The next generation of fleet managers

By Christopher Lyon, NTEA Director of Fleet Relations

This article was published in the December 2016 edition of NTEA News.

The work truck industry, like many others, is increasing its focus on strategies for recruiting, training and retaining millennials, which represent the majority of the workforce. Companies are experiencing generational gaps between how tasks have always been accomplished and new tactics for today. A key to maintaining successful business and customer relationships is developing strategies for a diverse employee base.

According to experts, by 2020, millennials will compose half of the global workforce. This is an important consideration when communicating with your fleet customers as organizations continue to be influenced by this next generation of professionals.

Digital expectations
As technology evolves, so do methods of communication. More and more digital platforms are being championed by the younger workforce, enabling them to juggle multiple projects and engage in simultaneous conversations. The face-to-face element of business is shifting to the digital atmosphere as well, with webinars, video calls and text messaging as prevalent methods. It’s important to include these communication channels as they gain more market share of the way people interact.

This isn’t to say in-person interaction is extinct — but you may need to adjust the delivery method. In speaking with younger fleet professionals (and in identifying as one), I have found new product information is often better absorbed digitally. Catalogs, paper brochures and other literature often become clutter and are ultimately thrown away. Consider offering more online resources, which can be updated as needed and won’t accidently be pushed off of a fleet professional’s desk. Take the time to evaluate how you are communicating with fleet customers.

Mixing new and old
Although digital technology has consumed much of the communication sector, there are many long-held practices core to the vocational truck business. It’s critical to provide complete and accurate information, keep commitments and make sure you understand customer concerns. No computer can replace this business element. Finding the right balance and communication channels will help ensure continued partnerships to bridge the gap between established generations and new groups entering the workforce.

Helpful resources
As these topics continue to gain traction within the industry, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and strategies. Educational offerings at The Work Truck Show® 2017, scheduled March 14–17 at the Indiana Convention Center, address recruitment and retention for the next generation. Complete event details available at