Four Key Takeaways from Women with Drive 2021

By: Katrina Pizzino

Trucking HR Canada’s 7th Annual Women with Drive Leadership Summit kept the international women’s day celebratory vibes of women, women leaders, and women in the industry going full speed. While the event was a little different – being the first time it was held virtually and globally, we still brought together over 200 women from the industry to connect and learn from one another.  It left delegates with the regular high dose of inspiration along with practical and insightful take-aways from a roster of formidable speakers.

The Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean, who served as Governor General of Canada from 2005 to 2010, and Halla Tómasdóttir, Icelandic businessperson and CEO of the B Team, left us with a plethora of insights.  The 2021 Women with Drive stage provided me with four key takeaways from our keynote speakers:

We are Change Makers

Michaëlle Jean trumpeted the efforts the trucking industry has put forward. She noted that we have been heralded as heroes during this time of pandemic, saying that it is time for the invisible to become visible.  She noted that front line workers and those in the trucking industry are finally getting the public attention that they deserve, claiming that it is the hard workers in our industry who have suffered an inexcusable blind spot before the pandemic; and that it is time we recognize that we offer good meaningful work for hundreds of thousands of Canadians. What we do with this new attention and praise is key. Truck drivers notably, as Jean mentions have a remarkable and unique role in that they get to see sights many of us never will. This is perhaps a potential draw for recruiters to take note of. A philanthropist at heart, she also encouraged us to leverage our reach. She earnestly reminded us that our trucks are moving billboards for cause and positivity. This is what many of our Top Fleet Employers do when participating in various charitable causes such as: Plaid for Dad, Pink for the Cure, and Art Saves Lives.  We often forget to highlight this part of the trucking industry as an attraction – that it is not JUST trucking, it is so much more. It is a multitude of causes and action, and ingenuity. By highlighting the change maker abilities of our sector, Jean created a powerful united feeling of potential.

Employers have an opportunity

Michaëlle Jean also reminded us that the pandemic has created an opening for us to further investigate some of our collective societal issues. Saying, “In the same way lemon juice and a light bulb manifest invisible ink” – the pandemic has highlighted many core societal issues including, racism, sexism, homophobia, and ageism. Thus, perhaps the pandemic has helped to dismantle many of the things that are otherwise wrong with our current society. She challenges employers to use this moment for change and examine their own diversity and inclusion policies.

 

Women belong everywhere – including trucking

Halla Tómasdóttir reminded us of the “inner leader” that we all have. We need to confront our imposter feelings in order to excel and believe in our capabilities. And, as women, we need to stop doubting and questioning our abilities and our right to be in certain professional spaces. Women belong everywhere – and yes, that includes trucking. The pandemic, she noted, has brought about a time when women’s leadership is being noticed and recognized. Tómasdóttir reminded us that when women have a seat at the table, positive changes are made, and we see progress. For more women to be in leadership, young women need mentors and to see women who are succeeding at the highest levels.

No more business as usual

We may never go back to how things were before the pandemic – and Halla highlighted that this is not necessarily a bad thing. A lot was wrong with the world before and the pandemic is causing us to question what could ultimately, be better.  Maybe Canadians can continue to honour truckers and the entire trucking industry as essential work.  Perhaps we can embrace a future when trucking is more alluring to new and young workers. And certainly, with current unemployment rates, we have the possibility to invite and welcome people into our industry more than ever before.

The trucking industry is one of change, one that appreciates inclusion and diversity, one that encourages women’s leadership, and one that is filled with Women with Drive. Women with Drive Leadership Summit thus remains an important event for the trucking industry – because we still need and always will need, women with drive.

 

 

Supporting Women in Your Workplace: 5 Best Practices from Top Fleet Employers

By: Alero Okajugu

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can help increase productivity, innovation, and employee retention, benefits that cannot be overstated in today’s business world.

Women are essential to diversity, but the trucking and logistics industry still falls short with just 15% of women in the workforce.

Trucking HR’s Top Fleet Employers Program recognizes and celebrates companies with innovative employment practices and policies, and several fleets have taken specific steps to improve their recruitment and retention of women.

