John Graham's picture

Nov 11, 2016

By:

John Graham

CEO

As we all pause to recognize our veterans on this Veterans’ Day, I have a suggestion: Don’t just honor a veteran today, hire one.

I realize that on a day like this, many people will probably be saying that or something similar, but there’s a reason. Veterans make great employees.

This is a group of men and women that received exceptional training that includes not just leadership and people skills. It’s a group that’s already shown an interest in taking on challenges and figuring out how to get the job done.

Additionally, today’s veterans are leaving a military that is more and more reliant on cutting edge technology to accomplish its mission, and many of these veterans are entering the workforce with advanced technology experience. And, as the trucking and transportation industries continue to embrace technology, it’s that experience that makes veterans ideal employees.

Veterans as drivers

Many of Omnitracs’ customers employ a good number of veterans as drivers because, behind the wheel, veterans perform better than other employees. They have fewer accidents, they drive more miles, and they’re loyal. But don’t just take my word for it. Look at these numbers from one national carrier:

  • Veterans had 44 percent fewer accidents than the rest of the carrier’s driving population.
  • Veterans drove a staggering 98 percent more miles than the rest of the drivers.
  • Veterans had 62 percent fewer voluntary terminations.

That’s just one carrier you say? Well, here are the numbers from another. They are remarkably similar.

  • Veterans had 40 percent fewer accidents.
  • Veterans drove 98 percent more miles.
  • Veterans had 56 percent fewer voluntary terminations.

Pretty impressive, right? Proof that there’s value in hiring a veteran. But we should be looking to our veterans for more than just driving positions. There are plenty of opportunities outside of the cab at both carriers and companies that support the trucking and transportation industries where veterans make sense.

Veterans in fleet management

Managing a fleet is very complex. You have drivers. You have maintainers. You have people who manage the maintenance and upkeep of that fleet. Someone is responsible for the tracking and movement of that fleet, from an operational standpoint.

So there is a great opportunity for drivers, sure, but there are also great opportunities for people who have helped maintain and manage complex equipment, like military units. The same principles apply in managing the movement of trucks, vehicles, cargo and goods. And these opportunities aren’t strictly limited to carriers. Logistics and supply chain management companies and shippers can also use people with these skills. The opportunities to capitalize on that veteran leadership and experience are tremendous.

Telling veterans about the opportunities in trucking

But knowing that veterans make great employees is only half of the equation. We also need to be actively recruiting them and telling them why a career in the trucking and transportation industries is a good fit.

A challenge that many military members have as they approach the time to reenter the civilian workforce is figuring out how they can leverage their military experience in the commercial business environment.

There is an obligation for businesses and for veterans, like myself, who’ve received great experience from the military, to reach back into the veteran community and help them bridge that gap. We need to be doing a better job of showing someone how their possibly unrelated experience can translate into success in the trucking and transportation industries.

Luckily, there are already organizations that make it possible to get this message out. It’s easy to participate in local veteran career fairs or work with groups like Hire Heroes USA to get in front of these potential employees. Some of the trucking industry’s largest carriers have put extra efforts in place to attract veterans. Werner’s Operation Freedom fleet of military-themed trucks driven by veterans is just one example, but we can always do more. It just requires all of us making it a priority.

In addition to actively recruiting veterans, trucking and transportation companies should also support veterans’ initiatives to signal to the heroes that we appreciate and recognize their service and sacrifice. At Omnitracs we do that by being a chief sponsor in the Wreathes Across America project that provides wreathes for graves at the country’s national cemeteries, but there are plenty of opportunities to give back.

So, today, take a moment to shake the hand of a veteran. Thank them for their service. And, if they’re looking for a new opportunity, hand them an application or ask for a resume.

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