This summer, TP Trucking has been busy revamping and refocusing their recruitment strategies for truck drivers. The change comes as the operation is striving towards their expansion goals set in 2020 to gain more drivers over the next several years.
Yet, like many other carrier companies out there, TP Trucking is facing an industry wide issue of finding, attracting and retaining new truck drivers. The turnover rate in long-haul trucking has been 90% for decades, according to the American Trucking Associations data. It is not a new problem
There is also the matter of the lifestyle truck drivers have to manage: long hours, loneliness, being away from home for an extended period, and the danger of being on the road. Making the lifestyle more appealing and easier to manage can set carrier companies apart to entice new drivers more.
For TP Trucking, the issue does not come from their company culture, which boasts a 20% turnover rate, one of the lowest in the industry. They face a tough market, where to attract new talent you have to set yourself apart in a competitive manner.
To increase their recruiting and marketing efforts, TP Trucking hired Ron Brewster as the National Recruiting and Training Manager in May 2021.
“Having Ron join the team has been a great asset. It will enable our recruiting efforts to increase efficiently,” said Tom Gennarelli, VP of Trucking and Transportation.
Their driver recruitment methods have expanded from the traditional search for experienced drivers. The TP Trucking team is now hiring drivers with less than a year of experience and coaching them through a full training process to on-board them to their new career.
“The new strategies we’re taking are not entirely different from before I arrived,” said Brewster. “To meet new market demands, we have to change focus slightly to hire newer drivers. If you only focus on hiring experienced drivers, you will lose half the battle.”
Brewster follows a four-prong approach to recruiting where they look for: experienced drivers, experienced drivers who haven’t driven a flatbed, intermediate drivers who’ve driven for 4-6 months and will need intensive flatbed training and new trainees who just got their CDL license.
“In order to market to this diverse group of drivers, we’re working with an external marketing agency and it seems to be going really well so far,” said Brewster.
In the last 90 days, TP Trucking has added about 30 drivers to the team, which is a significant increase over last year where they only added 40 in the year. The goal for 2021 is to have 200 drivers total between company and owner-operated. Then in 2022, the goal is 250.
“Big carriers would laugh at those numbers because organic growth has been nearly impossible over the last 5-7 years,” said Brewster. “However, that’s mainly due to their rate of loss being hard to overcome versus smaller carriers. I fully believe we’ll be able to reach those goals at TP Trucking.”
TP Trucking’s recruitment focuses not only on broader public appeal, but to specific demographic sectors such as veterans and women drivers.
“We’ve spent time recruiting with Troops to Transportation in the East and West. We are also having moderate success recruiting more women as well,” said Brewster. “We hired five women recently and each is a great asset to the team.”
TP Trucking actively wants to hire more women to help diversify the company and the industry overall. For the longest time, only 6.7% of drivers were women according to the American Trucking Associations, but with significant efforts to improve through different financial and training programs, the numbers are rising. From 2018 to 2019, the number of women drivers rose 30% and for some carriers they staff a quarter of the fleet.
“We welcome all women drivers to apply and join our team to continue their career advancement,” said Brewster.
As the focus on recruitment has expanded, one thing has remained strong and aided in attracting talent: company culture.
“The beauty of recruiting for TP Trucking is the amazing opportunities and environment it provides to current and prospective drivers,” said Brewster.
TP Trucking prides itself on being driver centric with a close-knit team culture that focuses on people helping people. They put driver safety and lifestyle quality as top priorities for their employees. They also focus on helping their local communities in a variety of ways. TP Trucking was recently awarded the 2021 Image Award from the Oregon Trucking Association (OTA) and have won previous accolades for their safety records from the OTA.
Their financial and healthcare packages also secure TP Trucking as a competitive employer among other carriers. There is a real focus on the well-being of the whole driver as they recognizes the challenges that come with the driver lifestyle.
“The lifestyle can be hard to balance, but the team here does a great job of helping drivers through the ups and down that come along,” said Brewster. “Being away from home isn’t easy, but TP Trucking is excellent at getting their drivers home every week.”
For the newly on-boarded drivers, they find a helping hand in Mona Chisum, Driver Supervisor., who was featured as the December 2020 member of the month for Women in Trucking.
“Mona is fabulous; she spends her time helping new hires get accustomed to the routine. She coaches them through obstacles they might face such as where to park tonight, what gates to go into for shipping and how to balance their time regulation schedules,” said Brewster.
Making sure their drivers are happy on and off the road is important. The team does their best to ensure support is given where needed, especially as they progress in expanding their fleet size.
“It’s an exciting time to be at TP Trucking,” said Brewster. “Come join us!”
To learn more about how you can apply to be a driver, visit https://www.tptrucking.com/drive-for-us