by Ellen Voie, WIT President/CEO
- Let them know you WANT to hire women. If your recruiting ad doesn’t include women, or worse yet, excludes women, you won’t get their attention. Don’t always show a male driver in your ads, and don’t assume the only woman in your ad should be the wife at home. Go back and look at your recruiting advertisements and see if they appeal to women. Ask some of your female staff members if they would respond to your company’s ad.
- Tell women WHY you are interested in hiring them. For example, do you have a real desire to hire women as drivers because you believe they are capable and competent? Women don’t want any special privileges; they just want a level playing field to compete for jobs as a professional, not because of gender. Don’t ever patronize women or give them the impression that you are hiring them because you are filling some quota or making a statement. We can see through that!
- Let potential drivers know why you are a good fit for them. Do you have loads that are regional instead of long distance? Do you have equipment that makes the job less physically demanding? Do you have female trainers available? Do you make every effort to provide a safe environment for all drivers?
- Safety is a top priority when hiring women. Making sure the work place is safe is important, but you should also consider ways to protect your drivers from harassment. The trucking industry is very male dominated, so women are often harassed on the job. Make sure YOUR drivers aren’t the source of this negative behavior. Talk to your drivers about how they can work together as peers.
- Equipment. The more you can remove the physical aspect of the job, the easier it will be to recruit and retain women (and men!). Order your trucks with as much technology as you can afford. Air ride seats, brakes, hydraulic dollies, and even automatic transmissions, take less physical stamina and relieve some of the strain drivers experience each day. More driving, less unloading, cranking, pushing, and pulling will save your drivers from pain down the road.
- Basic needs. Be sure your terminal has equal access to restrooms and locker facilities. If you have a company store, make sure you stock women’s clothing sizes and feminine products. Ask your drivers for their basic needs and they’ll tell you what you’re missing.
- Train, educate, and mentor. Help your drivers be the best they can be. Teach them about safety and how to avoid a hazardous work environment. Give them lessons on self-defense and how to avoid and deflect harassment. Provide the knowledge they need to do their job well.
- Provide mentors. If you have female drivers already, pair them with a new recruit to give them a different perspective. Encourage them to talk on the phone and meet in person and help them in the process. Sometimes a driver needs to know there’s someone who understands her (or his) situation and can relate to them.
- Set an example. Promote women into leadership roles and make sure they are visible to your drivers. If you have female dispatchers, managers, and others who are leaders in your company, feature them in your newsletter, on your website, and in your advertising. Welcome and encourage women to apply for leadership roles within your organization.
- Join Women In Trucking Association. Visit www.womenintrucking.org and become a corporate member. You will have access to many resources, from an anti-harassment employment guide to a recruiting guide. Although the organization is based in the United States, there are members outside of North America that benefit from the knowledge and information available from this organization.