Express Carriers Association
Employees With Desire to Help Mindset Combat Great Resignation Effects
Getting to the heart transportation solutions to address labor and supply shortages
In logistics, transportation refers to the movement of products from one location to the customer. Transportation represents about 6% of U.S. GDP, and according to the 2019 Annual State of Logistics Report, transportation costs domestic businesses over $1.04 trillion – about 10.4% of total revenue! Transporting goods is a critical component in the supply chain.
The labor shortage that is putting stress on the transportation and logistics industry today is a common denominator across the supply chain and one that the Express Carrier Association’s (ECA, A Delivery Industry Alliance) membership is contending with daily.
Recruiting employees and contractors requires discerning the spirit of potential hires as much as their experience and qualifications. Many ECA carrier members strive to find candidates who score high in desire to help characteristics. A passion for helping people is essential, and when professionals in transportation “go the extra mile,” the supply chain works better, and more customers are happy. Happy customers translate into more business and increased productivity. Whether the desire to be helpful is an innate or a learned trait – or a combination of the two – is debatable. However, if the transportation and delivery industry can employ more service-oriented people, a multiplier effect may help overcome short staffing.
ECA member City Dash, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, is highly selective about who joins their team. “It’s important they are a good fit with our defined culture,” CEO Andy Grove said. “City Dash puts people first, and we expect all our employees to be the same way. We want a positive atmosphere and supportive culture.”
Grove said that their goal is to work with only the best in the business,” which is constant, whatever conditions in the employment market arise. “Part of being the best is the desire to help people,” he said. That rings true for City Dash. Their recruiting motto is, Let’s find one good person at a time.
So, should the logistics transportation sector recruit more people who have service-first attributes, such as “caring” and “conscientious,” to improve productivity? Finding and hiring team members who demonstrate these traits could very well be the answer to improving the customer experience, long-term customer retention, and overall industry growth.
Manko Delivery Systems, an ECA member headquartered in Tampa, Florida, is likewise selective of helpful candidates when recruiting and hiring. “We want our employees to be the right fit in our customer service values and how they interact with customers and Independent Contractors. We want them to embody the face-to-face service we strive for,” said CEO Dave Armitage.
Easier said than done? Yes. Impossible? No.
As the transportation industry struggles to find enough employees with the proper job experiences, qualifications, and commitment, it’s becoming evident that finding the “secret sauce,” which could be a multiplier for productivity and results, is something to aim for. So, it’s knowing what to look for when recruiting that becomes the competitive advantage.
Outside of job-specific skill sets, some of the apparent characteristics to screen for include the following: being on time, showing initiative, being eager to take on a task, being willing to assume responsibilities and meeting deadlines.
Reliability is essential in knowing the job will get done right. A reliable employee is trustworthy. Trust frees up supervisory resources and boosts productivity.
As regards initiative, interviewing people who want to learn and develop new skills can help. A sense of dedication, both to their employer and to the customer, is another factor. Does the candidate have a passion for work and helping others? Are they confident without being arrogant?
On the surface, the transportation provider’s role is being on time, taking care of the customer’s freight, and providing accurate and timely information. Less transparent is the value added by reliability, initiative, the desire for self-improvement, and a passion for serving others.
CDL Last Mile Solutions, headquartered in NYC, leverages technology to create a positive customer experience. However, sourcing employees is even more critical to their success. CDL stresses a more profound onboarding process for employee recruitment. This practice has paid dividends with rapid growth and, more importantly, customer retention.
Discovering if a candidate is people and service-oriented can be a challenge. Questions that an interviewer can ask to uncover the helpful nature of an applicant are varied. One does not want to simply ask, “are you a naturally helpful person?” Instead, questions that are potentially revealing include: What motivates you to work? Why should we hire you? What are your greatest strengths? What do you like to do outside of work? and What are you passionate about as well as Why do you want this job?
Open-ended questions like these may help reveal whether a candidate possesses a service-oriented mindset.
Within the Great Resignation and tight labor market landscape, transportation providers struggle as much as other industries to hire and retain good employees. Going beyond finding good to discovering great employees is immeasurable. Being in the logistics solutions business isn’t always easy. Still, it can certainly be rewarding when we reflect on the critical solutions our industry provides daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal. A well-planned approach to sourcing candidates for interviews, along with astute and skilled interview sessions, raises the probability that hiring managers can uncover not only the “what’s” a job candidate can do but also help discover the “why” a candidate does things.
Hiring employees with service-oriented characteristics can help overcome the lowered productivity and higher costs associated with the struggle for full staffing. It will build retention and longer-term business success. In fact, it can bolster our industry. When customers are treated well, they will come back for more.
AT A GLANCE
What: An transport industry based association built on crucial networking between local/regional carriers and nation shippers
Where: Manassas, Virginia