In reviewing what these fleets have done to diversify and encourage inclusion in their workplace, here are five best practices that stand out.

 

Creating connections

 

By participating in industry events and creating formal and informal coaching and mentoring arrangements, Top Fleet Employers help women leverage networks that can lead to professional development opportunities in the industry. These initiatives include Trucking HR Canada’s Women with Drive event or partnering with Women Building Futures.

 

Targetted recruitment

 

Many of our Top Fleet Employers take a targeted approach to recruiting both men and women who want to work in a diverse environment. For instance, a hiring practice among many Top Fleet Employers is to ensure that job descriptions in recruiting ads are free of unconscious bias that may affect individuals applying for that role. We also see recruitment targeted at community groups that focus on women, and customized onboarding processes. These efforts make women feel like they belong and not like they must adapt to fit into the workplace.

 

Flexible work arrangements

 

97% of our Top Fleet Employers offer benefits, policies, and flexible work arrangements to support their employees and their families. Some examples are a policy that allows truck drivers decide when and where to shut down overnight; flexible start/stop times; being able to choose routes close to home; permission to have a family member in the cab; part-time work upon request; and separate facilities for women. Workplace flexibility fosters loyalty and a higher quality of life for the employee, which consequently benefits the employer.

 

Evaluate your training offerings

 

Top Fleet Employers are committed to offering training that supports a diverse and safe workforce. For example, they provide sensitivity training that addresses stereotypes and biases in the workplace. In the case of female drivers, safety and security remain a very big concern. In response, many employers have programs that include training in anti-harassment and violence in the workplace—an area for which Trucking HR Canada has developed industry-specific training.

 

 

If you’ve got it – flaunt it

 

Top Fleet Employers with a good percentage of female employees in various roles portray this in their recruitment tools. Pictures of women can be seen in their public postings, websites, and other social media platforms.

 

There is much to be done in order to increase the number of women in trucking and logistics. However, our Top Fleet Employers are leaders and have embraced a culture that continually encourages and supports women in the industry.

 

As we approach International Women’s Day on March 8, take a moment to consider how your organization is doing when it comes to recruiting and retaining women. If you need a place to start, visit THRC’s website for helpful resources.

Gender imbalance in trucking and logistics

By: Craig Faucette

Some jobs just seem to attract more workers of one gender than another. These patterns have more to do with long-standing biases about which industries and occupations are “better suited” to men or women than actual gender-based differences in knowledge, abilities, or career interests.

In trucking and logistics, men make up 85% of the workforce. The ratio of women to men drops even further in certain jobs such as truck driver (3% female) or technicians and mechanics (1.5% female).

In contrast, women account for 87% of general administrative workers, 85% of accounting staff, and 61% of HR staff.

These numbers are consistent across the industry: similar data show up on virtually every trucking association’s website around the world!

Is it the job or the industry?

Why does this gender imbalance exist?

Is it the reputation of the industry as being a male domain? Or that certain jobs are perceived as being inherently oriented toward men?

Our labour market information suggests that it may be both.

On one hand, the percentage of female mechanics working across all sectors of the economy is roughly the same as it is in trucking and logistics: 2%, compared with 1.5%. Perhaps the job just doesn’t appeal to women.

On the other hand, more that 50% of dispatchers in Canada are women compared to only 39% in trucking and logistics, suggesting that the industry is an issue.

THRC’s research, “Millennials Have Drive 2,” found that women make up about one third of the 1.1 million “warm leads” who say they might consider a job in trucking.

That’s more than 360,000 young women.

Where we are today

What do we know about women who already work in trucking?

Right now, about 97,000 women are working in Canada’s trucking and logistics industry and more than half are doing front-line jobs in shipping and receiving (21%); driving a truck (10%); driving for a local delivery or courier service (8%); dispatching (6%); or material handling (5%).

Another 21% of women in trucking work in administration, accounting, and human resources.

Fewer than 5% of the sector’s female employees are in management or supervisory positions. This small fraction in senior leadership no doubt contributes to the industry’s problems recruiting and retaining women.

Finding equilibrium

Highlighting the experiences and variety of career choices of women who already work in trucking and logistics could help companies appeal to more female leads.

