Hiring During a Truck Driver Shortage: Don’t Forget These Critical Protocols

Manufacturing & Distribution, Property & Casualty, Transportation

Good news: in 2023 the truck driver shortage eased by about 20%. But, despite this positive change there is still a lot of uncertainty about the economy, and many companies are bracing for a possible regression in the driver labor market in 2024.

If you let out a resigned sigh after reading that, you’re not alone. Businesses are already in a tough spot, and a talent shortage can just underline the issues that you’re facing day in and day out.

You might even be considering pulling back on some of your typical hiring protocols to solve this challenge for your business. However, overlooking some of these strategies that are vital to protecting your company’s balance sheet can put you and your business at risk.

Don’t Look Past These Hiring Protocols

Dropping Standards on Requirements

It can be tempting to ease up on requirements simply to fill open positions, but there is a real risk to this. The average settlement for a death has nearly doubled over the last few years. Putting a driver behind the wheel of your vehicle who doesn’t meet safety standards increases your likelihood of an incident. Furthermore, negligent entrustment of vehicles can create a more difficult litigation process and force you into higher settlements.

Onboarding and Training

You might feel compelled to rush the training process after hiring a long-awaited employee to fill one of your difficult positions. It’s important to remember that this individual still needs to go through the proper onboarding and training process. Similar to dropping your standard on requirements, not properly training an employee can come back to bite you down the road if something were to go wrong.

Fitness for Duty

Is there a loading/unloading component of your drivers’ jobs? It is important to remember that there might be a lifting requirement for your drivers. Skipping over verification of fitness for duty can lead to increased workers’ compensation claims. Since workers’ compensation claims stick with you on your experience mod for three years, this could be a costly mistake.

Temporary Employees

If you are using temporary employees to fill driving positions, it is important to make sure that the temp employees adhere to the requirements you have for your own employees. Contracts become really important in this situation. If you are using temp employees, consult with your broker and legal counsel to make sure you have transferred as much risk as possible.

Key Takeaways:

While risk is always necessary to some degree when running a business, it is important to weigh the benefits of the risk versus the downside risk. It only takes one bad auto accident to turn into a multi-million-dollar claim. By adhering to your standards and practices, you can do your part to minimize your exposure.

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