Best practices of women-friendly trucking firms in the industry

Learn from the masters on how they're attracting and retaining women truckers. 

Learn from the masters on how they're attracting and retaining women truckers. 

From the time of Luella Bates, the first ever woman truck driver, to the era of the famous retired-OTR driver, Stephanie King, not much has changed when it comes to participation of women in the trucking industry. Even with a progressive mindset within a few organisations, only approximately 6% of the trucker workforce in the United States are women.

This needs to change. Thankfully, many large trucking firms and organisations are giving enough and more reasons for women to join their firms.

Women are an obvious source of new drivers, the ATA said in a report on the shortage late last year. One of the vanguards has to be “Women in Trucking”, which most women-friendly trucks are associated with. This remarkable organization has been working towards women employment in the industry since 2007. The organization has tie-ups with multiple large corporations such as J.B. hunt, Freightliner, and Convoy. WIT has also partnered with the National Transport Institute (NTI), for determination of WIT index, researching, and spreading out the word accordingly. WIT training, webinars, mentoring are just a few of the many services that WIT offers to aspiring women truckers to perform better at their jobs.

All three firms below have been nominated for the Top Companies for Women to work for, in transportation.  Let's see what they're doing right:

J.B. Hunt

The Fortune-500 company based in Arkansas, has taken conscious steps to create a fair workplace for women.  By including pictures of women truckers on the jobs page,  featuring women as well as men truckers in their video of 2018 Arkansas Truck Driving Championship, J.B.Hunt has shown itself to be mindful of appearing as a gender-neutral workplace. Some of the other things they have done include: 

  • Setting up a women’s employment and resource group, GROW (Growing and retaining outstanding women) for hiring more women truckers and creating a better environment for them in the industry.

  • Highlighting women truckers and their career path, to serve as an inspiration for future recruits.

  • Contributing to the WIT Publication, “Redefining the Road” (In fact, Rachel Christensen, Director of Intermodal Operations at J.B. Hunt stands as the WIT Vice Chair.)

  • A popular Youtube series called Women Truck Driver  that features women truck drivers (including million-mile drivers) to talk about their experience continues to be an inspiration for aspiring woman truckers.

YRC Freight

“Trucking is the best job I’ve ever had. I wish I had started when I was younger," said Dee E. Smith in 2012, after completing her 25 years in the company. This number is impressive, given how frequently we hear of truck driver attrition these days.

The company traces its origins to 1924 when A.J. Harrell, an Oklahoma City entrepreneur, founded a bus and taxi service that he named Yellow Cab Transit Co. He shortened the name to Yellow Transit Co. in 1926. 

Here's what YRC Freight does to make its women stay on the job:

  • YRC Worldwide put an interesting incentive program in place: By giving 25 women truckers a free WIT membership - it not only rewarded them but also facilitated an opportunity to learn from accomplished peers from their gender.

  • The company is known to have implemented better anti-harassment laws.

  • Highlighted the achievements of its female truckers to motivate future women recruits. In March 2012, the company celebrated a Women’s History Month by honoring seven exceptional women employees. 

  • Reached out to major truck stops for cleanliness, safety and bathroom/shower facilities.

  • Took steps for improvement of training benchmarks to make the training environment better and suitable for hiring and retaining women truckers.

Benett International 

Founded in 1974, and run by a woman, the Georgia-based transportation firm has been vocal about hiring and motivating its women-truckers. Most notable of their campaigns is the Women in the Driver Seat program. The program began as a result of Marcia Taylor, chief executive officer and president of Bennett International Group, being named Women In Trucking’s 2014 Most Influential Woman in Trucking at the end of March 2014. Here are some details about the campaign:

  • Each woman trucker in the organisation receives a 1 year membership with WIT. This comes with benefits that include WIT lapel pin, networking events, ‘Member-only benefits’, contributions to "Redefining the Road" magazine, mentoring opportunities, special offers from sponsors, reception invitations, webinars and teleconferences.

  • A ‘Women Driver of Excellence’ Awards was hosted by the company to encourage the drivers to perform better.

  • Annual contests, apparels and accessories, opportunities to attend industry events were other things that the company did for the same.

Now that you've read what you can do, you would know that, these are ideas that are easy on the paper, but hard in execution.

The secret to setting up women-friendly workspaces? Setting up processes that take women into account, having structures that nurture women and motivate them to take up trucking for life. Salary in not all what they need. 

While it maybe easy manage and implement these  that for a few employees, it is definitely not easy if you're looking at setting up structures for a large employee base.  What has been missing so far, is a scalable technology platform that helps companies create better work environment that encourages employees to be productive, no matter where they are.

Noticeboard trains employees, conducts surveys, builds a genuine relationship with staff, no matter where they are. We've done this for over 25,000 people who work on the field, and we're confident about doing the same for your company as well.