Newly hired drivers going to a company’s headquarters or terminal to begin work normally arrive by bus, drive their own car or have a friend or loved one deliver them. But, these are not normal times, as the coronavirus outbreak has turned the trucking industry and society as a whole upside down. Personal travel has been especially hard hit by COVID_19 with bus, train, and airline schedules in tatters.
So Hirschbach, the privately-owned, 85-year-old carrier headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, is not taking just normal steps when it comes to getting new recruits started with the company.
This past week some new drivers have been arriving in Dubuque aboard the company’s private jet. Hirschbach has been dispatching the plane on regular runs to several airports just about each day to pick up drivers and deliver them to begin work.
Jessie Burnette is chief people officer at Hirschbach and said the company gives new hires the option of boarding the company jet or getting a rental car for their trips. She said it’s just one of the things Hirchbach is doing these days to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and also reduce the risk of exposure for employees.
Burnette said Hirschbach welcomes between 35 and 40 drivers per week. The company has a total of about 1,600 drivers.
But it’s not just about getting new drivers on board, according to Burnette. She said of equal importance is taking care of current ones and other company employees and their families too.
The company has created a 24/7 hotline drivers and their families can call if they have questions or concerns about COVID-19. Burnette said it gets three or four calls a day, which are fielded by members of Hirschbach’s human resources staff.
“We take seriously the need to take care of all our people,” said Burnette.
Hirschbach primarily hauls food, mostly beef, from Denver to the East Coast excluding New York City. It also has dedicated and yard management services.
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