HDAW workshop slate to include employee recruiting and development program

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Updated May 17, 2019

Though technology will dominate the educational slate at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) 2019 this month, event organizers also have been careful to not overlook one of the trucking industry’s biggest continuing challenges: Hiring and retaining quality employees.

In the workshop, “Growing and Keeping Your Best Assets: People,” on Tuesday, Jan. 29, TA/Petro’s Homer Hogg will share his expertise on how aftermarket businesses can develop recruiting and retention strategies to keep their companies running smoothly and efficiently in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Hogg says hiring in the trucking industry always has been challenging, but with a strong national economy and aging workforce within the market, it is now almost impossible. The industry’s technician shortage widens daily and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of techs the industry needs to hire in the next decade to surpass six figures. The situation isn’t much better in the warehouse or at the counter, where aftermarket businesses are increasingly looking internally to promote employees into management roles.

Coupled with a stressed labor pool, Hogg says it is time for the aftermarket to start looking “beyond our normal hunting grounds” to find new people.

“Business evolves, and I think it is very clear that the generations we see coming into the business today are different from those of us who have been doing this for a while,” says Hogg, who worked as a technician early in his career before rising through the TA/Petro ranks to director of technical service. He says trucking needs to present itself in a way that appeals to this younger generation, both in where and how it recruits.

Hogg uses social media as an example, noting social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram enable aftermarket businesses to showcase to young people the innovative and tech-centric aspects of their companies using platforms those prospective employees frequent and enjoy. Yet he also notes the future of recruiting isn’t exclusively social media. He says his upcoming workshop also will offer guidance on how business leaders can develop relationships with area high schools and community colleges and earn the opportunity to promote their businesses directly to students.

The key is taking a wide swath, he says, because narrowing in on one recruiting channel — even a lucrative one — results in too many missed opportunities.

Hogg’s presentation also will challenge aftermarket attendees to expand their employee mentorship and compensation packages, as he believes both are necessary to maintain an engaged and talented workforce in 2019.

“Most people want to grow. They want to know they have that opportunity,” he says. Employers may search for candidates for a job, but prospective employees hunt for a career. Hogg says companies failing to highlight career growth potential to prospective employees or new associates are unlikely to keep young people engaged.

“It can be easy for employees to start thinking they are stuck in one environment,” he says. “It is mission critical for us to show them otherwise.”

This is the final of seven presenter previews for HDAW 2019. Previous HDAW 2019 preview articles are available HERE.

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