Tips to Successfully Onboard New Drivers

June 3, 2022

Tips to Successfully Onboard New Drivers

If you’re looking to hire new CDL drivers to get in front of thecurrent driver shortage, there’s more to the hiring process than a cleared background check and a completed W-4. Onboarding new employees needs to include some safety training, explanation of incentive programs, and communication regarding fleet management style. 

What should new driver orientation include?

When initiating the onboarding process for new drivers, there are a handful of things to keep in mind to make the orientation process as smooth and fast as possible. 

Have a Structured Training Program

Make sure you have a detailed plan for training. Include how long it will take, what the steps will be, and how the driver will be evaluated throughout and at the end. 

Digitize Materials

Paperwork in any company is such a hassle, and the transportation industry is no exception.  Printed materials are easy to misplace or throw away. Save yourself and your new employees a headache, and provide digital downloads for things like the employee handbook, training materials, and anything else you would have printed in the past. 

Provide Mentorship

Enlist experienced drivers to mentor new hires. Having someone to answer questions or just to talk one-on-one about the job, the company, or life as a trucker, can really help new drivers get comfortable. Introduce your mentors during driver onboarding to maximize their impact and show your new employees how much you value them. 

Build Out FAQs

Create a resource database for your employees. New hires will benefit the most from it, but it can help senior drivers as well. Have training videos, FAQs, tips, and the employee handbook available for anyone to access at any time. 

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Be clear about your expectations for new drivers, and provide avenues for two-way communication. Evaluate all drivers after their probationary period, and ask them for honest feedback about their role, the company, and anything else regarding their employment. Happy drivers will stay with you longer, and driver retention is an issue every carrier is trying to solve. Check in with your drivers, old and new, frequently to make sure they’re satisfied in their roles and with the company. 

Who should train new drivers?

When training new truck drivers, it is best to use a combination of behind the wheel training and classroom instruction. If you don’t have someone on staff who can teach new drivers or who can coach drivers who don’t have the best safety record, consider sending your drivers to a local advanced truck driving course for instruction. 

Identify the drivers with the best safety record with your trucking company, and train them to be trainers themselves. You want the best drivers to train your new recruits so they will emulate those good, safe driving practices.

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