By Jean-Claude Fortin, J.E. Fortin
National Trucking Week (Sept 4-10) is upon us. Now, more than ever, our sector needs to celebrate our workforce. As Canada grapples with labour shortages in all sectors across the country, we as leaders of our industry need to continue to take the opportunity to remind our employees they have always been –and will continue to be – our most important resource.
There are many ways to show your appreciation to the amazing women and men who drive our industry – and not just this week with BBQs and social events, which are common during Trucking Week – but also by showing a commitment to making sincere long-term investments in them.
I would encourage all companies to work with Trucking HR Canada to learn what new approaches and programs are being used by some of the best fleets in Canada, and the measures they have implemented to earn their Top Fleet status so you can achieve this standard as well.
As owners and leaders of our industry, we also have another responsibility to think about during National Trucking Week— ensuring political leaders understand the needs and importance of our sector.
The most recent report on the political process in Canada by the Samara Centre for Democracy found that rates of all forms of contact between MPs and Canadians have decreased substantially since the group’s last report. One of the more interesting facts from the report is that about 30% of Canadians contacted their MPs, while only 11% of Canadians reported to being contacted in person by their MP. Other forms of less personal contact were much higher between MPs and their constituents, but that personal one-to-one contact – where faces can be put to corporate names and logos on the side of a trailer and where relationships and trust can be formed – is very low compared to these other forms of non-verbal communication.
With the number of critical issues facing our industry, this void in personal interaction is an opportunity that our sector must embrace now. We must tell the stories of our companies – and our people – to our MPs and demand action where it’s required. We must manage the relationships with our MPs like we manage our relationships with our customers or suppliers. Would you skip an entire year without having a sit-down or phone conversation with your largest customer? Why are you meeting at least twice a year with those whose decisions arguably have the largest impact on your operational costs and productivity.
As executives in our industry, we must take the initiative and visit our political representatives to truly impress on them our industry’s most critical positions and concerns. It’s as simple as picking up the phone or scheduling a cup of coffee with your MP. To assist with your meeting, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has prepared an information package for you.
Let’s get out there and ensure every MP in Ottawa – regardless of political stripe – truly understands the industry issues that affect the future of our people and their constituents. Afterall, they’re one in the same.