As restrictions and lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic ease, world economies are gaining momentum – but many industries, from Europe to the U.S., suffer from acute staffing shortages.

Deficits are especially pronounced in hospitality, industrial, and construction industries, as well as those that typically hire entry-level workers at less than $20 per hour.

Why are there so many open positions, when millions of workers are unemployed because of the pandemic?

Some may still harbor concerns about COVID-19 and its variants and prefer to stay at home until things improve. Others earn more from unemployment and stimulus benefits than they could working a low-paying job.

Companies have responded by increasing hourly wages, offering enticing sign-on bonuses, and other perks to attract applicants. For example, Chipotle Mexican Grill offers paid college tuition for workers who meet certain tenure and weekly work hour requirements.

While increased pay and bonuses are staple reactions to labor deficits, they may not be good enough in today’s workplace.

Take the American trucking industry, for example. Trucking companies have struggled for years to attract and retain commercial and private fleet drivers. Age restrictions, licensing requirements, and long stints away from home dissuade many would-be applicants.

As a result, the average pay for truck drivers has increased substantially. Walmart drivers, for example, average $87,500 in yearly gross pay. Other companies offer similar compensation; however, driver shortages are still at record levels.

It’s critical to keep drivers happy, particularly in a world that has grown increasingly dependent on on-demand delivery as a result of the pandemic.

Here are some ways that leaders in a wide range of industries can effectively recruit and keep employees:

Take advantage of tech.

Improving employee retention is about more than pay and bonuses. It’s about improving employee engagement and job satisfaction. Because truck drivers are often almost completely remote, this can be a significant challenge.

Performance evaluations must be fair and consistent, and both recognition and coaching are needed to reward top performers and improve the skills and morale of lower-performing employees, respectively.

Also, companies need more realistic data to manage and adjust the expectations of the truck drivers they employ. TruckLabs recently unveiled a feedback system that provides this information, allowing dispatchers to understand the impacts of real-world factors like detours, traffic volume, weather, and load weight.

This information helps companies recognize their best performers in a holistic sense, rather than holding drivers to arbitrary benchmarks that are sometimes out of reach.

Balance company goals and employee incentives.

Transparency allows employees and managers to understand the challenges, pressures, and opportunities each one faces so that they can develop achievable goals where customer service, compliance, delivery cost, and safety are concerned.

Learning shouldn’t just happen at the home office, though. Drivers, like any other employee, should be able to gain skills, knowledge, and insights while on the road as well as in the office.

Information culled from technology can improve ongoing education for drivers. Integrated onboard systems let drivers make real-time route and other performance adjustments by aggregating data from previous trips made by other truck drivers.

By facilitating sharing of information among truck drivers, dispatchers, and others, technology creates a sense of transparency and trust. Transparency in incentive programs and shared information can help employees understand how they contribute to a bigger purpose, which can lead to improved performance and safety.

The introduction of “gamification” could also be a powerful change in truck driver communication and performance. In-cab gamified experiences let drivers compete for safety, performance, and other awards in a friendly, fun way.

The bottom line.

If you’re looking for ways to improve staffing, look past pay, benefits, and bonuses. Today’s employees want to know that they are valued and that they belong to a positive team that encourages both personal and career growth.

For more information on how you can streamline your business, improve revenue, and develop a workforce you can depend on, contact one of our experts today.