One of the more elegant ways of bringing new drivers on board with a fair degree of confidence that they’ll stay is by pre-screening to see if they fit the profile of the job. It isn’t new – I had my first conversation with Mark Tinney of JOBehaviors probably 10 years ago – but lately it’s gained major traction with some big name trucking companies and tens of thousands of drivers going through the system.
Judging from the feedback from those using the service, it really works. I keep hearing of enormously reduced turnover and vastly improved safety experience of the fleets taking on new drivers – always a chancy situation.
Just the other day, Tinney put out a good-news piece about the states of Utah and Arkansas recommitting funds to truck driver training programs because they had such success with pre-screening. He says, “By selecting candidates with the right behaviors for the job, the Arkansas Workforce Service's federally funded ‘Rapid Road to Recovery Initiative’ to train and place displaced Arkansas workers achieved 75% driver retention with their initial employers at 14 months. The results were so positive, Arkansas developed a state-funded version of the program (Governor's Truck Driver Training Initiative), which has proven equally successful.”
Utah had all but given up on its funding for driver training, but has experienced such significant savings through the JOBehaviors screening that it’s done a 180 degree turn and is back in the training business as well.
If 75% retention at 14 months doesn’t seem that good – after all 25% didn’t stay – consider this: “This compares to a study of 16,659 inexperienced drivers conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute, ‘A Technical Analysis of Driver Training Impacts On Safety,’ that found "more than 25% of new driver entrants were no longer employed by the carrier that initially hired them by the 60th day of employment. At 100 days, more than 50% of the new entrants had left and less than 3% worked for the original employer on the one-year anniversary of the date of hire." “
I have to say that back when Tinney and I first talked, I took the screening test and got the champion 5-star rating, so if all else fails, I should be able to go out and drive a truck for a living!
Today, a prospective driver can do what I did, though there is a more formal approach with some real benefit as an incentive. Anyone can take the test and get a rating. Then they can opt for a position with a company either driving, or if they are inexperienced, get a training position. JOBehaviors has a list of clients looking for the right people to join their staff, and JOBehaviors applicants with the right ratings – 3-star or higher – are introduced to a prospective employer.
The program works the other way round, too. Trucking companies can have a button on the relevant page of their websites when a prospective driver applicant can fill out a JOBehaviors questionnaire. The results are e-mailed to the company, showing the applicant’s suitability for the position being offered.
For example, go to Schneider Finance at www.sfitrucks.com. You’ll see a button on the lower right of the intro page inviting you to “take assessment” to get the wheels turning. Those wheels, in this case, could lead to becoming an owner-operator with Schneider. If you do click through, you’ll see the comment that Schneider doesn’t make its financing decisions on credit alone; the company is looking for the right profile that will develop an applicant into a successful owner-operator.
One of the true believers in the success of the screening is Ray Haight, who is a past chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association and Executive Director of MacKinnon Transport in Canada. We’ve talked and I can tell you he’s passionate about image and professionalism in the trucking industry.
About Tinney’s program, he says, “For years we’ve all been victims of individuals that have left us with an image problem that should not exist. JOBehaviors highlights the bad apples and allows carriers to get the right people in the seats. I believe that within the next few years, as this exciting new tool spreads throughout the industry, our image, along with all the key performance indicators related to the driver, will be rewritten to new levels of professionalism.”
That’s a pretty glowing endorsement but this influential member of our industry knows whereof he speaks. With CSA starting to bite, it’s more important than ever to get the people with the right attitude into the driver’s seat. Tinney is to be congratulated for staying with the program and getting it out where it can – and does – do the most good for our industry.