Trucking hasn’t always had a strong track record for inclusivity, but the industry is shifting gears to ensure folks from all walks of life feel valued and included.
What’s happening: A growing drive to make trucking a more welcoming and inclusive industry is helping companies attract and retain the talent to keep goods moving better.
Why it matters: It’s the right thing to do, but there’s also a strong business case for inclusion. American Trucking Associations estimates the industry is short 80,000 professional drivers now, and could be 160,000 short by 2030.
The bottom line: We’re always looking for best practices to share with the shippers we serve and the people who drive the success of U.S. Xpress. We’re working together to make sure everyone feels welcome on this journey.
It’s no secret that goods don’t move without professional drivers and logistics experts to make it happen. A growing drive to make trucking a more welcoming and inclusive industry is helping companies attract and retain that talent.
U.S. Xpress Chief People Officer Amanda Thompson recently talked with Heavy Duty Trucking about our company’s focus on inclusion, equity, and diversity and how it’s helping us build the future of our industry.
“We have got huge growth goals within U.S. Xpress, and because of those growth goals, we know that we can’t be successful without a very diverse group of people,” Thompson told the magazine.
From Employee Resource Groups that provide supportive communities for colleagues from every walk of life, to a team dedicated to bilingual support for drivers who speak English as a second language, U.S. Xpress is moving goods better by making our industry a destination for people who might never have considered a career in trucking.
American Trucking Associations estimates the industry is short 80,000 professional drivers now, and could be 160,000 short by 2030. The need for more professional drivers makes a strong business case for inclusion and diversity, but it’s also just the right thing to do, U.S. Xpress CEO Eric Fuller wrote in an opinion piece for FreightWaves in 2021.
“Just saying and doing the right thing yourself will not fix the problem,” Fuller wrote. “We must all make change and challenge each other to do the same. We must speak up and take action to change our industry.”
Building an inclusive culture is a long-term mission, and knowing where to start can be daunting. Here are three key steps to take on the road to more inclusive trucking:
Employee Resource Groups
These groups, led by employee volunteers, create space for employees who share common interests and backgrounds to connect with each other, educate their colleagues and communities, and encourage an environment where they can do their best work as their whole selves. These groups are also great places for allies to show support and work to connect communities that might otherwise never cross paths. At U.S. Xpress, our ERGs include a Multicultural group, a Women in the Workplace group, a Pride group that supports the LGBTQ+ community, and a Military Veterans group.
Support for drivers who speak English as a second language
While English proficiency is an important requirement for professional drivers, there are times when the support of a bilingual voice can make all the difference for drivers when they need help from their operations team. The Variant Communities that support our OTR fleet include communication in Spanish for drivers who speak English as a second language. Bilingual drivers are important members of the Variant team, and ensuring they feel welcome and supported makes our company a better place for everyone.
An Inclusion & Diversity Council
A council of 14 people from across U.S. Xpress represents interests and perspectives from a wide variety of groups. They work closely with our company’s senior leadership team on inclusion and diversity efforts, bringing voices to the table from across the spectrum of experiences our company represents. During the application period for selection of the most recent council, nearly 100 people applied for the 14 slots. That created a real challenge when it came to choosing members of this important group, but it was a great problem to have when your goal is building an inclusive business where employees are engaged at every level.
Our efforts are always evolving, and when it comes to inclusion and diversity, our industry learns every day from our customers. We’re always looking for best practices to share with the shippers we serve and the people who drive the success of U.S. Xpress. Tell us how you help your business thrive through efforts to make every employee feel included and valued. Email VP of Communications Brad Carmony at email@example.com to share your own inclusion story, and let’s work together to make sure everyone feels welcome on this journey.