Recruiter of the Year Says Understand Drivers for Retention

Michael Zelek of Wellington Motor Freight won Recruiter of the Year at the recent National Recruiting and Retention Symposium and was asked what he does to keep a 90% retention rate for his fleet. His reply, “Understand your drivers on a personal level to keep them happy.” Easier said than done.

Any trucking operation is a flurry of activity at any given time. Load planning, changing dispatches, driver delays, breakdowns, and much more all are normal parts of trucking and it can be easy for drivers to get lost in the mix and become a number or a commodity. Add to the fact that Zelek has never turned a wheel himself makes it even more impressive that this recruiter has the success that he does. So how does he do it?

Zelek was asked that many times through the event during panel discussions and presentations and it came down to dedication of working with the drivers and getting to know them. Zelek dedicates his time to riding along with as many drivers as he can on a regular basis to get to know them and understand the challenges on the road from a driver perspective. He does his best to help the drivers get home when needed and the company is often having barbecues and celebrations to include employees in a relaxed setting. This allows him to retain good drivers and keep them

Michael Zelek-Recruiter of the Year

As a new driver this is the type of operation you are looking for as they know how to respect their drivers offering them a successful career. Many new drivers look at companies that are easy to hire on with or are local to their home base. This may be a mistake as those benefits don’t relate to a good culture, it is more convenience. Good company culture is the secret to a successful operation and that comes from each employee getting respect and dedicating themselves to creating a workplace of professionalism.

Zelek has proved that can be done in a fleet and encourages all fleet owners to work on retaining good drivers by creating a culture of respect. Wellington Motor Freight is a carrier member of the Truck Training School Association of Ontario. If you are a new person in the industry looking for a job as a professional driver then the TTSAO Carrier Group is a good place to start for a number of reasons. One, the Carrier Group Companies welcome new drivers and have proper training programs in place for student success. Second many have been successful over the years and understand the importance of good culture in the workplace. Both things that are important to a new driver and in fact all drivers. Congratulations to Michael Zelek for winning the Recruiter of the Year Award for 2021.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is a veteran in the transportation industry with over 40 years in the industry in a variety of roles from driver to fleet supervisor and more. Today he is a media entrepreneur in the industry producing a number of programs within the trucking industry. You can learn more about Bruce and his work and his trucking podcast at

Disclaimer: This article is written and based on the opinion of the author and is for general information only


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