And tapping into their workplace experiences would help us all better understand and address the gender-based challenges and barriers in our workforce. We must:

– Determine if the challenges our industry faces in attracting and retaining women are the same or different than those in other male-dominated industries.

– Study and learn from more gender-balanced sectors.

– Create a more balanced culture that appeals to diverse groups of people.

– Set clear, achievable, and measurable targets and KPIs for achieving a more gender balanced workforce in trucking and logistics.

With our industry facing severe labour shortages—on average, trucking and logistics has about 7,300 vacant jobs annually—women represent a vastly underutilized source of workers. The industry’s gender imbalance is a complex issue but one that requires us to think about the most appropriate strategies to get it right.

Understanding Canada’s Truck Driver Shortage

By: Angela Splinter

 

Is there a shortage of truck drivers in Canada? This question often sparks a heated debate—and more questions.

Is the labour market so tight right now that there are too few people to drive trucks? Are employers not doing enough to make the job attractive? With all the driver training, licensing, and safety requirements, is the bar too high for anyone to qualify?

 

They’re good questions, but whether there is a driver shortage isn’t a matter of opinion. The data provides the answer.

 

Trucking HR Canada’s Labour Market Information (LMI) provides ongoing actionable intelligence pertaining to the supply and demand of labour. Our own economist conducts regular analysis of Statistics Canada data, labour force data, our own surveys, and more, ensuring an accurate assessment of our industry’s needs.

Here is what we know:

 

  • There are nearly 20,000 vacant truck driver positions in Canada.
  • 61% of employers report they can’t find all the drivers they need.
  • 7.4% of all truck driver jobs are unfilled compared to 3.3% in other non-driver jobs.
  • The unemployment rate among truck drivers is much lower than the rest of the workforce. (6.2% for truck drivers as compared to 9.8% for the rest of the workforce). However, if every currently unemployed truck driver were hired into a vacant position, there would still be more than 11,000 unfilled jobs.

 

All economic indicators show a shortage of drivers. What there is no shortage of, however, are opinions and offers of quick fixes stemming from high-level politicians (who do not necessarily understand our industry dynamics) all the way to drivers themselves.

 

This is an ongoing, complex issue.

Truck fleets are having to adjust to freight conditions that didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago. With e-commerce, the number of regional and local driving jobs is exploding, creating opportunities for drivers to work closer to home. Long-haul driving jobs today have a much higher vacancy rate than short-haul—9.4% compared to 5.9%.

Regulations play a role. The required use of ELDs and speed limiters means that some fleets have to add capacity in order to cover the same number of miles and maintain their service levels.

Training is an issue. Every year, about 28,000 new (inexperienced) drivers enter the industry to replace drivers who retired or otherwise left their jobs. These new workers require entry-level and specialized training before they can even start to drive independently and be ready to take the place of those experienced drivers who are leaving. This is a challenge compounded by the  pandemic.

Of course, there are always experienced drivers who are looking for work but can’t find a job that works for them.

So yes, there’s a shortage of drivers. And changes in the economy and freight markets haven’t made things easier with the passage of time.

 

We clearly need better ways of matching up job seekers, both new and experienced, with available work. Up-to-date and accurate LMI data, like the kind provided in this article, can go a long way toward creating a common understanding of the imbalances between the supply and demand for workers.

 

Trucking HR Canada is committed to monitoring and providing access to these important indicators as we support the development of evidence-based solutions to our industry’s challenges.

 

I invite you to use the resources on our site to help manage the pressure you may be feeling as you look for drivers. If you have questions, please reach out to [email protected] to learn more.

 

 

Coaching through COVID-19

By: Angela Splinter

In trucking, a successful game plan for recruiting and retention includes coaching. A great coach can get the best performance out of an individual or team by providing just the right mix of guidance, instruction, and support.

Many of our Top Fleet Employers have seen the benefits of coaching programs first-hand, including higher employee retention, better workplace morale, and positive impacts on safety.

With COVID-19 presenting new challenges and changes to our workplaces, a coach or mentor can focus on ways to connect with employees who may be feeling isolated or unmotivated.

