How to Hire and Retain Millennials in the Trucking Industry

How to Hire and Retain Millennials in the Trucking Industry

iStock_27506846_LARGE_web.jpgYou have probably heard some of the many characterizations describing millennials. They have been accused of being slackers, holding a sense of entitlement, and jumping from job to job. While there may be a scintilla of truth in some of these, they are by and large misconceptions that are far from accurate.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center, millennials will make up approximately 75% of the global workforce by 2025.  They are more ethnically and racially diverse than previous generations and are on track to being the most educated generation in American history.

Millennials, also known as Generation Y or the Net Generation, are between 18 to 34 years of age—as of 2015—and make up the primary labor pool to replace the aging baby boomer generation, who are heading into retirement at a rate of around 10,000 a day.

In trucking and fleet management, baby boomers are employed in a range of jobs, including drivers, managerial, maintenance technicians, dispatchers, finance and accounting. But what’s troubling is this: when it comes to attracting and retaining millennials, the industry’s track record is less than stellar.


The Rules of Millennial Attraction

What has worked for organizations to attract and retain baby boomers is not going to cut it with millennials, as they are more interested in knowing more about what an organization stands for and what their purpose is in helping that organization achieve growth.

They are also more interested in loving what they do than how much they are paid to do it. In fact, in a survey of millennials cited in a recent article from Automotive Fleet, only 13% stated income as their top priority.

With an aging and retiring workforce, attracting millennials to trucking and fleet management is no doubt critical to not only the future of the industry, but to that of our nation.

So let’s take a look at some practical strategies to help get the ever important millennial demographic on board and more importantly, keep them there.


Focus on Purpose not Paycheck

Millennials don’t just want to punch the clock and collect a paycheck. They are purpose-driven and want to make a difference.

According to Jim Finkelstein, author of FUSE, Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workplace, millennials have become disillusioned by watching their parents in jobs they may not have enjoyed and that often required them to choose career over family. Millennials would rather get by with less if it means a job that they enjoy more.

To appeal to millennials, present the job in big picture terms, such as how having a fuel-efficient and well-managed fleet can help create a cleaner environment and help advance causes. For example, approach a maintenance technician job not as fixing vehicles, rather keeping vehicles in top form to help reduce emissions and cleanup the environment.


Allow for Work-Life Flexibility

According to an Ernst & Young study, 77% of millennials said that they would change jobs or give up a chance for a promotion for a better work-life balance. Millennials value flexibility more than baby boomers, so make compromises when it comes to scheduling.

A fleet manager for Oklahoma Gas and Electric had trouble keeping millennial mechanics. He changed the schedule to where all mechanics would be on rotation with two weeks of day shifts and two weeks of evening shifts and also shortened the hours for the late shift. One year after the change, not one mechanic had left.


Communicate, Collaborate & Reward

Millennials enjoy being challenged and thrive in a team-oriented, collaborative environment, so getting them more involved in decision making and planning is key.

Telling them what to do and expecting them to do it is not going to work, as millennials place a high value on mentoring, coaching and strategic thinking. What will work is describing the difficulties of a task, the ideal course of action to take, the expected end result and then challenging the team to come up with doable solutions.

And when millennials meet results, reward them—and not down the road. Growing up in the digital world, millennials expect instant gratification, so don’t hold off until the end of the quarter to give raises or bonuses for a job well done. Additionally, giving millennials time off is a great motivator and a chance for them to refresh and come back motivated and juiced to tackle what needs to be done.

How do you maximize the potential of millennials in your organization? We would love to hear your strategies.


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