What Are the Onboarding Steps for Transportation Employees?


What Are the Onboarding Steps for Transportation Employees?

Onboarding employees is always difficult, especially when working with employees that operate in the field. Sadly, most discussions about improving onboarding in different industries tend to overlook the needs of non-desk workers, like truck drivers and warehouse staff.


For these hands-on and highly stressful jobs, onboarding should be more than completing paperwork and a few weeks of training. Transportation workers need clear guidelines, a lengthy training period, achievable expectations, and a streamlined method of communication to thrive and be safe in their new roles.


In the next few sections, we’ll go over the basic best practices for trucking onboarding (including warehouse staff), and list examples of how this process can be improved to meet the needs of new hires right off the bat.

What Is Driver Onboarding?

Typically, transportation companies will follow six common  onboarding process steps  to bring their drivers up to speed:

  1. Completing all necessary screening processes like HR paperwork, road tests, and background checks.
  2. Ensuring new hires are well-versed in general trucking and industry-specific safety best practices.
  3. Educating drivers on work/life balance and managing non-conventional work schedules.
  4. Providing clear performance expectations that align with company KPIs.
  5. Training drivers and warehouse staff on all relevant equipment and software systems.
  6. Establishing clear and effective lines of communication.

That last point is absolutely crucial to get right. Without good communication, the rest of the onboarding process falls apart. Here’s some advice on how to get it right.

Schedule Regular One-On-One Meetings With New Drivers

Although all trucking companies approach communication with new hires differently, many leaders in the industry recommend including multiple check-ins throughout the employee’s first year. According to Pinnacol Assurance, the average driver onboarding process should incorporate in-depth check-ins with all new drivers at 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, six months, and 12 months after their hire dates. This regular line of one-on-one communication ensures that high-level questions and concerns are heard and dealt with in a timely manner.

Establish Daily Communication Practices

Aside from official check-ins, additional communication lines and opportunities are needed to address daily time-sensitive updates and questions. These lines of communication can be established through text messaging, phone calls, and communication apps. Although, it is worth noting that some methods work better than others—but more on that later.

The Point Is…

Ultimately, the onboarding process shapes the rest of the trucker’s experience with your company. Truck driving may be a solitary job, but that does not mean drivers need less communication or engagement. To effectively do their work, drivers and warehouse staff must have convenient and reliable access to real-time information and a clear connection with their dispatch supervisors. Additionally, companies must prioritize connecting new drivers with all relevant points of contact at the beginning of onboarding, and ensure that communication does not degrade over time.


How Do You Onboard a New Truck Driver?

A driver onboarding checklist looks different for every organization, but there are three vital things to keep in mind for all trucking onboarding processes:

1. Streamlined Communication

Because drivers are always on the go, it is extremely difficult to maintain a consistent line of communication. Email is too cumbersome to juggle on the road and phone calls are impractical when drivers need quick answers. To solve this problem, many trucking organizations have elected to use communication apps. Unfortunately, many drivers experience serious app fatigue. According to a survey by the American Transportation Research Institute, truck drivers spend an average of 56 minutes per day using mobile apps just to search for parking. Adding various messaging apps on top of everything else just makes things worse and can quickly lead to communication breakdowns. So, what’s to be done? A two-way texting platform like Yourco doesn’t force drivers to download another app or use their data plans. Using Yourco, company leaders can:

  • Text links to training documents directly to a new driver’s phone
  • Send mass messages as individual texts
  • Allow employees to submit completed forms via an SMS text message
  • Send urgent messages and updates
  • Translate a text message inbound and outbound text messages, as needed
  • Receive and respond to text messages from drivers and warehouse staff

2. Provide Clear Expectations and Guidance

Drivers and warehouse staff should know exactly what is expected of them from day one. In addition to orientation and training, you should provide a comprehensive onboarding booklet that contains important items like:

  • Company policies, guidelines, and regulations
  • Supervisor, dispatch, and manager contact information
  • Benefits breakdown
  • Fuel card guidelines
  • List of FAQs
  • Safety regulations and protocols
  • Map of approved fueling sites

Lastly, it’s a best practice to give the driver a digital copy of this information just in case their hard copy is lost or damaged.

3. Assign a Mentor

No matter how experienced they are, any truck driver can benefit from a mentor. All trucking companies approach things differently which can confuse even the most seasoned drivers. A mentor can help new hires acclimate to the company culture, adjust to new technology, navigate job sites, and much more. In the end, having an experienced coworker showing newer employees the ropes also helps develop camaraderie and gives a better impression of your organization’s culture.

How Do You Improve Trucking Company Onboarding? It all Starts With Good Communication

Any onboarding process for non-desk workers can be improved with better communication. Offering easy access to hiring managers, driving mentors, and other important contacts improves the employee experience and can reduce the risk of driver turnover. With quality drivers in short supply, you want the good ones to stick around, and having effective communication is essential to building stronger connections.


Adopting a straightforward and reliable two-way texting platform like Yourco is just one step you can take to improve your driver onboarding. Although it may not sound like much, this simple adjustment will have a huge impact on how your company communicates across the board.


Want to see what Yourco can offer you? Watch or schedule a demo to learn more!

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