Trucking HR Canada’s Top 3 Tips to Communicate Policy Changes to Employees

By: Katrina Pizzino

The new year will bring important changes to the Canada Labour Code. Come January 1, 2021, employers will need to ensure they maintain compliance with new Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations (the Regulations).  Part of ensuring compliance involves adequately and clearly communicating the regulatory changes to employees. This entails adhering to HR best practices of being transparent about these relevant changes.

Amongst other obligations, employers will need to develop a new company policy on harassment and violence, provide on-going education to employees, and develop a process to address and report claims of harassment and violence in the workplace. Employers should be mindful of the three main elements of the new anti-harassment and violence legislation contained in Bill C-65:

  • Prevent incidents of harassment and violence
  • Respond effectively to those incidents
  • Support affected employees

 

Here are our top 3 tips to help you get started:

1. COMMUNICATE THE CHANGES

  • Share the message visually in the workplace; display policies in common areas – such as lunchrooms or other staff common areas
  • Send out digital as well as hardcopies of new policies in the form of internal handbooks or guide updates
  • Hold a mandatory virtual staff meeting to communicate policy updates

2. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FEEDBACK

  • Significant policy change requires a more immersive communication process so that employees understand the change at hand
  • Offer opportunities to follow-up or offer more guidance as necessary
  • Allow for open-ended sessions where employees can vocalize their feedback, and allow for anonymous feedback and questions after training sessions
  • Provide a welcoming environment for employees to feel safe and to be able to vocalize all their questions, concerns, or general comments
  • Address employee feedback openly, frankly, and in a timely manner

3. LEVERAGE YOUR TEAM

  • A good way to communicate a new policy or procedure is by identifying leaders within your team who can be “champions” amongst their peers
  • Leveraging leaders on your team can help make sure that employees can raise any questions or concerns
  • Supervisors or managers with a solid understanding of new policies and procedures are better placed to help employees and can ensure that appropriate protocols are being followed

Employers have increased responsibilities in matters of workplace health and safety and a duty to prevent, respond to, and support employees in matters of harassment and violence.

While communicating crucial information and change in the workplace is challenging, it can be simplified with the proper tools and resources to support you.

We can help you make sense of these new regulatory changes.  Our landing page has industry-specific tools and resources to help you learn more about anti-harassment and violence obligations. Starting in early January 2021, Trucking HR Canada will also offer affordable training that is industry specific and designed to help you meet the requirements in the new Regulations. Click HERE for more.

A Word From Worldskills

November 4, 2020 | By Guest Blogger: World Skills Employment Centre

HOW WORLD SKILLS CAN HELP YOUR FLEET

Before the Covid-19 pandemic started, the trucking industry was already experiencing severe shortages of talent for their trucking positions and as much as 61% of trucking industry employers admitted to having trouble filling these types of positions in a span of the last 12 months.   Increasing the consideration of newcomers to Canada for these positions can help employers alleviate the vacancies for these roles. In the province of Ontario alone, newcomers/immigrants make up to almost 23% of the population and over 340,000 immigrants are expected to immigrate to Canada in 2020 alone.

Many employers such as the Federal Government, the City of Ottawa, TD Canada, RBC, COSTCO, Accenture, Business Development Canada etc. are tapping into this talent pool — adding global perspectives and experience to their workforce. Best of all, they find incredibly talented individuals who have an excellent understanding of the Canadian workplace and who are loyal to their employer. We have the largest pool of pre-screened newcomer talent in Ottawa who want to pursue truck driving as their career.  There are programs available to employers (conditions apply) that could help alleviate some of the costs associated with getting a new employee licensed and support for onboarding costs.

 

Looking for a solution?

 

World Skills, a non profit employment centre in Ottawa, has been a leader in enhancing newcomers’ economic integration into the Canadian economy for over 20 years. The centre helps immigrants incorporate into the workforce through employability assessments, employment competency building, job search training and support, cultural competency building, and language training.

To find out how to access these initiatives contact Theodros Haile

[email protected]

 

Career Pathway

Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Communities: An Employer Roadmap

Post COVID, Trucking Still Needs to Consider the Driver Shortage

Post COVID, Trucking Still Needs to Consider the Driver Shortage

By Angela Splinter

Before COVID-19 hit, the Canadian trucking and logistics sector was already experiencing an acute driver shortage.