With leaner budgets, and in some cases leaner teams, having a coach can be a cost-effective way to improve morale, increase productivity, and support overall employee well-being.

Let’s take a look:

Adapting your approach

Traditionally designed to help achieve organizational goals, we’re seeing a shift in coaching to focus on the employee and their overall performance and success.

Being a coach or mentor is different from being a manager who assigns tasks and monitors the work. Coaching is simply the act of listening, asking questions, and providing feedback so employees can be their personal best. Although coaches can be external to the organization, you can look to current staff to act as coaches as well.

Coaching tends to focus on performance and short-term skills, but a coach can also be an invaluable guide for employees who are dealing with changes that may be out of their control.

Support on-boarding

Coaching is often part of an effective on-boarding process. Experienced employees, for example, can spend time with new hires and personally answer questions about company practices, safety procedures, and more.

Virtual work arrangements mean more challenges for new hires. On-boarding procedures haven’t changed much, but the experience certainly has.

First impressions matter. How you welcome new employees and bring them into your company has an enormous impact on how engaged they are and how quickly they reach their full potential and productivity.

Incorporating coaches and mentors in the onboarding process will help.

Coaching your coaches

All roles are changing as the effects of the pandemic continue. Your managers and senior executives need to be equipped with the skills needed to perform at their best, too.

This may require providing professional development to your current managers to ensure they have the knowledge and comfort level with addressing these new challenges we are facing.

Investing in your employees is always a good thing to do. As we cope with COVID-19, it is becoming simply the right thing to do if we want our teams and teammates to perform their best.

 

 

Time for a temperature check on mental health

By: Angela Splinter

Trucking HR Canada recently conducted an informal “temperature check” survey of employers and employees about the topic of mental health in the workplace.

While the intent was to gather information over our social media channels for a federal consultation on the topic, what we heard from respondents was alarming.

Considering the pressure the pandemic has brought to bear, it was no surprise to hear that the number of workers concerned about their psychological health is rising. What’s astonishing is how pervasive COVID-19-related mental health issues are among the entire workforce, leaving a swath of stressed-out people – from the driver’s seat to the shop, to the office.

The survey results and the discussions we’ve had since have prompted us to take a close look at how stress, isolation, family matters, financial pressure, and other factors affect the mental health and safety of people in trucking and logistics.

COVID-19 looks like it’ll be with us for a while, and we want to help employers develop strategies to help their employees cope with life at work and home and feel better about themselves and their work.

Here’s what we’re learning.

There is a stigma around mental health

By far, survey respondents said COVID-19 is the main reason for observed decreases in their overall wellbeing and mental health in the workplace. Other factors cited (in order) are workplace stress; poor work-life balance; organizational restructuring; increased workload; and financial stress.

A large number of respondents acknowledged that employees are more aware of their general state of mental health and feel more comfortable discussing it at work. However, respondents also indicated that stigma surrounding mental health is something that many contend with, meaning that there may still be reluctance to report a mental health issue at work. One person said the stigma around mental health includes a fear of experiencing employment repercussions (e.g., losing their license).

This suggests that an effective intervention to reduce stigma in the trucking and logistics industry would also need to involve a dialogue among many different actors: employer organizations, employee organizations, health and safety bodies, insurance providers, and others.

Everyone is affected, but the more vulnerable are affected most.

In trying to determine which individuals within the workforce faced the greatest degree of COVID-19-related psychological distress, we found that occupational categories were the most frequently cited factor. Nevertheless, it was shown that certain issues can come into play to make individual circumstances particularly important to understanding the full picture.

For example, respondents who cited these factors tend to be affected the most:

  • Those with pre-existing mental health concerns
  • Those working from home with young children
  • Those working in close quarters

It’s also important to consider the experiences of different demographic groups. Notably, the mental health of women in the industry was highlighted as a concern, particularly the manner in which female employees were treated by clients and—at times, by those they work with. Also highlighted as a concern was the mental health of younger men (under 30 years of age) within the industry.

For an industry looking to increase the participation of women and young people, these issues warrant further attention.

Help the helpers

Our survey results showed that employees in certain occupations have a higher risk or are more vulnerable to experiencing psychological injuries and illnesses.

