As your business grows, you’ll find it necessary to add new fleet drivers. Having a documented and systematic process for onboarding will make this a whole lot easier and less time consuming. If you don’t already have a plan, now’s the time to develop one. 

Here are some helpful tips:

Hire For Culture

Too many companies make the mistake of hiring based on experience alone. And while experience does matter, it can’t be the only filter you use. Other factors are just as important. In fact, you may be more successful if you hire for culture first and experience second.

A driver who fits your company’s culture is going to be much happier in your organization. They’re also going to add value to your team (rather than suck the energy out of the room).

The key to hiring for culture is to have longer conversations with candidates before extending offers. A 10-minute phone conversation won’t cut it. Ideally, you want to bring them into the office, have a full interview, and introduce them to other members of the team.

Digitize Tasks

Thanks to online tools, 90 percent of onboarding processes can be done digitally before orientation. This includes all paperwork related to background checks, employee agreements, document collection, tax forms, direct deposit forms, etc. Digitizing these tasks will make you twice as efficient. 

Take Orientation Seriously

Nobody likes orientation. It’s boring, awkward, and time-consuming for everyone involved. However, skipping orientation – or failing to give it the attention it deserves – is a huge mistake that will hurt your onboarding process and hamstring your new hires from the start.

According to Conversion Interactive Agency, drivers decide within the first 72 hours of orientation if they’ll leave their new employer. One of the top issues cited is a lack of proper training and new driver support. By taking orientation seriously, you can flip this issue on its head and impress new drivers from the start.

Integrate the Right Tools

Create a competitive advantage in your fleet hiring by modernizing your processes and equipping your team with the best technology on the market. This includes better fleet maintenance software.

Good fleet maintenance systems don’t just benefit the back office. They also benefit drivers who find it easier to operate their vehicles at peak levels of performance. Keep this in mind as you evaluate different platforms.

Set Clear Expectations

Do your best to create very clear and well-documented expectations for new hires from the start. This is usually done in the orientation phase. However, it’s also important that you put your money where your mouth is once they’re hired. Follow through with every single policy so that new hires know you mean business. 

Offer One-on-One Help

For the first couple of weeks, assign each new driver an existing driver who has been on the team for at least six months. This driver is available to answer questions, offer feedback, and facilitate a smooth integration into the team. (Not only does this reduce the frequency of errors and mistakes, but it also forms a stronger camaraderie between your new hires and the existing fleet drivers.)

Know Your Numbers

The only way to know how you’re doing on the hiring and onboarding font is to collect and analyze the data. More specifically, there are three metrics you should pay close attention to. 

The first metric is something we call “velocity.” This is the time it takes for a candidate to go from filling out an application to actually getting behind the wheel and driving. The faster your velocity, the better. Slow hiring velocity indicates serious inefficiencies. 

Retention is the second metric to watch. This is the number of drivers you retain over time. We recommend tracking retention over three months, six months, one year, and two years. Your retention will obviously decline the longer out you look, but this will give an idea of how long your hires stay on. 

Finally, study new-hire crashes. A high crash rate in the first year indicates that you aren’t doing a very good job of safely onboarding new drivers. And if it hasn’t already, this is going to impact both your retention rate and bottom line. 

Knowing your numbers is absolutely vital. And the longer you track your numbers, the more clarity you’ll have on the health of your organization. Don’t miss this!