The ongoing driver shortage in the trucking industry is no secret. In fact, new studies show that the industry as a whole will have to hire almost a million new drivers in the next 10 years to keep up with demand. While this number may seem staggering (because it is!), it doesn’t have to mean a headache for savvy recruiters. This is because there is a new group of workers ready to hit the roads—Gen Z
While millennials may have a bad reputation for killing everything in their path, relatively little is known about the new generation coming up behind them. While the oldest members of this new generation are barely 23, Gen Z is poised to become a large portion of the American workforce in the next few years, and it’s time for CDL driver recruiters to take notice.
Waiting for the Gen Z workforce to turn 21, so they can gain an interstate CDL license, presents an amazing opportunity to corner this young market. According to Forbes, Gen Z recruits are entering the workforce much earlier than their millennial counterparts. This means that CDL driver recruiters have a unique chance to engage Gen Z workers early in their career and create lifelong corporate relationships.
If you thought recruiting to millennials was hard, however, Gen Z might be a bit of a shock. We’re talking about a generation that was born and raised with a cellphone in hand and who have never known a world without the internet. To truly attract and retain Gen Z CDL drivers, you must be even more astute in how you leverage recruiting tools and engage with prospects.
Here are four ways to attract and retain Gen Z CDL drivers:
1. Make mobile the star of your show.
Yes, this is a critical recruiting point for all generations of drivers, but Gen Z applicants are even more reliant on a mobile experience. From text message interviews to single-sign-on application programs, every part of the application experience must be mobile optimized in order to hold and keep the attention of this new generation.
Even your DOT application itself should be accessible from a smartphone, without requiring any kind of PDF download. Look for mobile-accessible ATS solutions for a truly mobile-first application experience.
2. Streamline your application process as much as possible.
Unsurprisingly, industry experts agree that Gen Z workers are much less likely to continue engaging with a company that has a poor job applicant experience. This generation is used to experiencing the world through custom, personalized engagement sessions, and these expectations extend to their job hunt preferences.
A good place to start is to visualize the recruiting process from the driver’s perspective to get a grasp of how it actually works to go through your recruiting process. Try to eliminate as many unnecessary steps as possible to streamline the process.
3. Set up a clear professional development program.
An exciting trait of the Gen Z workforce is their excitement and willingness to learn new things. While it may seem as though the trucking industry is stagnant, this penchant for growth can easily translate into professional development.
As a CDL driver recruiter, it’s important to work with your operations team to develop clear paths for growth within your company. Whether this means new management tracks, leadership roles, or salary tiers, creating levels your drivers can work toward will entice both Gen Z applicants as well as other development-minded drivers. Strong professional development programs are also a great way to strengthen your reputation in the marketplace, as it shows you are loyal to your drivers and want them to succeed at your company.
4. Create new ways of communication and engagement.
Alongside their penchant for mobile and their affinity for Wi-Fi, Gen Zers are also comfortable giving their opinions freely, and this won’t stop with their employers. For maximum retention of your new Gen Z drivers, make sure you create new, collaborative avenues of communication between your department, management and other drivers.
Whether you build a company-specific app, where drivers can submit ideas, or have a driver-only message board, where they can engage and converse with each other, there needs to be some sort of social aspect to your business beyond a mere company-wide email every other Friday. While these communication channels are important, you shouldn’t lose sight of human interaction. Because Gen Z is an “on” generation, they will appreciate the importance of a personal phone call or conversation. Find an in-between sweet spot for maximum driver retention.