Take on employment challenges and foster a strong, sustainable business with a workforce that is made to stay.

John R. Sloan

John Sloan, Vice Chairman – Allegiance Capital Corp.

A happy employee is a motivated employee. In a time of economic highs and lows, keeping your workforce happy is a surefire approach to maintaining a robust, stable fleet. A workforce that is made to stay results in higher productivity and ultimately equates to higher profits for your fleet. Engaged employees are a common denominator across great companies. However, building an engaged team is easier said than done.

Most fleet owners fail to consider the current age of their workforce and how they should adapt to younger generations’ employment expectations. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the average age of the commercial driver in the U.S. is 55. As more baby boomers throw in the towel and retire, millennials saturate the workforce.

Even if your company is profitable, a disengaged workforce will eventually impact fleet performance and value. When you’re ready to put your fleet on the market, investors expect to find employees that are excited about the company’s future, engaged and motivated to succeed. With the recent influx of millennials comes a new standard for workplace satisfaction. It’s time to adopt new ways of thinking about employee happiness.

Five critical steps to improve recruiting, hiring and engaging millennials:

Recruitment is the first and most important step that can lead you in the right or wrong direction. Millennials are attracted to companies that use online social recruitment tools that move quickly and smoothly.  Paper resumes are quickly becoming out dated as sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed and others fill in the recruitment gap. More progressive companies are even tapping into the power of Twitter and Facebook to attract new talent.

Competitive advantage provides your company with an edge in recruiting the best talent and keeping them in your workforce. Up-to-date equipment, along with flexible work arrangements will help you attract and build a solid workforce. Of course competitive compensation and benefits adds to your company’s competitive advantage. Fleet companies can offer signing bonuses and reimburse driving school tuition, which can cost up to $5,000, to provide themselves a competitive advantage.

Engagement is the Holy Grail for employee satisfaction. To engage millennials you must tap into their individual strengths and talents, which allows them to perform gratifying work. Despite higher pay and added benefits, worker loyalty and retention; engagement is at an all-time low.

According to Gallup, 70 percent of employees claim to just be “punching in the clock.” Productivity can be directly linked to the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization and its goals. To engage with your workforce, you must connect and understand what motivates them. Ongoing, open, two-way communication is key to engagement.

Motivation drives people to work harder and longer because they view their jobs as valuable and rewarding. Clearly communicating your business mission fuels motivation, because your workforce will understand how they personally contribute to your fleet’s success. Outlining a clear path to advancement opportunities also builds loyalty while providing purpose.

Performance evaluations should be used to provide feedback and confirm employees are accomplishing goals and making a valuable contribution. Evaluations should have clear, achievable objectives that measure individual, team and organizational performance. Measuring performance allows employees to be challenged and those metrics can be tied back to retention.

High performing employees are a priceless asset that can boost fleet ROI and prepare your company for future growth and possible acquisition. How well you recruit, train and retain employees will impact the ultimate success of your fleet and its value.  Business owners must provide motivational leadership that inspires the workforce and drives productivity. When all of these factors combine you will create a team that is made to stay!

This blog post is done in partnership with Fleetowner, John Sloan, Vice Chairman at Allegiance Capital, is a featured investment banker on IdeaXchange launched by www.fleetowner.com