Training the next generation of truck drivers requires more than teaching how to operate heavy machinery, maintain fuel efficiency, and the rules of the road. In the last decade, there have been significant advances in automotive technology. We are also starting to see a shift in driver skill set and profiles. This creates a shift in how you train your drivers and sometimes requires different training methods for both tenured and entry level drivers.
Training for a Proactive Approach
Your old-school drivers aren’t just drivers, many really understand how the machine they drive truly works. While they may not perform the scheduled maintenance on your trucks—they know what to look, listen, and feel for. In a pinch, they may even do some on-the-road repairs. While many old-school drivers will embrace automated technology, some will have a more difficult time in doing so. At the very least, a harder time embracing some tools over their decades old, intuitive systems.
On the flip side, your entry-level drivers expect the trucks they drive to have smart tools and technology. While they might know some basic maintenance and mechanics, they will mostly rely on automation to guide their decision making process. They even expect a truck that is as easy to drive as a car. This means automatic transmission is a must.
Real-Time Communication Channels
As Millennials begin to make up a larger portion of your workforce, you will need to revise your approach to driver communication. Millennials are conditioned to expect an immediate response, across a variety of communication channels. This includes phone, email, text, mobile apps, touch screen dash electronics, advanced navigation, real-time reporting and updates, remote scheduling and HR tools, and more. This has many trucking companies looking in to integrated software and communication systems that allow drivers to connect easily while on the go. Aka—no wasting time waiting on hold.
Training for Quality of Life
Millennials sometimes get a bad rap for being lazy or low on loyalty. While your tenured drivers are accustomed to the daily grind, your new hires are looking for more balance and a greater quality of life. This means it’s time to revisit trucking ergonomics, scheduling, in-cab internet and entertainment, benefits, and incentives. Even your company branding and community outreach is more important to a younger generation. While you might not be able to do much about the time spent on the road, you can make time at work more fulfilling—and time at home more plentiful.
A New Approach to Fuel Efficiency
Tenured drivers wear their fuel efficiency like a badge of honor. They have perfected how to get the maximum MPG, with tried and tested best practices. While some drivers have a natural knack for optimal fuel efficiency, not everyone does. Thanks to modern trucking technology, fuel efficiency is something that can be managed in real or near-real time. Drivers can view reports that show their areas of opportunity for each day, instead of calculating the math each time they fuel up.
As the trucking industry continues to evolve, even local trucking companies need to rethink driver training. This may require a unique approach for old-school and your younger generations.
Written by Hunter Tires Editorial Team
Hunter Tires sells commercial vehicle tires.
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