By: Ray Haight, TPP Retention Coach
According to Wikipedia; Strong culture is said to exist where staff responds to stimulus because of their alignment to organizational values. In such environments, strong cultures help firms operate like well-oiled machines, engaging in outstanding execution with only minor adjustments to existing procedures as needed.
Conversely, there is a weak culture where there is little alignment with organizational values, and control must be exercised through extensive procedures and bureaucracy.
Research shows that organizations which foster strong cultures have clear values that give employees a reason to embrace the culture. A “strong” culture may be especially beneficial to firms operating in the service sector. Source
The keyword in all of this is Values. Every company has a visible set of values whether they know it or not, whether they have formalized those values in a company statement or not they exist, and they are visible in a multiple of ways both positive and negative.
This is the essence of culture, and you cannot impose values on people; values develop over time and depend on one’s environment and life experience. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we typically align ourselves with people, friends’ spouses, and work environments that align with those values. When we don’t align ourselves in like values, we struggle which can lead to divorce, quitting a job, leaving a misaligned community, etc.
If you employ people or contract services, whether you realize it or not, your most successful relationships likely mirror your values. We like it when our values align as it fits our comfort zone, we typically know what to expect, and over time these relationships strengthen. We build a team we can depend on and get comfortable with; these relationships endure the test of time.
If you are still reading this, then I haven’t bored you to the point you have turned the page, then here is my point. I have tried to help many companies get their heads around why their efforts to have their current driving force assist in the recruiting of new drivers to their company and show them why their efforts haven’t been successful in attaining the milestone set for this effort. Here is what most of them don’t realize; it is their culture that is restricting their results, among other things, but primarily it comes back to culture.
If your culture is weak, I guarantee you have poor communication channels and likely no communications strategy within your business. A good communication strategy would encompass your drivers, all contractors, employees, customers, suppliers, enforcement, and the communities you serve. Sound like a monumental job but it isn’t; it is quite easy, really, it just takes focus and structure. If you’ve worked within a culture where communication is poor, you know that it is the worst situation you can imagine. In its worst form, it is check your brain at the door scenario and do no more or less than what you were hired for, and it’s tedious and unrewarding.
Drivers who are asked to assist in recruiting new drivers to this type of company will resist for several reasons. Here are a few, first, and I think foremost, they don’t have any confidence that you know how to run your business. They think you are going to over hire and threaten their livelihood. I drove for ten years so I heard it over and over again, believe me, this is true, and if you have poor communication why wouldn’t they think that way? They’re in the dark about what you might need you haven’t told them anything that is going to motivate them to help you, so why would they? Indeed, not because you offered some never-never plan as a monetary incentive. The ones that pay a cent a mile for a year or quarterly installments designed to appear as though there is a windfall coming sometime in the future. I think some of these programs are designed to motivate drivers to recruit for the company and to incentivize the driver to stay a little longer at a carrier to realize the future gain, how’s that going? My guess it does neither very effectively.
If your culture is strong, getting drivers to assist in the recruiting effort looks entirely different. First, you will have developed an inclusive value statement; you’ve done this by asking everyone in your business to contribute to its content. You have asked them to bless the outcome, you’ve asked them, does it cover their and your core values? And can they work within the confines of it?
Secondly, your people know what is going on within the company because it has a strong communication strategy. This strategy informs them, keeps them abreast of what is happening, it asks their opinion, it tries to involve the community, customers suppliers, and even reaches into the individual employee’s families. You have given them information, and they believe you when you say that your customers are busy and demand additional capacity to service their needs. You need the additional drivers to keep the accounts you have. There is no threat to your driver’s livelihood, and it is the preservation of the account and miles you’re trying to achieve you convey a win-win scenario and they believe you.
Finally, there is no never-never plan as an incentive to help your company hire new drivers; you pay cash, in full, the next pay period after the new recruit turns the first-mile period. Your drivers have followed your direction as to what type of individual you’re looking to hire. They have shown the potential candidate the value statement that the company is governed by and have stressed whatever information you feel necessary that the potential new hire must understand and agree to be successful at your company. You screened them, and you tested them, you accepted them, you put them in the truck. If the individual doesn’t work out, how is that the driver recruiter’s problem? You owe them, pay them.You do it for your in-house recruiters, why not you’re on road recruiters? If you want to make an impact with on-road recruiters, this is how to get it started.
Regards & Safe Trucking.