be a company that cares, and show it. Think about it, not only is Jimmy happy with his job, he thinks enough of the organization to bring his brother on board. Ants Trucking is a family business.
How Carriers Can Show They Care
Pay a living wage
Be fair and take care of your employee’s financially. Money isn’t the only thing that keeps anyone at a job, but when drivers aren’t paid fairly, they start looking elsewhere. There are many trucking companies who understand this, for example, our customer Celadon has a structured bonus system that rewards hard work. Here’s one example, Celadon Team Drivers. And not just wages but help your team with benefits also.
Make it easier for the over the road truck driver
Being an over the road truck driver is a tough lifestyle; living on the road away from family for weeks at a time can be brutal. Ants trucking obviously gets this. As my new friend Jimmy shared with me, he spends time driving locally between road trips and that makes all the difference.
There’s more that can be done to attract and retain drivers, help with CDL classes, healthy lifestyle initiatives, and appealing to wider diversification. However, I believe Jimmy hit the nail on the head when he told me with a smile on his face that Ants Trucking treated him like family.
If you’d like to read more about the truck driver shortage you might enjoy this.
If you’re interested in seeing the Ants Trucking Graphics go here,
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