Jennifer Loomis, Associate Editor
January 24, 2022
Winter is here, and with it comes an onslaught of seasonal drivers to help haul cargo, deliver packages, and clear snowy roads. Although some employees work the same seasonal job year after year, most will be brand new to your company, and maybe even to the transportation industry.
It can be tempting to scrimp on training for seasonal workers; after all, they’ll only be on your payroll for a short time. But by training them well, you can reduce the chances that they’ll quit before the end of the season, as well as set yourself up to find some strong candidates for full time positions. Make sure that your seasonal drivers are prepared to hit the road with these three tips.
1. Introduce seasonal drivers to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), as well as your company’s policies and procedures.
New employees — seasonal or not — will have a lot of questions. Some of these questions must be addressed to make sure your seasonal employees are compliant with FMCSRs. For example, it’s imperative that new employee training covers topics such as medical exam cards, DOT and/or your company’s drug testing policy, pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections, and hours of service.
Other new hire questions should be answered to put seasonal employees at ease. Think back to your first day on a new job. What were your biggest concerns? Likely, they were the things that existing employees did day in and out without a second thought. Help your seasonal employees feel welcome and prepared by giving them a welcome packet as part of their new employee training that answers common questions, such as:
2. Prepare seasonal drivers to drive in winter weather.
In winter, it is more important than ever to make sure windshield wipers are working and in good condition, all lights are functional and free from snow, and tires are properly inflated and have enough tread. Make sure drivers understand the importance of doing a thorough vehicle inspection before getting behind the wheel. Remind drivers to increase following distance so that if the car in front of them stops suddenly or loses control, they have time to stop. Stress that patience is key; slowing down and finishing a run safely is more important than finishing quickly.
3. Emphasize that healthy drivers make safer drivers.
Flu season, seasonal affective disorder, and holiday stress can have a big impact on people in the winter months. Seasonal drivers may experience additional stress; not only have they recently started a new job, but they are likely working long hours at a fast pace.
Make sure your new drivers know that their health is important to you. Remind drivers to eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and find time to do things they enjoy. Sharing healthy tips, recipes, and words of encouragement can provide drivers with the motivation to take care of themselves.
The end of the year can be an overwhelming time in the transportation industry. Taking the time to thoroughly train your seasonal drivers will help them feel a part of the team and prepare them to work hard for your company, which will in turn make the season a better one for you, your drivers, and your customers.
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