By Adam Kahn
Editor’s note: Written by Adam Kahn, vice president of fleet business at Netradyne. This is one in a series of periodic guest columns by industry thought leaders.
Millennials will dominate the workforce by 2030, making up 75 percent of the nation’s labor pool, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A generation like no other, this group is often defined as first-generation digital natives, having grown up surrounded by ever-improving technologies that are redefining the workplace. Millennials change jobs more often, list money as a top priority when looking for a new job and seek the latest and greatest when it comes to technology.
What does this mean for current and potential employers in the freight and logistics industry? At a time during which driver demand is at its height, fleets are faced with the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent. Fleets must adapt and change to cater to these new wants and needs and demonstrate they understand what matters most to this group.
Ensuring fleets are utilizing up-to-date technology is vital to attracting and retaining talent from members of a generation born and raised in the technological revolution. When people walk around with minicomputers in their pockets, why should fleet technology be decades behind?
Dashcams have become increasingly popular in consumer and commercial vehicles for several reasons. These cameras offer a sense of security to drivers, as they can serve as a third-party witness in the event of an accident that may lead to litigation. Netradyne is tackling this trend with its Driveri vision-based camera, which advances the technology in legacy dashcams.
By enabling in-cabin technology with both artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, data collected are more valuable to both drivers and fleet managers. Machine learning allows technology to constantly adapt and improve because artificial intelligence means data can be neutrally analyzed in real time. Leading-edge technology can be used as a powerful recruiting tool to attract the tech-savvy driver. This is especially attractive when the new-age technology allows drivers to reap its benefits.
According to a recent survey conducted by human resources company TriNet, 69 percent of millennials see their companies’ review processes as flawed. This is because of a lack of regular feedback.
Historically, fleet managers have struggled to effectively conduct regular coaching discussions with their drivers. At its core the disconnect between drivers and fleet managers boils down to the inability to regularly communicate. General market innovations such as smartphones have dramatically improved the lines of communication, as have industry innovations that offer managers real-time driver-performance data.
75 percent of millennials would like to have mentors. (From conferencing software company PGI)
Data released by PGI tell us that more than 70 percent of millennials in the workforce want the people they work with to function almost as a second family. This can be challenging for an industry in which the majority of a driver’s time on the clock is spent solo on the road. Ensuring that the relationship between fleet manager and driver is strong is critical for both the success of the driver and employee retention.
Implementing technologies that allow drivers to get regular feedback, whether from the actual manager or from the platform, will better connect them to the larger organization. Additionally, with the increased prevalence of AI, data can now be collected and analyzed by a third-party platform, leaving drivers without the worry of human bias when it comes to their performance.
IMPLEMENTING REWARDS PROGRAMS
Among other benefits to millennial drivers, AI-enabled truck technology offers fleets the information needed to implement driver-rewards programs. With most millennials naming money as a top priority when searching for a job, ensuring this generation is recognized and rewarded properly for exceptional performance is a fail-safe way to retain them as employees.
37 percent of millennials would take a pay cut if it meant flexibility in work location and hours. 80 percent think they should set their own work schedules. (From conferencing software company PGI)
Legacy safety systems have been triggered only by negative driver behavior. But new technologies that offer a view into every minute of the driving day allow managers the data needed to set a safety standard. They can measure driver performance against a baseline and implement rewards for those who over-perform.
This in turn maintains and improves relationships with drivers by recognizing those meeting and exceeding safety goals – counting safe driving as safe driving – removing the guesswork and uncertainty.
POWER OF RECOGNITION AND CONNECTION
Millennials especially want to feel connected to the work they are doing and know that their small part helps to make a larger impact on society. Effective recognition is based on simple actions followed by positive feedback.
The ability for increased communication as well as a constant stream of performance data allow more opportunity for positive feedback. Whereas traditionally fleet managers were meeting with drivers to address poor performance, today’s interconnected world allows for positive feedback. To a generation growing up surrounded by social media with a learned need for “likes,” positive recognition affects learning and engaged satisfaction.
88 percent of millennials want a fun and social work environment, according to information from PGI. 71 percent want their co-workers to be a second family. (From conferencing software company PGI)
With the increased availability of technology that helps connect those in the office to those on the road, drivers gain an increased sense of inclusion in a greater organization. As a driver, knowing the data you collect every day makes a difference in the safety and efficiency of those around you provides a rewarding feeling that connects you to a larger company vision. Once recognized, drivers will seek ways in which to continue this positive feeling. This is the circle of positive driving recognition.
As fleets adapt and change to the growing demands of today’s industries, it is critical to understand that what millennials want is what most of us want from a job. Their needs aren’t unique to a generation.
Utilizing technology to improve the lives of all drivers means you will retain and attract not only millennial talent but also all top talent. For employers, appeasing millennial expectations often means they are also meeting demands from others in a multigenerational workforce.
Editor’s note: Adam Kahn is a strategic customer-focused executive with more than 25 years of transportation industry experience.