May 26th 2021
As a fourth generation Trucking, Log Harvesting, and Heavy-Duty Mechanical repair shop we truly understand the importance of long-term satisfied employees. As we’ve welcomed the “fifth generation” into our lives I wanted to share some insights into what we’ve found to be keys for success in our industry for employee retention. As a company we have a core belief around creating careers rather than just jobs.
We are in an economic period where many businesses are looking at ways of cutting costs to maintain the bottom line. A line item that has been under considerable pressure is the topic of employee benefits packages. As an industry we have watched a slow erosion of benefits packages and understand the anxiety this can cause in employee households. At Mundens, we’ve taken a contrarian approach and have been steadily improving the quality of our benefits packages for our employees and their families. The importance of benefits can be easily overlooked, but it holds considerable weight in why a potential employee considers coming to work for you.
Yes, it costs more as an employer to increase employee benefits, but I would argue that the increased investment in employee benefits is far less than the costs associated with having to recruit and train new employees as a result of losing quality staff to other opportunities that provide better benefits.
Retirement Savings Plans
As business owners we often think about our eventual retirement, succession plans, and exit strategies. These same concerns are with all of your employees. Working with your staff to help them prepare for a successful and stress-free retirement goes a long way in developing a stable and happy workforce.
It takes a lot of planning and preparation for employees to enjoy their retirement years. While most people want to get to a point where they don’t have to trudge into work each day, that time may never come if they aren’t prepared financially. While the burden might be on employees to save enough for retirement, at Mundens we believe the employers should share in the responsibility.
We’ve worked with our providers to make retirement savings plans available for all employees in our organization. There are many major benefits in offering retirement benefits to your employees, from increasing productivity to attracting new talent. An employee retirement plan can be the backbone of your benefits package and an essential ingredient of a positive company culture that increases employees' general well-being.
Hourly Pay for Professional Drivers and Overtime
Overtime for Professional Drivers has been a contentious issue for years. Many employers have used creative ways to skirt the requirements for paying overtime in the trucking industry. At Mundens we look at overtime for our truck drivers the same way we do with any position in our business. If you work more than the normal legislated daily hours as a driver, you are entitled to overtime is how we view it. This makes a big difference in how drivers view working extra hours and can have a substantial positive impact on their annual income.
Using Technology in Your Workplace
When you hear the words innovation and technology it might not conjure up images in your mind of trucking, log harvesting, and heavy duty mechanical, but maybe it should! We’ve seen significant innovation and use of technology in our industry over the past 10 years, and Mundens has been an early adopter and advocate for innovation throughout all aspects of our company.
Our drivers were some of the first to use ELDs (Electronic Logs) in Canada. Our log harvesting division has been using geofencing for increased efficiency for cutting blocks for years! One look in our mechanical shop and you’ll see our service techs working from iPads and Chrome-books. Yes, technology is here to stay and the quicker you can help your employees use these tools the sooner it will start making their jobs easier.
I’m not trying to make light of how challenging change can be in any organization, but I feel it’s important to realize that without finding creative ways to help your employees look at change, technology, and innovation, you are going to lose ground in your business, and your employees will not benefit from these high demand skills.
We find using a collaborative approach to bringing in technology works best. Involve your employees and team leaders into the decision-making process. Assess the different solutions that are currently available and choose technology that is user-friendly and ones that you can measure the return on investment.
One final note when it comes to technology is communication. If you’re not active on social media as a company, you are probably having a harder time recruiting top talent for your positions. Blogs, videos, pictures, and articles are all cost-effective tools that you can use to share your business culture, values, and why employees should consider your business as a career option.
Safety is More Than Lip Service
“Safety first”. That’s a popular buzz phrase, but how many of us really practice what we preach? How often do you consider safety issues for your drivers and mechanics? Have you checked your safety practices lately? Are they up to date? Are they still relevant to your current processes? Do you even know?
When it comes down to it, there’s more to business than the bottom line. Our employees rely on us to provide a safe environment for them to earn a living. They are our most valuable assets – but they’re far more than that, too. Their physical welfare should be our top priority.
At Mundens we know that employees understand the difference between “lip service” and actual commitment to safety plans, training, and equipment. If you want long-term career employees a big step is to ensure you put their safety first every day of the week. Sometimes you will need to make those hard choices of keeping some equipment off the road until you can be 100% sure it is operating properly, your employees are rested and ready, or conditions improve.
Training and Advancement from Within
Help your employees outline a potential career path within the organization so they can better visualize their future at the company. Identify specific milestones for achievement, and the supporting resources employees will likely need to tap along their journey.
Establishing a formal mentoring program might be one of the smartest moves a company can make at any time — for itself as well as for its workers’ personal and professional growth. I recommend getting involved in industry initiatives to foster developing people. For us, our involvement in bringing up apprentice mechanics through our partnership with the ITA (Industry Training Authority),involvement in developing the Professional Industry Driver Training Program with BC Forest Safety Council, or our ongoing work with the BCTA and CTA in improving the image of our great driver community – these initiatives have been just as rewarding for us as it has for the people we have either introduced to the industry, or helped to grow within the industry.
Hard work is a prerequisite for career advancement, but that doesn’t necessarily mean committing to an endless series of lengthy workdays. Encourage your employees to work smart, maximize their efficiency, and leave time and energy for their non-work interests.
What You Can Expect
Long-term employee loyalty begins with a commitment to continuously assessing your operation and practices and striving to create an environment where employees thrive. At Mundens we have regular meetings with team leads to get feedback on how we are doing as an organization. We encourage feedback and an open dialogue. This has resulted in a large percentage of our employees being with us for years, and within our culture we believe a great work environment leads to employees feeling as though work and their workmates are their second family!
If you’d like to learn more about how to develop an environment that encourages careers rather than jobs, feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you are interested in a career in trucking, log harvesting, or heavy duty mechanical, visit our careers page at https://www.mundentrucking.ca/careers .
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