Matching assets is the core business of Loadlink Technologies, the load matching platform connecting shippers, brokers and carriers so they can do business together.
Yet, just like the carriers they work with, Loadlink is facing challenges in attracting and hiring new blood in the midst of a shrinking and ageing workforce.
“Key skills on the technology side are really in high demand in the market,” says Charlotte Staats, head of HR excellence at Loadlink Technologies.
“For critical resources like developers and programmers, there are 10 openings and they can pick which one they go to,” she adds. “You have to be the best, you have to be able to market yourself being a great company.”
It’s all about matching assets. Human assets, that is.
The education connection
Since you need an audience to market yourself, Loadlink HR personnel turned to Trucking HR Canada to access wage subsidy programs that connect organizations with post-secondary institutions and students looking for meaningful job opportunities related to their field of study.
That’s how Cherian Yit, a data science student at the University of Waterloo, obtained an eight-month, full-time internship as part of his co-op education program.
“I just came across the posting and said: ‘Ah, that looks neat’ because I want to delve into the field of data analysis. So I contacted them and I sent my resume and I was selected for an interview,” says the 22-year-old.
Even if employers in the trucking and logistics sector are competing for talent, members of under-represented demographic groups – youth, women, people with disabilities – still need to be a good fit.
Individuals are interviewed “just as they would be if they were applying for a full-time job,” Staat says. “Are they going to add value, are they going to learn and grow during the term?” These are just some of the factors that Loadlink assesses when meeting program participants.
Once hired, students get support from the Loadlink onboarding program, which helps them integrate and learn the business.
Celine Polidario says she appreciated the support during her internship that eventually led her to be hired as the official social content creator for Loadlink Technologies.
“I appreciate the opportunities that Loadlink has given me,” says the 22 year-old communications graduate from the University of Toronto in Mississauga, referring particularly to marketing director Karen Campbell-Jones. “She’s very attentive and open to ideas, so that really draws me into Loadlink and to stay at Loadlink,” she says.
She had been a little exposed to the transportation industry through her mom’s work, but it was a pretty new world opening to her when she started with the program.
Now she says she can’t get on a highway without recognizing trucks and realizing how the industry is crucial to the country’s economy. In addition to drivers, many other people in numerous different positions make up the industry, the social media specialist noted.
Fresh sets of eyes
Employers do enjoy such new perspectives. “It’s fresh sometimes when you’ve been doing something for four or five years and you don’t necessarily see what’s in front of you, whereas a new set of eyes coming in can really add a different dimension to things,” Staats says.
It’s been the case with Yit and his out-of-the-box thinking with data analysis, the Loadlink HR expert says. The intern did appreciate the experience himself. “It’s very flexible in regards to if you want to make something better, you can go ahead and make it better kind of thing,” he says.
Yit adds that he also learned to deal with a chain of command more directly, as he was teamed with senior level managers. “In previous places I hadn’t,” he says.
Polidario, too, brought new dynamics to the company’s social media communications.
For instance, Polidario implemented a new way to schedule content postings to make them more efficient on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or the corporate website.
She’s also the one behind the idea of “music Friday”, where Loadlink customers make special requests of their favorite road songs and one gets picked and posted on the company’s Facebook page so everyone can enjoy it. “I think we created something fun,” Polidario says.
Rosanna Cammisuli, payroll and benefits administrator at Loadlink Technologies, says the company has lived many positive recruitment experiences through the Trucking HR initiatives, and they intend to continue.
“It’s a great initiative,” Staats concurs, referring to the available financial support.