Staffing challenges are not new to the warehousing industry, or any industry for that matter. However, the increased need for workers during the e-commerce boom brought on by the pandemic plus the very low unemployment rate makes attracting good warehouse workers especially critical in 2022.
There is no indication that the situation is likely to change any time soon, so savvy warehouse managers should already be refining their approach to overcome the labor shortage in 2022. Working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) like Brown West Logistics could be one the best ways to improve your staffing capabilities. 3PL’s have strategies for recruiting, retaining, training, and motivating warehouse workings.
Your work staff will directly influence company culture, which can impact productivity and, therefore, your bottom line. For this reason, you have a vested interest in hiring and keeping good workers on your team to facilitate a positive warehouse environment.
Bringing in good workers starts with effective recruitment, and some warehouses may not be positioning themselves as well as they could be. A strong presence on online job-searching platforms is a must, and the application process should be seamless and user-friendly. Everyone who submits an online application should receive an email acknowledging receipt and setting expectations for next steps. Good communication throughout the recruiting process is important to ensuring a positive experience and attracting the best talent.
Warehouse work increasingly involves cutting-edge technology that might be attractive to young people. A presence at high school job fairs enhances your sector’s visibility and coordinating with the career offices of local colleges could increase the pool of attractive applicants.
Educating prospective workers about the technological skills they will gain could make warehouse work more attractive. Companies that offer workers extensive training and opportunities to learn multiple job functions might find it easier to attract talent.
Good employees leave warehouse work seeking better pay and benefits. Warehouses should recognize good workers are an investment in quality and efficiency and compensate them accordingly.
Warehouse employees often value work-life balance as much as money, and flexible schedules or accommodating a worker’s personal responsibilities could aid in retention.
Providing a safe working environment means being attentive to workers’ needs. Ensuring excellent lighting, ventilation, and a comfortable temperature, to the extent possible, will increase worker satisfaction. Keeping the premises clean and sanitary and allowing for social distancing could also encourage skilled people to consider a warehouse job at your facility. Providing ergonomic equipment prevents fatigue and reduces the possibility of injury while showing you care about employees and their wellbeing.
Giving warehouse workers a reason to do well and stay with your company makes good business sense and provides a real ROI when you consider the cost of turnover. Some companies provide financial reasons to stay, such as a retention bonus for every six months on the job. Opportunities for training and professional development, tuition assistance for relevant coursework, and perks like family passes to recreational activities also generate goodwill toward the company and can help enhance employee retention.
Partnering with a 3PL provider like Brown West Logistics means having an industry expert to look at your warehouse operations and procedures with a fresh eye to ensure all tasks are performed as efficiently as possible. In many instances, a task or procedure might have unnecessary steps. Eliminating extra steps could make it so your warehouse requires fewer employees.
Warehouses will always require people, but there are multiple opportunities for nearly any warehouse to reduce their need for labor with automation. Automating repetitive or dangerous tasks not only reduces the need for workers but helps keep your existing workers healthy, alert, and productive.
Machine learning systems could take over many decision-making processes currently performed by humans in most warehouses. Artificial Intelligence can also integrate into an existing Warehouse Management System and respond to new customer demands, predict industry trends, and optimize performance.
Developing a successful strategy to recruit, retain, and optimize warehouse workers could be a full-time job in itself. Partnering with a third-party logistics provider like Brown West Logistics could help ensure you always have the skilled staff your warehouse operations require, and technological solutions that maximize your business’s agility.