It was literally the day before the World Health Organization designated coronavirus a global pandemic that Trucking HR Canada released The Road Ahead: Addressing the trucking and logistics industry labour shortages.

Our report sounds the alarm on many fronts: high driver job vacancies within the industry, low unemployment generally, and the need to reach young people and women in order to expand and diversify the driver pool. And government has to do a better job partnering with industry and investing in training and access to wage subsidies programs for young people.

Just when we thought our research was done, the effects of COVID-19 on employment meant we had more work to do.

In May of this year we did just that.

We again surveyed industry employers directly to get primary data on the labour market impacts of coronavirus and applied additional economic modeling.

This is important information. The economy is preparing to rebound, and the government says it will look to provide tailored solutions for employers.

Timely, accurate, and credible labour market intelligence is the key to reassessing the industry’s needs and finalizing recommendations for moving forward.

Let’s take a look at where we stand:

Employment Forecasts

For the first two quarters of 2020, employment in the trucking and logistics industry is expected to shrink by 10.4% for a loss of up to 72,000 jobs.

Long-haul and regional truck drivers are especially hard hit. All told, the number of drivers is expected to contract by 10.9%, which equates to 34,700 jobs or roughly one in two pandemic-related job losses in the industry.

The increasing shift toward online shopping means that delivery and courier drivers are expected to experience a slightly below-average decline in employment with an anticipated 7,500 job losses, mostly in retail and wholesale trade.

Cost of COVID-19

Employment in trucking and logistics is tied to economic activity.  And, the trucking industry expected to lose $3.2 billion in revenue this year. The latest forecast of truck driver employment is 296,600 in 2020, roughly 21,000 below our pre-COVID estimate of 317,600 for 2020.

The labour shortages the trucking and logistics sector was experiencing pre-COVID-19 should moderate in the near-term, however, as demand recovers, vacancies within the sector will return as early as 2022, especially among truck drivers.

Projections

While drivers remain in a slightly different position from the rest of the industry, the projections indicate that trucking and logistics employment will stabilize by the first quarter of 2022 while remaining at approximately 1% below pre-COVID-19 levels through 2023.

The truck driver occupation is projected to experience a relatively fast recovery. Demand for drivers is expected to stabilize by the fourth quarter of 2021 and attain or possibly exceed pre-pandemic labour market projections by 2023.

However, anticipated retirements and other labour losses by 2023 indicate that this demand is unlikely to be fully met over the next three years. This important and timely research has confirmed that COVID-19 has simply stalled the driver shortage and has not negated it.

The question is whether we’ll have the perennial driver recruitment and retention challenges, including an aging demographic and need to reach women and younger employees, over the next three years.

Essentially, we could be right back where we started. At a time when many fleets are working to get back to their business of supporting the flow of goods through Canada’s supply chain, those tailored solutions our government keeps talking about cannot come fast enough.

Survey Says: HR Managers Take Varied Approach to COVID-19

Survey Says: HR Managers Take Varied Approach to COVID-19

June 16, 2020 by Angela Splinter

Every employer across the country is feeling the impact of COVID-19 in its own unique way. But for HR professionals at truck fleets and logistics companies, they all have one challenge in common: making sure workers and especially truck drivers feel safe and secure in their jobs.

Trucking HR recently surveyed carriers, 3PLs, and freight brokers about the measures they have taken since the pandemic came to Canada and what they plan to do in the next three to six months. Let’s take a look:

Layoffs

Seventy-six percent of the employers we surveyed said they have laid off workers due to COVID-19, with 83% of those layoffs categorized as temporary. Layoffs of truck drivers were more prevalent in the short-haul segment and among employed drivers than contractors or owner-operators.

Dispatchers and mechanics were also affected, with 10% of employees laid off in each occupation.

Notably, employers that have already laid off workers said they are more likely to continue doing so over the next three to six months.

Employee-initiated departures

According to our survey, the most common reasons for leaves of absence and other types of employee-initiated departures were self-quarantine; the employee or a member of the household is at a high risk of contracting COVID-19; and family caregiving. Each reason was evenly cited among employers.

The combination of layoffs and employee-initiated departures reduced total truck driver employment across our sample by 11.4%.

Of particular concern to HR professionals is whether these employees have left temporarily or if we have lost them for good.

Reduced compensation

Not surprisingly, many employers have cut worker pay due to declining revenue. Roughly one in four employers in our survey have frozen salaries or wages for truck drivers. This measure was more common among companies transporting non-essential goods (31%) than those transporting essential items (15%).

