Taking The High Road To Employee Recruitment and Retention

Written by: Brady Drake
Tyler Holland Great Plains Transport Director of Recruiting and Retention

The transportation industry has always been an industry where turnover is rampant. However, according to bettertruckdrivingjobs.com, the turnover rate in the industry during 2021 was 87%, which is a real problem for employers in the field.

Great Plains Transport (GPT) is a trucking company out of Mapleton, ND. They specialize in refrigerated freight, cargo and dedicated transportation services, and they have not been immune to these challenges.

With an increase in unemployment benefits due to the pandemic, many drivers opted to take unemployment. This allowed them to make nearly as much money as they would while working, all without having to endure the substantial risk and sacrifices that come with delivering goods. Others stayed, opting instead for the security of GPT salaried positions, a rarity in the industry.

Overall, GPT currently sits with 225 drivers and 15 to 20 open trucks, which Tyler Holland, director of recruiting and retention, says is the most he can remember seeing in a long time.

“While I don’t think The Pandemic or The Great Resignation really caused a downturn in our business,” Holland said. “It definitely hindered and stopped our projected growth and we have had a harder time with recruitment and retention over the last couple of years, but it has forced us to grow.”

And it’s apparent that GPT is “growing” through honest self-reflection as a company.

Did you know?
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota insures and/or administers claims for over 310,000 people in North Dakota. That’s over 40 percent of the state’s population!

How is GPT fighting back?

A change in processes – GPT really took advantage of this shift in recruitment and retention to look inward and make transformational changes within the business. This included implementing things like an Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

  • A focus on technology – GPT has made a concerted effort to ensure that its technology is up to date so drivers can feel as safe as possible when they’re out on the road.
  • Bonuses – In addition to their salaries, drivers at GPT now have the ability to earn anywhere from $300 to $1500 a month in bonuses based on mileage.
  • Increased opportunities for feedback – One thing GPT has done to give a better experience for their employees is allowing them the opportunity to submit suggestions on an ongoing basis. This has directly resulted in multiple rule changes.
  • Unlimited PTO for in-office staff – “Transportation is a 24/7 365 industry,” Holland said. “With that being said, we don’t want our employees to have to think twice about taking time if they need it. As long as they’re getting their work done, we want them to be able to do that.”
  • Extra benefits – With a renewed focus on employee health and well-being, Holland and the GPT team have added HSA accounts and an Employee Assistance Program to their list of benefits.
  • Clarity breaks – “We’ve really pushed our employees who are in-office over the last year or so to begin taking 15-minute breaks as needed to get away from work and do something productive for their health. We call them clarity breaks,” Holland said. “It could be something as simple as getting up and going for a walk outside, but it’s something we are really trying to make sure people are taking advantage of.”
  • Employee Recognition – In order to boost employee morale and maintain a healthy culture, GPT has started to give out a weekly MVP award to employees exemplifying the company’s core values.
  • Catering – GPT caters food to the office every Wednesday.
  • Prizes – Holland the rest of the leadership team are currently working on setting up a system to start a contest that would make most employees out there eager to join the GPT team. They aren’t sure on specifics yet, but they will be offering employees the opportunity to have their names entered into a drawing for a quarterly trip with travel expenses all included. Criteria for entrance are yet to be determined. “Really, all of this is because we want to see the company improve,” Holland said. “I want us to get to the point where we can really focus less on recruitment and more on retention.”

Learn more at greatplainstransport.com

Share This Article
Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.