Published: Ben Klein – Senior Project Director

I arrived back from my first NATERA conference this week and I have to say it was an amazing time. I learned a lot about the biggest upcoming challenges in the trucking industry and what companies need to be aware of. I also got to spend some great time with old and new friends in the industry. Here are my top 10 takeaways from NATERA 2020:

The biggest issue facing motor carriers is still the driver shortage and driver retention. The ATA estimates that by 2026 the industry will need almost 200,000 more drivers. Attracting and retaining drivers is more important than ever.  

On Disney’s ‘Business begins the Magic tour’ we discovered how Disney delivers on their ultimate goal of a consistent guest experience through engaged cast members. Various active and passive communication methods were shared, and we all left feeling more inspired to take a few minutes to ask for suggestions from our teammates on a regular basis.  

NLRB Chair John King shared updates at the Federal level, including the rolling back of Obama era joint-employer regulations and how that gives carriers more clarity on the subject.

As an industry that naturally travels across the country, carriers need to begin thinking about the potential impacts of COVID-19, from how to stop the spread by making sure trucks have sanitizing wipes, tissues and hand sanitizer to how pay and health coverage may be affected by extended absences.

The trucking industry needs to be even more aware of the role drivers can potentially play in human trafficking. OnWatch offers training to help people recognize the signs that this may be occurring and what action to take in that situation: A national CSR study found that 90% of consumers want companies to operate in a way that benefits society. This is a meaningful issue that companies can do something significant about beyond raising awareness. 

Companies need to be very careful when dealing with paid sick/safety leave laws. There are overlapping local, state and federal laws that all need to be considered and are subject to the driver’s location and route.

Drivers need to be made aware of the potential risks of taking CBD products with regards to drug testing. Many CBD products have been found to contain more THC than labeled. DOT is also moving towards replacing traditional testing with the more accurate hair testing. 

When it comes to retention, it is important to be people centered. We learned how Schneider uses Facebook Live Q&As, weekly videos, recognition for safety and tenure milestones and thoughtful succession planning to keep employees at the center of their business.  

The Colorado wage order effective March 16, 2020 will require significant updates to wage and hour practices with changes such as work time including tasks that “take over one minute” and compensable time now including putting on and taking off work related gear and waiting to check in or check out.

Pay equity decisions and other new state laws prohibit asking about or using salary history in the hiring process. You may be aware of this but are your recruiters properly trained on this topic? How about your hiring managers?  

Overall this was a great experience that made me feel very prepared to help my trucking clients with their issues over the upcoming year. Now I am looking forward to NATERA 2021 in Austin, TX! If you missed out this year, be sure you check out the details for next year on NATERA’s Spring International sponsored website: