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Inside NFI: How to empower your drivers through recruitment and career support

March 21, 2024

As we explore trucking and driver empowerment, it’s essential to highlight the individuals driving progress forward. In this first segment of a three-part series with NFI, a New Jersey-based supply chain solutions provider, and a valued WEX customer, we learn about their driver support initiatives and recruitment strategies. 

In an interview with NFI’s Recruitment Marketing Team, we hear straight from change-makers like Kaitlyn Cambria, Recruitment Marketing Manager, and Angela Thomas, Recruitment Marketing Supervisor, and Matthew Procida and Kim Vasconez, Recruitment Marketing Coordinators, on the company’s innovative strategies for recruitment and their holistic initiatives to support drivers throughout their careers.

A culture of care and family values

At the core of NFI’s operations lies a culture deeply rooted in the value of creating a family in the workplace and a commitment to creating best-in-class logistics solutions. Since 1932, NFI has been owned and operated by the Brown family, with its third and fourth generations of leadership now carrying on the hard work and perseverance on which the company was founded. As NFI’s Recruitment Marketing Team underscored, this familial tradition permeates the company’s core values, prioritizing customer focus, teamwork, social responsibility, integrity, and safety.

Recruitment redefined: Integrating social media and tradition

When it comes to recruitment, NFI uses a dynamic blend of traditional methods and social media tactics. While conventional job postings continue to be a cornerstone for recruitment, NFI recognizes the power of social media in amplifying its brand. 

As Kaitlyn points out, they’ve seen a mix of approaches that work. “Direct recruitment through traditional job boards is the forefront of where we get traffic,  but coupling that with branding, whether organic branding through social media or paid geofencing display ads, drives home what you’re saying in your job postings.”

So for NFI, while it seems that the tried and true methods remain in place, using social media and advertising to amplify the brand’s values and company culture enhances the effectiveness of the overall marketing strategy. It’s more than just posting job listings; it’s about showcasing the company’s values and culture. Ideally, this resonates with potential candidates who may not be aware of job opportunities in the trucking industry. 

Angela highlights the significance of leveraging platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram to not only advertise job openings but also share the stories and experiences of NFI’s diverse workforce. “The Recruitment Marketing Team is the perfect representation of NFI. With our diverse backgrounds, ages, and experiences, we are able to let the best of ourselves shine through while creating relatable content. Our platforms highlight the achievements of our drivers, and we let their stories speak for themselves. This is how highly we value our workforce, truckers, and future truckers. They are all able to see themselves on our platforms and content.”

The recruitment team not only prioritizes reaching younger audiences but also understands the value of resonating with younger people on a personal level. While incorporating social media trends and entertainment – like the seatbelt hack video they produced that went viral –  into their recruitment efforts, they’ve discovered that authentic, personal content tends to yield better results. As Kim has stated, “Recognizing the diverse age ranges among our platforms provides us the opportunity to ensure our content resonates effectively. Understanding that a significant portion of our audience consists of younger individuals enables us to adjust our messaging accordingly, providing the delivery of educational and motivational elements for success for those entering the transportation industry.”

In recognizing the need to attract individuals who may lack professional driving experience but are eager to start their trucker journey, they make sure to highlight NFI’s apprenticeship programs. These programs offer a gateway for aspiring drivers to enter the industry, providing them with the necessary support and guidance to thrive in the field.

Supporting NFI drivers beyond recruitment through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

At the heart of NFI’s recruitment effort is a commitment to diversity and inclusion, backed by their network of eight Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs serve to support employees throughout their journey at NFI, spanning past recruitment.

Employees can find a community and support network within the organization based on factors such as race, gender, military involvement, and mental health support. NFI’s “Evolve” ERG focuses on mental, physical, and financial well-being, giving employees the space to work on their personal growth, both mentally and physically, and learning essential life skills such as financial literacy and retirement preparation. Other ERGs like PROUD, ASIAN, HOLA, WIN, VET, YP, and BOLD elevate the voices of NFI’s diverse groups, including our LGBTQ+, Asian, Hispanic, Women, Military Veterans, Young Professionals, and African American employees. These ERGs are highlighted on NFI’s Diversity & Inclusion page and serve to reinforce inclusivity, empathy, and solidarity within the company, ensuring that every employee, regardless of background, feels valued and supported.

Recognizing milestones and achievements

Recognition is a top priority at NFI, where drivers’ accomplishments are celebrated with utmost pride. From the “Million Mile Drivers” program honoring those with at least 1 million safe miles with NFI to the “Haul of Fame” recognizing 20 years or 2 million safe miles with NFI, they ensure drivers feel appreciated and acknowledged. These programs not only commend the hard work and dedication of NFI drivers but also incentivize good driving behavior and cultivate a sense of camaraderie and pride within the NFI community.

These stories and many more celebrations serve as testimonials to NFI’s work culture and the opportunities for growth and recognition within the company. On social media, the recruitment marketing team shares these success stories to attract potential candidates and promote the company by letting the stories speak for themselves.

Celebrating women in trucking through community and empowerment 

As we near the end of Women’s History Month, it’s a great time to recognize the invaluable contributions of female truckers. NFI made a concerted effort to tap into female truckers and empower them through tailored resources specific to their experience. In 2018, NFI launched the SheDrives NFI initiative. From mentorship programs to inclusive policies to postpartum support, NFI ensures that women truckers feel valued and respected in their roles. The SheDrives NFI program expands across the U.S. and gives women drivers a community both online and in-person to connect, share their stories and struggles, and, most importantly, a sense of belonging in a male-dominated industry. NFI also highlighted their women truckers and professionals on their social media accounts, celebrating their accomplishments and stories with others.

A testament to the hard work of the recruitment marketing team at NFI

Behind the scenes, the recruitment marketing team at NFI has worked with passion and commitment to spearhead new ways of showcasing the NFI brand externally for the company. Through innovative campaigns and targeted messaging, the team has amplified NFI’s brand, attracted top talent, and given a voice to their dedicated slate of drivers. The success of these campaigns is not just measured by “going viral”; it’s also about creating quality content that resonates. As Matt said, “[The team] tries to focus on the person and not the product. Our goal is to come from a place of honest intent and care for who we decide to build content around. I think this has led to our successes on social media as well as building relationships with our drivers and techs. It also helps with our creative freedom since we have less pressure to pump out inorganic and forced content”.

Their creativity has been instrumental in driving NFI’s success in recruitment and driver retention efforts. NFI exemplifies that recruitment is more than simple job filling – it’s about nurturing relationships and supporting individuals throughout their journey on the road. 

When we think about how NFI recruits drivers and what it means for the trucking industry, one thing that stands out is their recognition of a need to attract the next generation of truckers. And this goes hand in hand with supporting and appreciating the drivers that came before them – who are the foundation of the industry. As we look ahead, let’s focus on uplifting truckers and keep our roads running smoothly. NFI’s marketing recruitment team proves that it’s not just about driving trucks; it’s about driving success together.

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