Pay increases have been rare—13% of survey respondents said they are paying workers a premium due to COVID-19. Others are offering non-monetary rewards including flextime, child-care, and time off.

Another 15% of employers said they have provided truck drivers with monetary rewards such as gift cards.

Improving the image

The million-dollar question for our industry is this: has COVID-19 changed the stigma around working in the trucking and logistics sector?

The views are mixed.

On one hand, employers are divided about whether COVID-19 has made the job of truck driving more or less appealing.

While 35% of employers expect truck driving to be more attractive to prospective employees relative to pre-COVID, 23% believe the job will be less attractive, citing the attention brought to dismal working conditions and wages.

On the other hand, 29% of employers believe that COVID-19 has made trucking and logistics somewhat or much more attractive to other types of prospective employees (excluding truck drivers). This compares to only 4% who believe the attractiveness of the sector has declined for these potential employees.

Challenges ahead

It is interesting to compare these finding to another Trucking HR Canada study done in partnership with Abacus data where 54% of Canadians overall had a positive impression of trucking companies.

The Abacus study also showed that 85% of Canadians think a strong trucking sector is necessary for the economy to be healthy.

Yet barriers remain.

Despite the recognition brought to truck drivers for their essential role in keeping supply chains moving, people are still not rushing to join the industry. Just 35% of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 35 said they would consider a job in trucking and logistics.

And when we look at the huge government relief programs available, namely the Canadian emergency wage subsidy (CEWS), our survey of employers showed that among employers that have not applied for CEWS, the vast majority (85%) have not experienced the eligible revenue reduction to qualify for the subsidy.

At a time when trucking and logistics companies are working hard to survive, they are also essential to the survival of their customers. We cannot lose sight of the fact that our industry needs a level playing field when it comes to accessing government programs and initiatives for employees.

We have seen what supply chains look like when Canada is in the middle of a health crisis. We need a financially strong and resilient transportation industry so HR professionals can keep their truck drivers safe and prepared for the challenges ahead.

 

Get Ready for a Rebound from COVID-19

Get Ready for a Rebound from COVID-19

May 4, 2020 by Angela Splinter

Covid-19 has affected our industry and workforce in unprecedented ways.

Seemingly overnight, trucking and logistics firms transitioned from busy offices and terminals to remote work and virtual meetings. We shifted from acute labour shortages and packed trailers to layoffs and uncertain times for businesses and workers, all the while, this industry has kept essential goods moving.

Canada’s truck drivers have become national heroes. Warehouse workers, dispatchers, safety personnel, accountants, IT staff, and business leaders have also been catapulted to levels of public appreciation that none of us has ever experienced.

HR steps up to the plate

And another group has had to adapt suddenly and significantly too – our HR colleagues.

HR professionals have had to manage staffing changes, develop new working arrangements, ensure physical-distancing measures, check-in on the physical and mental well-being of employees, and navigate massive business relief programs sometimes all in the same day.

Their role has been and will continue to be essential to staff morale and business continuity.

As May flowers begin to open, it looks like our economy will, too (albeit slowly). Here are some ways that HR managers and their organizations can be prepared.

Remote working

Remote working is a new and perhaps enduring reality for many of us. For businesses, the current situation has shown that it’s possible for employees to be productive without coming into an office. HR folks are busy figuring out how and when to bring people back safely—if at all.

Now is the time to review your HR practices and policies and be ready for requests from employees who want to continue to have a flexible work arrangement.

This includes identifying which jobs and roles are best suited to remote working, and how to manage scheduling, reporting, technology, and issues like the security and confidentiality of information given the blurry lines between work and private life.

New workplace policies

There are legal ramifications to consider when it comes to overtime, leave, workplace safety, and financial arrangements between employers and employees who work remotely.

Self-isolation and quarantines will require new policies for reporting illnesses and returning to work. What are your protocols if an employee tests positive for Covid-19? What are the next steps to ensure the health of the individual and others that he or she may have come into contact with?

And procedures regarding layoffs, furloughs, and pay adjustments should be immediately reviewed in light of the circumstances.

Focus on technology

While employees will demand safe work environments that minimize human contact, so will health authorities. From health-assessment apps to digital documents and no-touch business processes, technology can help businesses be prepared for the predicted second wave and changes to the way we work in the future.

