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Covid-19: Things to Consider when Hiring New Drivers

By:EUGENE HERBERT

As the number of infections in Nigeria heads towards 14 000, workforces are bound to be affected. 

Fleet operators could potentially find themselves in a position where they have lost some of their drivers to the illness while other drivers may be temporarily laid off while they recover. 

This may require companies to hire new drivers during a fairly busy period as they make for lost time during lockdown or work under pressure to deliver essential supplies needed during COVID-19. Employers should not rush hiring new staff. Rather they need to put the same level of effort and dedication into selection as they would at any other time.

Do not make the mistake of threatening your good health and safety record or the safety of other drivers by hiring the wrong people.

Keep a close eye on changes amongst your workforce and be ready to hire or start looking for new drivers well ahead of the time.

Do not let a sudden decrease in your workforce catch you unaware. Granted, this can be difficult because the unpredictability of COVID-19 is one reason why it is so challenging.

There are a few skills that a good driver needs to have

In addition to good driving skills, they also need to be able to communicate with a client, provide customer service and have good time management skills. Many of these things can be difficult to measure in an initial verbal interview. This is why you should also spend time with them while they drive, do a pre-employment driver assessment and get references from previous employers.

The driver may be on their best behavior with a potential employer in the vehicle, but it does provide a basic indication of their driving skills, reactions to potentially dangerous situations and how they treat the vehicle. 

The pre-employment test should provide an idea of how the driver is likely to behave when you’re not around. References will give you a possible idea of the experience past employers had with the candidate.

COVID-19 has the potential to create a unique situation amongst fleet drivers. Difficult economic times may result in some drivers being retrenched in some industries while an increase in demand coupled with ill drivers may result in the need for more drivers in other industries. If you find yourself in the latter position be ready to hire the drivers that you need without compromising on your standards.

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