Today, roughly seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves.
Knowing this, it’s critical to ask whether or not you – as a fleet owner/manager – are leveraging the power of social networking when it comes to driver recruiting and retention.
If you're not, it's high time to reconsider. In the trucking industry, stats indicate truck drivers – and there are 3.5 million of them in the U.S. right now – are no strangers to media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This means you can grow your trucking team using these social platforms to recruit new drivers. Plus, social media provides opportunities for improving driver retention that more carriers should take advantage of.
Wondering how to get this done? Here’s the good news: it’s easier than you think. Below, we break it all down for you.
Drivers Want (And Deserve!) to Get Recognition
Never, ever doubt the power of praise.
Recognition and gratitude mean much more than you might realize – especially when drivers are given public acknowledgement among their peers.
How can you accomplish this? Everything from new driver hires to driver birthdays to work anniversaries are all social media-worthy.
Another option is to highlight drivers that have made significant contributions to your company overall. Featuring a driver who is consistently meeting high safety standards, or going the extra mile (so to speak!) for a client, are two great options. Another idea is to publicly commend a driver for charitable work they are doing within your community.
Why? If you don't show appreciation to those that deserve it – such as that driver who has been with your company for 30 years, or the driver that went out of her way to help another motorist in need – they'll stop doing what you appreciate (but never showed you appreciated it) in the first place.
Social Media Helps Drivers Feel Like They Are Part of Your Team
We all want to feel like we belong somewhere.
But according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, it’s something many companies are falling short on. “40 percent of people say they feel isolated at work, and the result has been lower organizational commitment and engagement,” the article says.
How can you mitigate this problem? Enter social media. It helps drivers – who are always alone on the road – to feel like they are a part of something bigger.
Channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow them to share thoughts, opinions, etc., among their peers and to feel like they belong.
Harvard Business Review also found that: "If workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits. High belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days."
Social Media Provides a Way to Communicate with Drivers in Times of Need
We can't say enough about establishing open communication lines between managers and drivers, but we'll say it anyway: communication counts.
The pandemic is a perfect example of how this comes into play.
Hootsuite spoke about the role of social media in crisis communications in this article. “In a crisis, social media’s role is much larger and more complex than simply checking Facebook's crisis response tool," it points out. "55% of Americans get their news from social media."
Wondering how you can use this in times of need when it comes to your drivers and social media? Consider using the platform to provide up-to-the-minute communications, updates, etc., with your drivers, for starters.
Social networking channels are also a way to provide resources and/or relevant information that can help your trucking team navigate through challenging scenarios.
Mental health, for example, has been discussed frequently since COVID-19 sent our world into a tailspin. Consider posting resources for truck drivers who may need help navigating the mental health challenges they've never dealt with before. You could include links to reputable online sources or create your own company resources if you have the means to do so.
The Time to Get Social is Now
If your trucking company has been meaning to establish an online presence, but it keeps getting bumped to the bottom of someone’s to-do list, here’s our advice: don’t put it off any longer. You’re missing out on a valuable retention resource that could mean the difference between a driver that stays with your carrier for the long haul or one that leaves.