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Find and keep quality drivers

How companies and communities can take better care of waste and recycling truck drivers.

January 21, 2022

It is increasingly difficult to hire drivers, and that includes waste and recycling collection drivers.

There is high demand for commercial driver’s license (CDL) drivers, and many companies do everything they can to get drivers in the door. But these companies could be doing more for their CDL drivers. The best companies, those with low turnover, value their drivers and know how to care for them from the start of the job application process all the way to retirement.

Finding great, qualified CDL drivers happens to be Inflection Poynt's recruiting specialty. It’s more important than ever to recognize value, and companies should take note of a few important tips that will help engage driver candidates, retain their drivers and show them the appreciation they duly deserve. We’ve seen it all over the last few years and can provide several tips.

Streamline the hiring process

Photo courtesy of
Inflection Poynt
Mark Mutton

A new driver going through the hiring and onboarding process gets a firsthand look at how a company really operates. A streamlined hiring process that is easy to navigate will keep the driver engaged and moving forward. When candidates don’t know the next step in the hiring process and are not getting answers from the hiring department, they get frustrated and move on.

It’s important to value the individual from day one as well as welcome them with open arms when they come in for an interview. Approaching a driver with this attitude will help the prospective candidate realize that you know that your business and surrounding community could not function without him or her.

Also ensure the interview location is easy to find. Provide detailed instructions about where to go and who to ask for. After the interview, be clear about the next steps. If it’s not a good fit, then be upfront with the driver. No one likes to be ghosted or led on.

The same principles apply to the onboarding process. Today, processing paperwork for background and drug tests seems to take longer than ever, but that doesn’t mean you leave your new hires in the dark about the process. Switching jobs is stressful and waiting for paperwork to finalize is tough for people who enjoy a physically demanding job. So, update your drivers on where things stand with their paperwork.

Finally, once drivers are hired, value your new employees by overcommunicating with them. Build trust with your drivers by connecting with them frequently as they are learning the job.

Offer competitive pay to all employees

Compensation tells a driver a lot about how the company values its workers. Is what you plan to offer competitive with what other local companies pay? Also, have you increased current employees’ pay to meet what you offer to your new hires?

Keep in mind—employees talk. The quickest way to devalue a current employee is to offer a new hire more pay. The same goes for a sign-on bonus. Sign-on bonuses attract attention, but at what cost? Your current employees need to be compensated as well, or you may end up needing to fill more jobs.

If companies were to stop offering sign-on bonuses and instead focus on investing in current employees, turnover rates would decrease.

Overall, consider evaluating driver compensation against the current market every six months, even if it doesn’t increase each time, to ensure you offer competitive pay to your drivers.

Train and promote from within

Employees want to be proud of who they work for and feel valued, and in turn, they will value the company. So, put money back into your employees by providing ongoing training as well as programs such as tuition reimbursement. Growing employee skills always improves a company.

Additionally, try to promote from within rather than looking to a new hire. This will help your employees to grow in their profession. This benefits both employees and the company.

Offer great benefits and retirement

Health and dental insurance, of course, are good to offer as benefits. But there are some other benefits that could help to set your company apart.

Consider offering a yearly boot credit or provide incentives such as bonuses for a good performance review.

Find alternative ways to thank your drivers. Acknowledgements of gratitude keep your employees feeling valued and will, in turn, keep them with you longer term.

In addition, offering a retirement plan means an employee will be in there for the long haul. Employee turnover is common, but there are ways to help you improve your retention rate. Use the Ultimate Guide to Driver Retention-Ideas and Programs from Inflection Poynt for more ideas.

Know your employees on a personal level

Finally, waste and recycling drivers are important. We need to treat them like they are important and valuable. You keep employees by knowing employees. Know what they truly care about. You can offer all the incentives in the world, but if drivers feel like they don’t matter, they are more likely to find another company. Listen to what your drivers have to say and welcome feedback. Create an environment where employees feel comfortable with expressing concerns and offering suggestions.

Mark Mutton is a U.S. Air Force veteran, founder and CEO of Inflection Poynt recruiting. He founded Inflection Poynt in 2018 with a goal to innovate the recruiting industry through smart sourcing technology. Inflection Poynt’s smart recruiting engine presents job opportunities to qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities through data science strategies and marketing platforms.