Veterans make great trucks drivers, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics about 10% of veterans are employed in transportation and material moving occupations. With specialized skill sets and training from their military careers and strong soft skills like attention to detail, self-discipline, dependability and leadership, they make a great asset to any fleet. Trucking is also a great way for veterans looking to re-enter the civilian workforce as they look to begin a new career. It offers a challenging environment for inquisitive people interested in learning and working with new technologies and provides independence for self-starters.
Check out some ways fleets can show they especially value veteran drivers to celebrate Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11 and year-round, creating a company culture that honors their service.
1. Offer training opportunities or scholarships for veterans entering the workforce
As military vets look to enter the industry as drivers, fleets can offer training opportunities or scholarships for people looking to hone their skills and gain experience in driving commercial vehicles. Organizations like Troops to Truckers offer advice for veterans, including answers to questions about military-issued driver’s licenses, what they can do on-base to prepare for driving positions and support to assist drivers get licensed and on the road as fast as possible. Not all military drivers are automatically qualified to obtain a CDL. However, some service members who were employed in the last 12 months may be exempt thanks to the FMCSA’s Military CDL Skills Test Waiver.
2. Boost employees’ pay and benefits packages
According to the Teletrac Navman 2018 Telematics Benchmark report, 58% of organizations plan to increase pay to retain and recruit drivers. Raising pay or adding employee benefits for all employees may improve morale across the company, impacting the culture and making it a better place to work for all. This can also boost a fleet’s ability to attract talent, including veteran talent, at a time when organizations are looking to offset the driver shortage. Some carriers may also offer special training programs or specific benefits for veterans, including higher starting pay rates or bonuses.
3. Celebrate veterans and their families
Beyond programs that reward drivers for safe driving, fleets should consider honoring veterans and their families in other ways. For example, they could create internal award ceremonies to honor top drivers or have drivers nominate each other for achievements on the road. Fleets can also hold events like picnics, potlucks or concerts for veteran employees or events around Veterans Day specifically to acknowledge and celebrate their contributions to the company and our country. Another special way to celebrate could be offering veterans an extra day off to spend time with their families.
3. Offer veteran drivers a chance to lead and connect with others
With their military training, veterans excel at leadership competencies in the workforce. Put those skills to use and make them feel appreciated by giving them opportunities to lead or coach other drivers. Giving them a chance to share advice and best practices or talk about their time in the service is a great way to connect military vets with other drivers and provide them with leadership experience.
4. Donate time or resources to organizations that offer support, service and appreciation for service members
Show veterans within your organization you care by supporting organizations they care about, such as ones dedicated to service members. For example, organize a volunteering or fundraising event to support the Wounded Warrior Project or get involved with the National Military Family Association to support vets and their families. Work with HirePatriots.com or Hiring Our Heroes to find qualified veteran drivers. For trucking organizations, participate in the American Trucking Associations’ Share the Road truck as part of the Wreaths Across America tour.
Whether you're offering leadership opportunities to service members or rewarding them for performance, take the time to show military veterans and their families you support them this Veterans Day.
Check out other ways to honor and appreciate your drivers drivers in our recent blog: Truck Driver Appreciation