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How TMC Successfully Recruits and Retains Student Drivers

Four Steps For Building Your Own Program

TMC Transportation has been recruiting student drivers since 1993. Which makes the Des Moines-based carrier fairly unique among flatbed companies—who tend to demand more experienced drivers. “What we want,” says TMC’s VP/Recruiting Duane Boswell, “is drivers who do the job right. And in our experience, it’s usually better to hire less experienced drivers and train them to do things the way we want them done, than it is to try and get people to change old habits.”

 So how does TMC maintain a fleet with hundreds of drivers, 70% of whom are coming from driving schools?

1. They Center Their Culture Around Student Recruiting.

Lately, a lot of companies have added students to their overall recruiting mix. TMC is committed to hiring students—and has been for over 20 years. “Our entire company culture is built around recruiting quality student drivers, and developing them into quality experienced drivers. We have high standards for the students we hire. We offer new drivers better pay opportunities by rewarding performance over seniority. And we give student graduates real opportunities to develop rewarding careers with us”

That strategy has clearly paid-off, where TMC’s reputation at CDL schools is concerned. “For starters, they know we’re going to treat their graduates right. In practical terms, that means the people they send us will stay longer and be in a better position to pay-off their student loans.”

2. They Reward Performance. Not Just Seniority.

The most ambitious CDL graduates genuinely thrive with TMC, because they get the opportunity to make great money even during their first year. “We’ve had some real go-getters who’ve earned as much as $60,000 in their first year with us, by focusing on the performance incentives we offer.”

3. They Make “Home Weekends” More Than A Promise.

It’s no secret home time is one of the toughest issues in recruiting drivers. Which is why TMC has also made that a cornerstone of its culture. “Sure, there will always be the unforeseen circumstance that keeps a driver from getting home. But drivers who live in our core hiring area are home at least 46 out of 52 weekends a year.”

4. They Pay Attention To The Little Things.

Quality Pay and Home Weekends is still no guarantee you’re going to keep that recent graduate. After all, Boswell notes, “There are plenty of companies out there poaching those new drivers once they have a few months of experience under their belt.”

 Which is one reason why, for instance, I’ve personally heard first-hand reports of CDL-grad turnover rates as high as 180% at some companies. “Our turnover is about 1/3 of that. And a big reason is because we train our staff to do the little things that keep drivers happy. Things as simple as showing real interest in them as people, and genuine appreciation for the job they do.”

Bottom line: There’s no magic formula for successfully hiring and retaining quality drivers. Like anything good in this world, it takes hard work and dedication.

For Further Reading:

How Con-way Recruits Young Truck Drivers With Apprenticeships

Truck Driver Recruiting: Look To The Military For Superior Candidates

4 Ways Oakley Maximizes Driver Recruiting AND Retention

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