Having technology in place is just one piece of the puzzle.

HR people will need to ensure that the company has skilled staff to assess, manage, and analyze IT systems and processes. All kinds of businesses are scrambling now to hire IT people to support this shift, so be ready to commit the time and resources necessary for your HR team to compete and tackle the problem sooner rather than later.

It’s hard to know when the economy will rebound and more freight start to flow through supply chains again. But trucking and logistics companies that have their HR teams preparing for those days now will be best positioned to respond and profit when it does.

Until then, stay healthy and stay (virtually) in touch.

Sizing up the labour market—and what to do next

Sizing up the labour market—and what to do next

February 18, 2020 by Angela Splinter

Labour shortages in trucking and logistics are an ongoing concern. Employers and employees across the country feel increasing pressure from longer recruiting processes, reduced productivity, and the fact that our pool simply continues to shrink.

To quantify the problem, Trucking HR Canada (THRC) launched a Labour Market Information Project in the summer of 2018. More recently, we partnered with The Conference Board of Canada on a comprehensive survey to more accurately assess the industry’s labour needs.

This work is important for businesses in trucking and logistics. But it’s also clear that understanding the industry’s labour needs affects all Canadians.

In 2019, the trucking and logistics sector employed 3.6% of Canada’s workforce, or just over 650,000 workers. And, while 45% of these employees are truck drivers, we also employ close to 90,000 people in shipping and receiving, close to 88,000 delivery and courier service drivers, and just over 36,000 material handlers at warehouses and distribution centers.

The size of our impact

Transportation is one of 10 critical sectors on which Canada’s economy and national security depends, as identified by Public Safety Canada’s “National Cross Sector Forum 2018-2020 Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure.”

Trucking and logistics companies connect consumers, businesses, and international markets that are vital to our economy. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the sector carries an estimated $550 billion worth of goods purchased by Canadians and more than $300 billion worth of Canadian goods destined to export markets (this does not even include wheat and crude oil).

And we support the nine other critical infrastructure sectors: energy and utilities, information and communication technology, finance, health, food, water, safety, government, and manufacturing. These pillars of our economy depend on a healthy trucking and logistics industry.

The size of our workforce

In 2019, the trucking and logistics sector employed 3.6% of Canada’s workforce, or just over 650,000 workers. And, while 45% of these employees are truck drivers, we also employ close to 90,000 people in shipping and receiving, close to 88,000 delivery and courier service drivers, and just over 36,000 material handlers at warehouses and distribution centers.

And let’s not forget the many others who keep operations going: an estimated 40,000 managers, supervisors, and administrative staff, and 9,000 accounting personnel.

The size of our problem

According to Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, the truck transportation industry experienced an average job vacancy rate of 6.8% in 2019. This is the second-highest vacancy rate among Canadian industries after crop production, and more than double the national average of 3.3%.

Put differently, we’re unable to fill roughly one out of 15 open positions, most of them truck drivers. In fact, the total number of truck driver vacancies in Canada has increased from an annual average of 8,600 in 2016 to 20,500 in the first three quarters of last year.

Against this backdrop, it may come as little surprise that 61% of employers who responded to our survey reported difficulties filling truck driver positions within the past year.

One reason is demographics. According to the 2016 Census, 32% of truck drivers in Canada are 55 years or older compared to 21% of the entire Canadian labour force. More than 6% of our drivers are 65 and older. It is difficult to compete for younger workers.

Call to action

Our industry’s shortage of workers—and drivers in particular—affects individual businesses, Canada’s transportation infrastructure, and the overall economy.

We need to work quickly on solutions. As a first step, on March 11, we’re making sure everyone is aware of the severity of the situation.

We’re now finalizing our briefing report in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada and will release the results of our Labour Market Information Project at a press conference in Toronto on March 11 at Noon EST.

If you cannot make it to Toronto, please register to watch the event live via our web cast. We also encourage you to reach out to your provincial trucking association. Many will be joining via webcast in their offices.

Immediately following the press conference, we will hold a Workforce Knowledge Exchange—a discussion that will focus on identifying specific actions now that we have comprehensive data about our labour market.

Space is still available. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] to learn more.

TOOL: Template for an Employee ‘Total Rewards’ Statement

Big HR Tips for Small Fleets

October 7, 2019 by Angela Splinter

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.

Onboard effectively

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.

Consider out-sourcing

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.