Choosing paths in trucking | Rearview mirror clear but path forward blurrier Photo: Aaron Marsh/ Fleet Owner

The importance of building a career path

The people shortage in the trucking industry has reached epic proportions. Not only are we short of drivers and technicians, but we also are having trouble attracting people to other aspects of our businesses as well.

In researching what it takes to attract millennials to the work place, we have learned that they expect potential employers to lay out a clear career path for them. They want to see how they can expect to progress throughout an organization during their tenure.

Unlike Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, who felt if they worked hard good things would happen to them and they would move up in an organization, millennials want to know that you have given some thought to their place in your business going forward. If they don't see a way to advance within your company, chances are they are not going to come work for you.

And while that is a very good reason to make sure you develop career paths for new employees, it is only half the story.

The other half has to do with the continued viability of your business. If you don't start training people now to take over management roles in the future, what is going to happen when current managers—who are very likely at the end of their careers—retire?

Can you afford to have a void of leadership in any area of your business? Sure, there are more technicians than there are service managers, so you probably are focusing your recruiting efforts on finding techs.

However, you need to start identifying techs who have the potential to be managers five or 10 years from now. And then develop a plan to make sure they get the training and education they need to make that leap.

It is not critical initially that you have a perfectly laid-out plan. But you do need at least an idea of what you think each new employee can accomplish and how you see him or her growing within your organization. At some point, as your initial assessments confirm that an employee has growth potential, you will need a detailed plan for their ascension to a management or supervisory position to ensure they will be successful. 

Building career paths will not only help with your recruiting efforts, it will help ensure business continuity—and that is worth whatever effort it will take to put those plans together.


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