On May 19, our Director of Client Engagement at FATj.com, Amanda Fasano, was joined by our friends Mitzi Hartman and Jill Kotys, from McLeod Express for our first webinar. The topic of the webinar was How to Attract and Retain Drivers While Being COVID-Conscious, and there was a ton of insightful information that came out of it. One of the more popular segments of any webinar is the Q&A at the end, so we consolidated those questions into one post for you to read and share with your team.
If you have any additional questions for Amanda or FATj.com, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get you the answers you need.
Question: What processes that you’ve adopted over the last two months do you feel will stick around after COVID-19?
Mitzi: I can say for 100% for certain that we will stick with Zoom as our orientation platform. I think we will bring some of the hands-on training back, pre-trip inspections, the road tests, a few things like that will come back into play. As much as COVID has hurt many individuals, we have seen in our business in the transportation world, because we are so resilient, become more efficient, and make us look at things a little differently.
We see that older folk whom you might think will have a problem jumping on Zoom, or the super-drivers from years ago would be the ones who wouldn’t want to do it. But now we are hearing them tell us, “Wow, I can’t believe we can do this today!”
So I absolutely believe that we will have 85% of what we are doing now stick with us due to the success we’ve had with it.
Question: Have driver questions or objections changed for you since COVID? Or have things that drivers worry about, regarding routes and pay, remained the same?
Jill: We have seen a lot of drivers do have questions about freight and whether we can keep them running or not right now. We assure them that we can and that we are providing clean sanitized safe equipment for them, along with any necessary PPE to keep them safe and protected. We also make sure that our customers are doing that themselves with our drivers.
So far, we haven’t had a lot of objections. There maybe have been a couple of people who pushed back for a period of time. When they did have an objection, it wasn’t for very long, and they ended up coming to us within a couple of weeks as things started to settle a little bit.
Question: Do you feel that your relationship with drivers has changed during COVID-19? If so, how?
Mitzi: Absolutely. I think that our drivers feel more secure now than ever. Security, understanding, support, and communication are all things our drivers have felt because we have kept the lines open. In the beginning, and I am sure everyone else did, you are communicating every day and saying we are doing it. We were sometimes making multiple changes a day, and just keeping them informed gives them that sense of security that we do care, because we do.
Sometimes, especially pre-COVID, we say we care about drivers, but our actions did not always reflect that because they are in a cab and they have all the time in the world to think, and we are in the office busy and crazy, and they don’t see that. All they see is somebody’s not getting back to me, and not all the fires we are putting out. What’s happened here is not really a role reversal, but we’ve had to communicate so much that it gives them a sense of security. I think they absolutely appreciate the time we’ve invested keeping them going on.
Question: How are you handling your driving tests differently?
Mitzi: We are not currently doing road tests. What we are doing is selecting drivers with enough experience that should not need a road test. We put our trainers on hold and have ceased any activity that puts two people in the cab of a truck as an organization.
Question: How do you work or communicate with drivers’ concerns during this health crisis?
Mitzi: We have a macro that goes directly to Cole McLeod, our President. We have an open-door policy, and a lot of companies say that, but they don’t live it, but at McLeod Express, we live it. He makes sure they [drivers and concerns] go through the proper channels and doesn’t take a complaint without going to a supervisor with it. Right now, if it’s a COVID complaint or COVID concern, it’s all of our concerns, no matter who receives it. It doesn’t matter, and we are all handling that. I also think our HR department has done a really good job of keeping everybody informed so we can answer those questions.
If you missed the webinar, you can view it on-demand here. We loved hosting this event, and having friends in the transportation community join us for it, and we are looking forward to inviting you to our next one. If you're looking for some best practices for driver recruitment, check out our guide here.