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Truck Driver Recruiting: It’s Not Just About Money

Investing in a compelling, well-rounded employment brand pays long-term dividends for driver recruiting and retention.

Conversely, if your messaging focuses entirely on money, where does that leave you when a competitor offers even marginally better pay?

Granted, it often seems like some truck drivers will jump ship for a penny-a-mile raise. Which, for a driver logging 100,000 miles in a year, equates to a difference of barely two dollars a day. And if the comments I’ve heard over the years from drivers who’ve done just that (only to return to their original employer a short time later), two dollars a day is hardly worth the aggravation and heartache that comes from working for the wrong company.

The simple fact is, all companies have unique personalities—or, more broadly, brands. And a genuinely valuable, well-defined brand can be the most important competitive advantage your company can command. For starters, it enables you to more effectively recruit the kind of drivers who’ll feel at home working with you. Even more importantly, it can create the kind of company-to-driver bond (and with it, long-term driver loyalty) that money alone will never accomplish.

Consider this quote from an employee of SAS, ranked by Fortune Magazine as 2011’s Best Company to Work For: “People stay at SAS in large part because they are happy, but to dig a little deeper, I would argue that people don’t leave SAS because they feel regarded, seen, attended to and cared for. I have stayed for that reason, and love what I do for that reason.”

Sure, you might say, but SAS pays its employees top dollar and offers some amazing job perks a trucking company could never afford to give. I’d point you straight to Number Three on Fortune’s Top 100 List: Wegmans Food Markets. How many of its 11,000 employees do you think make anywhere near what a veteran trucker earns? Precious few, indeed.

Naturally, earning potential is always going to be an important draw for drivers—which is why an integrated recruitment campaign should never ignore the issue entirely. But if your core employment-brand message genuinely reflects what makes your company great, prospective drivers are a lot likelier to give you a second look than the company that’s talking only money. And if you’re living-up to the promise your brand-messaging makes, they’ll be a lot less likely to listen to that company when they’re trying to steal those drivers away from you.

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