Are you looking to recruit new HGV drivers for your business? In this article, Kelly Friel from automotive and tool supplier Zoro shares her top tips for attracting and retaining new talent in the industry.
If you’re currently searching for new drivers for your business, you’re not alone. Disturbances in the supply chain caused by the pandemic and Brexit has led to a significant shortage of HGV drivers. In fact, the UK is facing a shortage of over a staggering 100,000 drivers (BBC News).
The good news is that the government are planning on speeding up the HGV driver licensing process, which will allow up to 50,000 more HGV driving tests to be made available each year to meet demand (GOV.UK).
However, in order to fill these roles, you need to work on encouraging people to apply for the jobs in the first place. To simplify the process for you, here are four tips for attracting and retaining new HGV drivers to help your business thrive.
Educate potential applicants on the industry
There are many misconceptions about HGV driver roles that may prevent potential applicants from going for the job, so it’s important to do some myth-busting. Spend some time educating people on the industry and clear up any misunderstandings that many people have, such as:
- Lorry drivers aren’t safe on the roads: Educate people on the rigorous rules and testing that HGV drivers and their vehicles are subject to.
- The pay is poor: Share with potential applicants that the average HGV salary (£32,100) is actually 8% higher than the national average salary, and that some drivers can earn a whopping £60,000 per year (Jobted)!
- It’s a lonely job: Tell people about the thriving and supportive community of HGV drivers, and explain that employees get the chance to meet and mingle with lots of new people all over the country thanks to regular travel.
As well as dismantling these myths, you should also teach people about the positives of the career. For example, highlight the freedom and flexibility of the role, as well as the opportunity to travel and visit new places.
There are many ways that you can educate people on the life of HGV drivers. If you want to do it in person, you could attend career fairs and hand out pamphlets, or do a talk at a local secondary school. You could also use social media and blog posts to get your message across.
A great way to attract new and refreshing HGV drivers is by reaching out to groups who are currently underrepresented in the industry. One such group is women, with only 2% of UK HGV drivers being female (Truckcraft Bodies). There are also fewer and fewer young people applying for HGV roles — in fact, 50 is the average age of a HGV driver, and it’s predicted that a third of current drivers will retire within the next five years (The Guardian).
To appeal to both younger people and women, consider running recruitment campaigns targeting them. A good campaign for attracting female drivers is to advertise the safety of the role. You may also want to consider providing new women employees with a female mentor to guide them through their first six months in the job, so they can feel comfortable asking any questions — especially ones about women-specific issues.
To attract younger applicants, consider what they want out of a career and tailer the recruitment campaign to this. For example, many millennials and Gen Z’s want an employer who will prioritise their wellbeing, so you should consider how you and your company can meet this need (Gallup). You could also offer apprenticeships to attract employees from an early age, to help them kickstart their HGV driving career.
Create a positive company culture
A positive work culture isn’t just vital for recruiting and retaining new talent, but for the health of your business as a whole. Employees working for a business with a positive company culture are usually more content with their roles, which can lead to higher levels of productivity too. In fact, research has found that companies with disengaged employees experienced 16% lower profitability, 18% lower productivity, and 37% lower job growth over time (Harvard Business Review).
So, to both attract and retain new employees and help your business thrive, you should evaluate your company culture and consider ways it can be improved. The good news is that there are a number of simple and effective ways to improve your company culture for both you and your staff. One way is by making sure management is open and approachable. Be honest and transparent when communicating with your staff, then encourage them to do the same and come to you if they have any issues.
You should also remember to show appreciation for your staff and praise employees who are doing a good job. As well as making them proud of the work they’re doing, this will also boost their confidence and encourage them to keep up the good work. And remember to make your company’s values and goals clear to workers, so that all employees know what they are working towards.
Encourage employee growth
Both potential applicants and current employees will be put off a role if there is no option for career growth, so you should aim to make this possible for all members of staff. Make it clear to both current staff and potential new employees that your business actively encourages employee development and share the ways in which you can help them achieve this.
One way to do so is by offering employees regular training sessions. These sessions don’t need to be limited to just polishing the skills they already have either. Why not encourage employees to venture out and learn new skills to diversify their skillset? You should also try to set up regular one-to-ones with your employees to review their recent performance and give them the chance to ask you questions about areas which they can improve on.
And to help employees get insider information to allow them to progress in their careers, give them the opportunity to have a mentor to help them grow. As well as being able to give specific advice on the employee’s chosen career path, whether it’s management or getting licencing for driving hazardous goods, a mentor can boost the employee’s confidence in their current role too.
By using the tips above, you’ll be able to attract and retain a team of enthusiastic and passionate HGV drivers in no time. And to keep up to date with the latest in the logistics industry, make sure to check out the other articles at Talent in Logistics!