Millions of people who tuned into the NFL’s first Sunday of the season got to witness Walmart’s crazy smart recruitment marketing move… but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s start at the beginning and unpack all of the information before we really dive into this strategic messaging.
Fun Fact: This week we are celebrating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2018.
Not So Fun Reality: We are in the thick of a truck driver shortage in the US, and from the looks of it, open positions could potentially triple by 2026 – yikes for big transportation giants like FedEx, Amazon, and of course, Walmart. Word on The Street is that there is no one single reason why this shortage is hitting our economy so aggressively, but instead a perfect storm of factors including:
“an aging workforce, high driver turnover rates (above 90% at present), reduced capacity as a result of regulatory changes, increasing freight demand, inflationary pressures, and ‘lifestyle priorities’ that make competing industries more attractive.”
Now, I’m not saying that the industry is standing still and taking the hit. Progressive changes are being made to combat this labor gap across the private and public sectors – but are those changes getting the attention needed to turn this thing around?
Enter Walmart and their crafty response to some of the occupational obstacles standing in their team’s way – take a look here. These are 3 ways that Walmart’s 1-minute Truck Driver Appreciation advertisement addressed the top factors killing the trucking industry’s hiring vibes.
Driving Diversity – I’m not just talking about the obvious diversity spotlights that focused on the traditional use of the term in both race and gender. Did you notice that almost every generation legally allowed to hold a CDL is represented in this commercial? That’s pretty trucking awesome (sorry we all knew it was coming), especially because of the growing retirement trends we are experiencing with career-long trucking pros.
The 1980’s called, and they apologize for this side effect of the decade’s trucking industry boom. If we want to attract new transportation talent we need to embrace the overall diversity of the modern workforce and actively challenge that pesky white male late-boomer/early-Xer stereotype.
Quantifying Safety – This video flashes quite a few scenes that highlight the trucks’ safety features and modern tools. But just in case the audience didn’t pick up on those unique touches, Walmart displays bulletproof figures that highlight how many miles their drivers have safely traveled as a part of the team on the trucks themselves and on the hats (and these aren’t small numbers).
All employees want to feel valued, especially those that work in a demanding environment that requires constant care and attention. Every organization can take a note out of Walmart’s book and invest in their team’s safety and efficiency – it’s a go-to strategy to inspire deeper engagement and better company buy-in from your people.
Prioritizing Balance – The 80-hour work week is out and even illegal in the trucking industry. But Walmart didn’t opt to focus on policy – instead, they went for the feels. They featured smiling drivers hugging their children goodbye before they leave for work and hanging out with them after their routes. They even snuck some footage in with kids holding the “legacy” (aka the hats) – pretty slick move there.
Family, social life, rest, taxidermy, whatever – it doesn’t matter what your team does in their spare time, as long as they have that freedom to spend it as they wish. Use your messaging to highlight what’s important to your team members outside of work and how the balance allows them to pursue their passions, especially in a field that traditionally dominates workers’ schedules.
Now I understand that we all aren’t responsible for putting out content with the purpose of attracting truck drivers to work at our organizations. But as recruitment marketers, we all know the pain our teams experience when hunting those hard to recruit roles, and that it’s our job to help them fill that narrow funnel with great prospects.
So ask yourself “What would Walmart do?” the next time your team is in a hiring bind. Who knows – your messaging may speak to a whole new crop of candidates…or it may just land you on one of our blogs.