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How to Hire (and keep!) Reliable Drivers

Tips and Advice Posted by Jeremy Green, Inside Sales Manager on May 26, 2015
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High quality employees who are also safe and reliable drivers can be difficult to find. It’s important to remember that anyone you hire is an ambassador for your brand and your company. You want them to be a good fit for your culture and their role, but you also need them to be safe and vigilant on the road. So how do you go about finding these people? And once you do, how do you keep them around? Agreement-737969-edited

Hiring Reliable Drivers

When it comes to hiring, companies with fleets should have a clearly defined hiring process. From the driver-specific interview questions asked, to whether or not you do background checks, everything you do should be defined ahead of time. Step one in this process is becoming familiar with any state or federal rules about hiring. For example, companies that fall under DOT regulations must maintain a qualification for each driver. These include a series of requirements that must be fulfilled, including driving records, road test certifications, an annual driving review, and a medical examiner’s certificate.

In addition, you should have a defined hiring policy that lists the exact steps and requirements needed to hire a driver. This will ensure that every driver is properly vetted before being hired, and they know what will be expected of them ahead of time. Companies with smaller fleets tend to lack these policies because there is often no designated fleet administrator and the fleet responsibilities are distributed to multiple employees.

Holding Interviews

When it’s time to actually hold the interviews, it may help to begin with statements instead of questions when referring to a prospect employee’s driving responsibilties. The reason for this is to set the stage for the process and expectations. Plus, it’s your chance to show that the company values safety as an integral part of the job. By beginning interviews this way, applicants will understand that the questions asked of them are subjected to a validation process such as a background check or Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) check.

Following these statements you can move into some open-ended questions. These can include questions about driving history, training, certifications, or any other appropriate questions. Finish the interview with specific, pertinent questions that you’ve laid out ahead of time. Be sure to give the applicant an opportunity to ask you any questions as well.Human_Rescources-230269-edited

Retaining Employees

Once you find a candidate who fits the necessary qualifications, it may help to offer them the job on a trial basis instead of jumping right into full time. This probationary period gives the candidate time to get acquainted with the company and provide any training necessary. Have them sign a policy ahead of time that outlines the expectations and requirements of this probationary period and when it will end, if there is a review process at that point, and how they transition into full time employment.

Sometimes it’s really not just about the money. If you want to retain your valuable employees, that you have trained and made investments in, start by asking them what they want from their company vehicle. More progressive fleets are aware that a well-rounded work environment is much more important than squeezing out a few extra dollars. Keeping your employees comfortable in their vehicles, giving them the tools they need to do their job and be successful and making sure they get home to their families safely are all vital. Doing these things successfully will improve driver/employee retention and help you avoid the time consuming and expensive process of recruiting, interviewing and onboarding new employees.

Company Provided Vehicles  

An important part of finding and retaining great employees who are also reliable drivers, is providing them with company owned or leased vehicles. Reimbursing drivers comes with a lot of risks and headaches, but also isn’t appealing to potential employees. Employees often see company provided vehicles as a bonus, and companies that switch from company provided vehicles to reimbursement can expect to see, on average, a 10% increase in employee turnover.  

Company Policies and Procedures

When a new employee comes onboard, it’s important to make sure they are familiar with and comfortable with all vehicle related procedures. How do they purchase fuel? Are they responsible for tracking their miles? Are they responsible for personal use tax? What are the rules regarding use of technology (cell phones, GPS, etc.) in the vehicle. This is your chance to show your newly hired employee that you care about their safety and set clear expectations for their employment.

Finally, consider rewarding drivers for safe and efficient driving behavior. Things like avoiding hard braking or speeding can increase safety and also improve the company’s bottom line.

Finding someone who is both a reliable employee and a safe driver is difficult. Once you find them you’ll want to be sure you can hold onto them.

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