The innovations in customer service benefit Celadon financially, but they also have given the company an edge in recruiting and retaining a younger generation of workers. With the logistics industry growing at 22 percent annually, attracting top talent from within and beyond the supply chain can be a challenge for trucking, which often lacks the sizzle of other careers.
Celadon has not hired an outsider to fill a management position since 2012, when Howard joined. Since then, all managers have grown from within. Celadon trains its future leaders on the floor every day. Senior-level analysts help mentor and train associates during daily “checkout” meetings. Celadon’s directors of customer service are in charge of multiple groups.
Celadon has formal two-week training for new hires. The company is in the process of creating an on-demand training program called CELAcademy for people in customer service and other departments to sharpen their skills and accelerate advancement opportunities.
From January 2014 to 2015, Celadon has promoted 26 people on its career ladder, retained 75 percent of its interns with full-time or part-time positions and had a 30 percent improvement in staff with more than one year of experience within the department.
“You have to reflect back and be really proud of what has been accomplished,” Will says.
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About the award
Commercial Carrier Journal’s editors recognize innovators throughout the year and select one for special recognition as Innovator of the Year. Innovators considered for the current award were those recognized in the magazine in 2014.
Innovation in any aspect of the operation is eligible for recognition. To qualify, the carrier must operate at least 10 power units in Classes 3-8 and maintain a satisfactory safety rating, if rated. Selection of innovators for recognition is at the sole discretion of CCJ’s editors.
This year’s award was announced and presented at the CCJ Innovators Summit, a networking event for current and previously recognized innovators held Feb. 4-6 at the Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys. Representatives of innovative trucking operations updated one another on their initiatives.
The CCJ Innovators program is sponsored by Freightliner Trucks, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, PeopleNet and Shell Lubricants. For more information on the program and links to previously recognized innovators or to fill out the online nomination form, go to www.ccjinnovators.com or contact Jeff Crissey, CCJ editor, at 800-633-5953.