No matter the size of the company, a business cannot thrive without a team of reliable, competent, well-managed people.
And smaller companies face more challenges in this regard.
Small business owners often have a strong understanding of their industry but not necessarily how to manage people, or they take on responsibilities that span various management roles.
Under these circumstances, it’s hard for small businesses to give HR the attention it needs.
This is especially true in trucking and logistics. According to Trucking HR Canada’s labour market information, the vast majority of trucking firms in Canada have fewer than 20 employees.
Clearly, with so many small carriers in the industry, there’s a need for HR guidance and support.
We are here to help. Let’s take a look at some tips for small fleets:
Know the law
No small business owner can be aware of every employment and labour code law. But they should at a minimum be familiar with the big ones.
Whether you’re provincially or federally regulated impacts which laws you need to comply with, and knowing the difference will matter. For instance, federally regulated companies are affected by many new Canada Labour Code changes. We are working to support employers in this regard, and subscribing to our newsletter will help keep you in the know.
Document your HR policies and approaches
Put your HR policies and approaches in writing. This can be in the form of an employee handbook or a policy manual. Regardless, it’s important to clearly state the standards of behaviour in your organization and how things should be done.
Well-written guidelines and policies provide a basis for resolving problems fairly and consistently. They can also serve to keep your workplace practices in compliance with employment and labour standards.
Put your HR policies and approaches in writing.
Getting off to a good start means you should have an onboarding program for all new hires, no matter the size of your company. This is particularly important for your drivers.
Your onboarding program gives you the opportunity to review your handbook or organizational policies and clarify things like how and when people will get paid; your culture, goals, and business objectives; and your performance expectations. These are all important factors that will support a positive work environment where employees know what they can expect from you and what you expect from them in return.
With you and your employees likely wearing many hats, consider outsourcing your HR functions. There are a variety of payroll services, HR software platforms, or HR consulting firms that can help. And, when it comes to employment and labour standards, you may even consider the services of an employment law lawyer.
Outsourcing gives you access to the professional services you need when you need them, while also managing risk, and allowing you to focus on other aspects of the business.
Learn from others
Clearly, there are many companies out there like you! And there are ample opportunities for networking. From local transportation clubs to provincial and national associations, find a group that works for you and use these opportunities to learn from others.
And don’t discount the larger trucking and logistics industry association events that you may think are more suited for larger companies. I have heard from many small fleet owners about the learning and business benefits they get from attending and being a part of these groups.
…find a group that works for you and use these opportunities to learn from others.
Highlight your unique offerings
Small companies have unique qualities that make them stand out from the competition. Do you have a welcoming, family-friendly work environment? Do you offer profit sharing or unique revenue-sharing approaches? Do you have regular routes, or flexible work arrangements?
Small fleets often don’t recognize the various things they do that make them attractive. Talk to current employees and find out what keeps them with you, and highlight this in your recruitment efforts.
Overall, remember that effective HR approaches are important for businesses of all sizes. Make sure they become a key part of your business strategy, then watch your business grow.