Without a doubt, truck drivers demand special attention given their work conditions, with respondents citing familiar themes of isolation/solitude, unhealthy diets, and low physical activity. COVID-19-related factors included daily stress stemming from poor access to facilities such as washrooms, or access to good options for nutrition.

However, our survey highlighted other occupations of concern, notably (in order):

  • Dispatchers
  • HR staff
  • Office administration staff

It’s significant that the reported rate of mental health effects on HR staff was the closest to the prevalence rate of drivers. COVID-19 has exacerbated negative outcomes for dispatchers, who have had to bear the brunt of changes in routes and driver availability.

The fact that we look to HR managers, dispatchers, administrators, and others to support our drivers is important to remember as you develop plans to address mental health. The need to recognize and manage mental health across all occupations has perhaps been underestimated in the past.

As we brace for a longer recovery period from the pandemic, employers may want to consider a temperature check of their own workforces’ mental health.

Post-pandemic profitability will depend on it.

Seven steps to help you comply with Canada’s new rules on workplace violence and harassment

By: Angela Splinter

It’s certainly been an interesting start to the new year.

As COVID-19 and divisive politics rage on, the trucking and logistics industry continues to put its collective shoulder to the wheel in 2021 to keep the economy rolling. We’re thankful for truck drivers, dispatchers, technicians, and others who move the goods that are essential to our everyday lives.

To help keep these workers safe and productive, Canada Labour Code regulations came into force on January 1 aimed at reducing the risk of workplace harassment and violence. All federally regulated employers should be ready for the new rules, outlined in Bill C-65 and the Workplace Harassment and Violence Regulations.

We’re here with resources to help you comply. Here are seven to get you started:

1.Assess your workplace risk

Employers need to identify risks related to harassment and violence in their workplace and, within six months of identifying these risks, implement preventive measures.

Consider what you can do to assess and reduce these risks. Not sure where to start? Click here to see our risk assessment checklist.

2.Develop a policy against harassment and violence

The regulations have specific requirements for a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy. Make sure your policy complies and that it’s available to all employees. You have a responsibility to ensure all employees are aware of the policy and are appropriately trained.

We have resources to help you here, too. Click here to access our policy template and checklist.

3.Establish emergency procedures

Employers must have formal processes in place in the event of harassment or violence that poses immediate danger to the health and safety of an employee.

Our policy template has tips to help you.

4.Train your employees

All employees (including management) are required to undergo harassment and violence training by Jan. 1, 2022. New employees must receive training within three months of being hired. Employees must be re-trained at least once every three years and following any updates to the training (or if they are assigned to a new role where there is a greater risk of workplace harassment or violence).

Work with your policy committee, workplace committee, or health and safety representative to determine your training needs.

Click here to learn more about our Learning Centre and online courses.

5.Designate someone to receive complaints

Employers are required to appoint a “designated recipient” of harassment and violence complaints. The designated recipient can be an individual or team that is appropriately trained to receive complaints, manage the complaint process, and follow the complaint-resolution procedures outlined in the regulations.

If you don’t have someone qualified for the role, they can become qualified through training.

Click here for resources to help you with the designated recipient role.

6.Communicate your policies

Employers must compile a list of nearby medical, psychological, and other support resources and share it with employees through the workplace harassment and violence prevention policy. They also must file an annual report to the Minister Labour documenting their policy and compliance.

Overall, it’s vital that senior leaders within your organization understand the importance of these regulations and the necessary commitment. Consider adding “workplace harassment and violence discussion” to the next executive team meeting so there is a robust conversation about the new rules and how the company plans to address them.

Keeping this as a frequent agenda item will ensure it remains top of mind.

7.Talk to us

Trucking HR Canada has been working on materials to help address these changes to the Canada Labour Code for nearly two years now. Our training resources are specific to trucking and logistics and were developed specifically in response to Bill C-65 and the new workplace harassment and violence rules. We have worked with Labour Canada, employment lawyers, labour groups, and HR professionals to make sure our standards of excellence are met.

We all benefit from workplaces that are free of harassment and violence. And we are here to help employers make that happen.