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From driver wellness to recruiter fatigue, focusing on health matters: Taking the Hire Road

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DriverReach Director of Sales and Services Wendy Bartz fills in for CEO Jeremy Reymer on this week’s episode of Taking the Hire Road, welcoming to the show Jessie Burnette, chief people officer at Hirschbach, to discuss the creative ways the Iowa-based carrier prioritizes the mental health of its workforce. 

Burnette’s job is to go above and beyond for Hirschbach’s drivers and office staff, explaining that human resources should be more than just recruiting.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a driver on the road or somebody in the office, all of our people here in the office and across Hirschbach have that trucker work ethic and share the same beliefs that we’re all in to win,” Burnette said, adding that they don’t just wear HR hats, recruiter hats or driver hats, but instead wear all of them. 

Burnette applauds Hirschbach for prioritizing driver wellness in addition to safety. As the past 18 months have brought on hardships for many of its drivers, evaluating the workforce’s mental health has increased in importance. Whether it’s someone trying to quit smoking or lose a few pounds before a physical, someone struggling to maintain diabetes or get a two-year med card instead of a one-year card, it’s her team’s goal to make sure everyone can be supported in their personal health challenges. 

When it comes to driver recruiting, Burnette believes that you’re only as good as your last week. However, she understands that performance can fluctuate dramatically week-to-week. This has led Hirschbach to instead evaluate its recruiters based on a six-week rolling average, where its team members aim to keep above a certain scoring threshold as the weeks go by.

“A recruiter who had a very high week might experience lower scores the next,” Burnette said, explaining the up-and-down roller coaster effect that performances can have. “So looking at it in a six-week rolling average, it gives you a better perspective and understanding of how they’re performing overall.”

To make sure that Hirschbach’s recruiters don’t overwork themselves, Burnette encourages her coworkers to step away from their desk on a daily basis, perhaps by playing a game or taking a 30-minute walk outside. 

About our sponsor

Netradyne creates solutions for real-world problems using computer vision and deep learning technologies. Its mission is to transform road and fleet safety through advanced vision technology to change the way drivers interact with the road around them, creating safer roadways in the process.

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Jack Glenn

Jack Glenn is a sponsored content writer for FreightWaves and lives in Chattanooga, TN with his golden retriever, Beau. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.