Starting Out in the Right Gear – Effective Onboarding in Trucking

An effective onboarding process is essential to keep the drivers you recruit. Close to 40% of new hires will have already decided within the first 72 hours whether or not they plan on staying. Consider the following as you evaluate your current new hire onboarding…


  1. Introduce the Fleet Manager a week before orientation – Either in person or by telephone – Put a face to the job. Begin the relationship. Break the ice.
  2. Manage first impressions with effective on-boarding from the start.
    • Provide a warm welcome. If you send pre-arrival materials, include hats, t-shirts or other company logo branded symbols of belonging.
    • Consider first impressions. Make sure the first 24 hours reflects professionalism, cleanliness, user-friendliness, and appreciation.
    • Most new-hires decide whether they will be with you for a long time within the first 72 hours.
  3. Conduct an Expectations Exchange – List the expectations for both sides of the partnership.
    • Itemize driver’s expectations the company will meet (rate of pay, average number of miles, policies for various eventualities).
    • List the company’s expectations of drivers.
    • Include the driver’s family whenever possible.
    • Put it in writing.
    • Have both parties initial each expectation.
    • Ask for a personal commitment to a minimum period of time. Most drivers keep their word.
  4. Communicate learning objectives – Communicate the learning objectives that the driver will attain during the orientation period.
  5. Have upper management/owners meet new drivers during orientation.
    • Have the owner, President, or someone as high up as possible meet with the new driver to share history, folk-lore and organizational values.
    • Make it genuine, authentic and special.

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