Transportation and logistics companies are facing an aging labor group and grappling for talent to backfill positions. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported many of those working in the transportation and warehousing sector are near retirement which may leave the sector with a large number of vacancies.
In response, a variety of organizations including government entities, port authorities, high schools and universities are investing in programs to not only educate a new demographic on how the world moves, but also help revitalize the workforce. Logistics is about more than just moving goods – it is about making a difference, connecting communities, and providing goods for people in their everyday lives. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive – these are all items that have a transportation journey.
In addition to educating a new generation, logistics companies and leaders alike are working to attract new talent. Companies can no longer rely on practices and guidelines that have been implemented since inception. They must be flexible and ever evolving to adapt to the changes happening for today’s workforce.
Logistics organizations today must go beyond the hire and really invest in keeping top talent and developing the next generation of transportation and logistics leaders. What does that look like?
For Trailer Bridge, there are 3 areas we invest in our team members: innovation and technology, a robust training and development program, and a culture founded in love and kindness.
1. Innovation and Technology
Candidates today are seeking out a forward-thinking company where they can provide input and have influence. Today’s workforce, especially those falling in the Millennial and Gen Z category, rely heavily on technology and spend the bulk of their time on mobile devices and social networks. Companies that embrace that technology and actively share their cultural attributes, values, and service tend to win over candidates more than companies that do not.
Additionally, we see the logistics industry continuing to move toward new tech and automation, giving new wave employees the opportunity to review and implement time savings. By providing innovative opportunities, it allows today’s talent to be on the forefront of developing new programs and processes.
According to HRDive.com a quarter of 1,400 surveyed Gen Zers said they would be excited about a new challenge that takes them out of their comfort zone. In addition, 80% of those surveyed believe failure makes them more innovative and 17% said it prepares them for new challenges.
This entrepreneurial-spirited generation will be eager to stay motivated and will work hard to make a positive impact. By encouraging a healthy competitive nature, it can result in increased productivity. Provide tasks that can be of a challenge in a positive-manner, and they are sure to thrive.
2. Training and Development
Research by Gallup Inc., an American analytics and advisory committee, shows 57% of U.S. workers want to update their skills and 48% of employees would consider switching jobs to do it. Many in today’s labor market do not want to remain stagnant in their careers. They are snagging opportunities when they see them in order to climb the company ladder. Millennials and Gen Z are not afraid to take a risk if it means they have the opportunity to grow. For example, Trailer Bridge’s Kyle Olsen went from being a bartender to a branch manager in just three years. Combining Kyle’s hard work and dedication with the company’s leadership development program and training played a large part in fast-tracking his career to where he is today.
Companies that offer training and development plus coaching or mentorship have a leg up on their competitors. Not only does it solidify the company’s investment in their people, but it also shows the company is in it for the long-haul – preparing for the future development of both their workforce and overall company growth.
“I am passionate about offering development opportunities to our employees, as I’ve seen first-hand the impact it can have on an individual’s overall development,” said Indie B. Bollman, Chief People Officer at Trailer Bridge. “When a company focuses and invests in its employees, they thrive; and therefore, the customers win too.”
3. Providing a Stable and Strong Work Culture
A company’s culture directly reflects its values and how it manages employees. Employees spend about one-third of their lives at work so why wouldn’t a candidate want a company that invests in them as much as they do for the company? Contributing to an employee’s quality of life while providing training, performance feedback, and opportunity for growth builds the trust needed for the foundation of a long-term employee.
An organization that demonstrates job security, transparency, and authenticity is key. A company should be focused on what helps employees win, what helps them grow, and involve them in the decision-making process. “We’re creating a culture where employees are encouraged to do their very best and provide exceptional service, so they can truly be proud of the work they do,” said Mitch Luciano, CEO at Trailer Bridge. “We always want to make sure our people have what they need and that we are investing in them as much as they invest in Trailer Bridge.”
Culture is about more than food trucks, birthday celebrations, and pizza parties. It is also about giving back to the communities in which we live and work. When a company and its team members are actively involved in giving back, it can lead to a deeper commitment and connection – cultivating team-building skills and strengthening relationships among colleagues and leaders. It also connects the company externally with brand buy-in and customer loyalty. Providing service within communities gives customers a different perspective of your organization. It humanizes the business and allows the organization to demonstrate their core values in action.
Selecting a program or programs that highlights the company’s strengths is important but also lean into the employee base and listen to their interests as well. Getting to know your employees, asking what is important to them, and paying attention to their needs cultivates trust. Providing that stability, transparency, and authenticity will help organizations attract and retain the best candidates.
Organizations today need to ensure they remain flexible and open to change as younger generations enter the workforce. Pay attention to what candidates are seeking for a career. Provide upskilling, invest in coaching and mentorship, and include employees when planning for their future growth. Empower employees with the knowledge they need to succeed and what you’ll get in return is people passionate about their career path and the organization. It is our responsibility to develop the future leaders for our industry’s continued achievements and the world’s economy. After all, your employees are your sources of innovation and ultimately your company’s success.