The transportation industry can combat impending workforce shortages through strategic talent management approaches…
While change is always a constant, the sheer pace of change the transportation industry is currently facing is unprecedented, and prompting major innovation. Looming talent deficits resulting from projected industry growth coupled with poor talent acquisition and evolving employment expectations are causing transportation organizations to acknowledge the need for change. To slow the downward slide and improve engagement and retention, companies must place a concerted emphasis on the overall employee life-cycle – a priority not historically focused on within the transportation industry.
Trucking companies exemplify the need for a talent management evolution within the transportation industry. With the average age of trucking workers hovering around 50, approximately 890,000 new drivers will need to be hired over the next decade to replace retiring employees. More than half of departing trucking workers are in search of higher pay, while others are looking for improved work-life balance and better benefits. The reality is that companies adapting employee engagement strategies to go deeper than passing fads and allow for nimble adaptation to shifting norms are seeing the greatest success.
New recruiting methodologies such as smartphone-friendly job applications and social media outreach are opening doors for trucking companies searching for skilled talent. Recognizing a need to combat the sedentary lifestyle associated with many transportation jobs, organizations are also incorporating health and wellness programs into their benefits. A focus on training to aid in retention has been a recent advancement; mentorship and virtual coaching platforms are two modern approaches to career development. These fresh employee-centric efforts are reaping markedly improved worker engagement and gathering useful feedback from new hires to further advance organizational transformation.
How can transportation organizations adopt an agile, cross-organizational approach to talent management? First by weeding through fads to identify impactful shifts and opportunities, and then applying those findings to inform three core principles of a disruption-proof strategy. These are the first steps toward the development of talent management organizations that are truly capable of delivering on broader organizational objectives, and these are the foundational principles of a strategy that is as malleable and nimble as the market itself. In order to make this move while maintaining a laser focus on delivering value to the organization, the following principles are key:
Principle 1: Enlist a leadership sponsor that has an enterprise-wide purview to stay aligned with the organization’s vision, objectives, and path forward.
Principle 2: Capture and incubate best practices pioneered in the field—the front line for talent identification, coaching, and retention—to be scaled and deployed across the organization.
Principle 3: Narrow the lens and build a strategy that can be implemented and tested to meet short-term needs throughout the enterprise.
The transportation sector will see greater returns if consistent, integrated talent management strategies that move beyond traditional HR practices and policies are implemented. The new norm of talent management gives everyone a hand in creating desired work environments and driving employee satisfaction and retention. Proactively tackling talent obstacles begins with planned efforts to improve the employee life-cycle from end-to-end. This includes enacting modern recruitment strategies, cultivating strong company culture, and focusing on talent development. Acting now will cement transportation organizations on the track to success and steer them away from the imminent retirement cliff on the horizon.
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