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4 Best Practices for Long-Term Truckstop Hiring Success

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Human Resources


Truckstops and travel plaza facilities create unique challenges for those who manage them. Unlike many businesses, most truckstops and travel plazas are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and managers must work hard to keep the facility adequately staffed at all times.

A location’s team players are the first and last line of contact for customers in a truckstop and travel plaza, so hiring and training the right team players can significantly affect the profitability of the business. With proper orientation and training, operators can ensure from the very beginning that their team players will succeed.

Here are four tips for long-term hiring success.

Define Success: Determine in advance what you expect from each position and define what success in the position looks like at certain intervals. The job description may be one of the most critical documents in a business, because it identifies the specific responsibilities of the job, defines the skills and qualifications needed to perform the task and provides a guide for performance. NATSO’s Truckstop and Travel Plaza New Hire Orientation and Training Guidebook provides 11 sample job descriptions. (Purchase a Truckstop and Travel Plaza New Hire Orientation and Training Guidebook here.)

Look Beyond Immediate Skills: Qualifications count, but don’t forget to look at how the candidate will fit within your company’s culture. To find the employees that will fit the best, asses your culture, or if you want to change your culture, the culture you’re looking to foster. Creating a culture isn’t always easy. During one of NATSO’s operational exchange conference calls a few years back, NATSO members joined together to share their insights on how they are building and strengthening their corporate culture. Ideas included promoting an enjoyable team environment, focusing on employees and having all employees spend time in the field.

Consider a Behavioral Interview: Present scenarios that may arise in your operation and have candidates explain how they’ve worked through certain situations like that in the past. The applicant’s answers will give you clues into how he or she likes to work. Ericka Schapekahm, director of human resources and special projects for Coffee Cup Fuel Stops, shared some of her favorite interview questions in a Stop Watch article. They include, “What do you think your peers expect from you in your job? What do you expect from a supervisor or an owner when you work for them?” 

Dig Into Personality: Think through the type of people you need in certain positions and create a list of adjectives to describe the perfect employee. Those adjectives can help you identify the personality traits that are needed in each position. Once the person is hired, employers can focus on training. Coffee Cup Fuel Stops has de­veloped an in-depth training pro­gram, and new hires can spend a month with a peer trainer. Schapekahm shared more about training with Stop Watch magazine.

// NATSO's Truckstop and Travel Plaza New Hire Orientation and Training Guidebook is designed to help operators maximize the human resources they need to run their travel plazas successfully. Purchase a Truckstop and Travel Plaza New Hire Orientation and Training Guidebook here.

Photo credit: Brittany Palmer/NATSO at Millers Wellington in Tremonton, UT.

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.