Hirschbach fully digitizes driver hiring, training

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Updated Jun 2, 2020

Editor’s note: On Wed., May 27, Jessie Burnette, chief people officer of Hirschbach, and representatives from Kottke Trucking and Halvor Lines will discuss strategies their fleets use to hire and train drivers remotely during the coronavirus outbreak at the virtual CCJ Symposium. This article provides more detail about the driver training content and learning management system that Hirschbach uses.     

Hirschbach Motor Lines has grown rapidly during the past few years and now operates more than 2,000 tractors.Hirschbach Motor Lines has grown rapidly during the past few years and now operates more than 2,000 tractors.

Hirschbach, one of the largest refrigerated truckload carriers in North America with more than 2,000 power units (CCJ Top 250, No. 65), set out to optimize the utilization of facetime with drivers in orientation. Central to accomplishing this was providing drivers with online training resources to use before, during and after live classroom instruction.

In August 2017, Hirschbach selected an online learning management system (LMS) from Luma Brighter Learning. The LMS platform comes with a collection of more than 400 learning modules, called Luma eNuggets, that cover relevant safety, compliance and orientation topics.

Driver recruits receive an email or text message with a link to Hirschbach’s orientation packet from the Luma eNugget LMS. They can also download the Hirschbach mobile app, developed by Eleos, to access training content in the LMS through a custom-branded feature called Hirschbach U.

Hirschbach had drivers complete additional modules in the classroom for orientation, but management discontinued in-person training when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March.

Jessie Burnette, chief people officer of Hirschbach, asked Luma’s instructional design and learning science experts to modify its orientation training so that drivers complete the full program online before coming to the office for scheduled road tests.

“The help and support we received from Luma has been critical to keep us moving during the COVID-19 crisis,” Burnette said.

Hirschbach has realized the following results from using the Luma eNugget LMS platform:

  • Digitized hiring: Hirschbach uses Luma’s Rapid Forms tool to streamline the hiring process and achieve significant cost savings by eliminating paperwork. As drivers complete and sign documents online the tool simplifies compliance by identifying errors and omissions in driver qualification files.
  • Personalized training: Hirschbach uses reporting tools in the LMS platform to track driver status during the hiring and orientation process. Management identifies topics that drivers may need additional help with to provide an efficient and personalized training experience.
  • Customized content: The Luma eNuggets use multi-media designed for the unique learning preferences and learning culture of truck drivers. Hirschbach customizes the modules and creates homegrown training content for use in driver safety, health and wellness, and for non-driving employees such as mechanics and office staff.

Advancing learning outcomes

By using the surveys and reporting tools in the LMS, Hirschbach is able to continuously improve its driver orientation and ongoing training programs. The reports identify what content drivers are searching for and reviewing after they go through orientation.

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“We’re able to take those learning pieces and put them back into our orientation,” Burnette said. For example, management discovered that drivers had questions about pay after the first week on the job. Hirschbach used this insight to create new training content that walks drivers through the payroll process.

“We’re learning a lot about driver needs with the technology and reporting that Luma gives us. We are able to keep creating and re-creating our orientation to make it better,” she said.

Proactively identifying the areas where drivers are struggling also strengthens the fleet’s retention efforts. “We can reach out to drivers before they get to the point of leaving us,” Burnette added.

While the company has suspended classroom training amid the COVID-19 crisis, Burnette has plans to offer drivers a more personalized orientation experience when face-to-face meetings resume.

Driver recruits who meet certain requirements may receive an Express Pass for orientation to complete the full program online. Drivers with less experience, or those who prefer a more hands-on classroom experience, could receive live training.

“We will try to accommodate everyone,” she said.

Final note: The panel will take place Wed. at 2:15 pm CST during the virtual CCJ Symposium, “Upshift: How to Find Opportunities During This Challenging Time.” The full agenda for the virtual CCJ Symposium can be found here.