Today, delivery companies, online mega-retailers, Uber and Lyft are all going after the same pool for their drivers. As the workload for delivery companies heats up, the challenge of finding and retaining drivers is becoming increasingly harder.

What does the landscape look like for recruiting drivers?

Kathleen Grady: It’s a huge challenge. First of all, the labor market is very small and it’s shrinking. We’re competing for drivers with companies like Uber and Lyft. People who are attracted by these companies like the idea of setting their own hours, but they really aren’t interested in becoming true independent contractors. They just want to pick up three hours of work here and there.  

Beth Sayler: It’s very similar to the environment that exists in the nursing field. Everyone’s going after the same people. Even if we attract them, these drivers will jump to another carrier for the smallest reason, so we have to be more creative to get and keep them. We have to create an environment where people are excited to come to work. It’s not just about the benefits or the dollar amounts. If your company creates a culture where people feel they are impacting lives, and not just driving a truck, they’ll come and they’ll stay.

Clayton Peppers: Advances in technology, the “gig” economy, government regulations and rising consumer expectations have created a new recruiting environment. Now, on-demand capacity, perfect execution, and reduced margins are the minimum expectations of clients/customers. Recruiting to meet these expectations, while achieving our internal goals, must compel us to come up with some creative solutions. This industry is in a transformative period and we either adapt or perish. 

What have you done to adapt?

KG: Today's environment makes it important for all of us in the courier industry to be more sophisticated in our recruiting than we were even three years ago. 

We’re conscious of how important our social media branding is. Today, candidates go to the web to research companies before they apply or accept a job. They go to Glassdoor and Indeed. We are focused on making sure those sites have the right write-ups about us and the most up-to-date information. We also monitor the comments on Glassdoor and Indeed and respond. We are running ads on Craigslist and Indeed. We are also very conscious of our website. We have to make sure a candidate has a good experience when they go there. 

CP: Our Carrier Relations department builds relationships. We want our carrier vendors to understand Pace’s mission, share in each other’s success, and most importantly, we want to help them grow their respective businesses. We’ve increased the variety of incentives and bonuses. They include sign-on, KPI/performance goals and driver referrals and perfect attendance. And, since a majority of contractors prefer their gratification sooner, rather than later, we offer smaller incentives that are paid in the first settlement, or distributed over the first few settlements. 

BS: Recruiting from the newer generations entering the workforce means realizing that they expect flexibility. They also like to work for companies that are socially and environmentally conscious. We let them know what Hackbarth Delivery does and where we stand as well as what we are doing to give back to the community.

What final thoughts can you leave us with when it comes to recruiting drivers today?

CP: Look everywhere. Talk to your current drivers. They may know someone. Be persistent in your follow-ups. Do periodic outreach to previously uninterested contacts to keep them from going stale.  Keep recruiting, whether or not you have current opportunities. 

Another piece of advice is this: Know what your competitors are doing and where you stack up. There is no better recruitment killer than to offer a bonus that’s 50 percent less than the guy across town is offering. 

Lastly: Hire slow, fire fast. Take your time to find the right person. And, once a “wrong” person is identified, let them go at the earliest opportunity.