No matter what industry, people are the greatest resource of any business. However, if your employees are dissatisfied with their work and environment, it’s almost certain you will see a downturn in productivity and increased costs related to turnover.
Although a recent report indicated warehousing operations will experience significant technological changes during the next five years — almost 70 percent of warehouses have plans to automate one or more processes in the next five years — now is the time to take a closer look at your personnel management techniques and make changes to keep your employees happy and productive. There will always be a need for qualified, productive employees to manage even automated processes, and as one expert argues, warehousing is essentially a customer service function. When you do not have the right people to provide that service, you will not experience significant growth.
So, how do you keep your warehouse employees happy and productive?
Implement Equipment to Improve Processes
A significant portion of employee satisfaction stems from giving your people the tools and equipment necessary to do their jobs — and keeping that equipment in good working order. Old computers, lifts that perpetually break down, and scales that require significant amounts of lifting and increase the likelihood of injury are all examples of equipment issues that can cause employee unhappiness. To ensure your employees can do their jobs, keep equipment in good condition, and look for tools and technology that will make it easier to get the work done. For instance, installing industrial weighing equipment can make it easier for staff to weigh materials without injury.
Consider the Physical Environment
No one wants to work in an environment that is dark, dirty or too warm or cold. Take steps to make the working environment as pleasant as it is practical; for example, add climate-control features to keep employees warm or cool. Studies show music helps increase productivity, so play music or allow employees to listen to their own music while working. Use fatigue mats in areas where people stand for long periods. Do everything you can to keep the warehouse a nice place to work.
A survey released in September 2013 revealed that job rewards are the top driver of employee engagement. What that means for you as a warehouse manager is that you need to offer incentives to keep your employees content. This may mean a bonus tied to error reduction or the number of orders filled or days accident free. Consider the benchmarks your company is trying to meet and tie employee performance rewards, such as profit sharing, to those goals. You’ll both improve overall performance and satisfy your workers.
It’s generally unreasonable to install new people into warehouse roles and expect them to immediately meet your productivity expectations. Companies that have invested in employee training are among the highest performers, so implement thorough training and education programs to help your employees understand your expectations and processes. Employees who feel that their employers are invested in their success and have given them to tools they need to meet expectations are almost always more satisfied and productive than those who don’t.
Keeping your employees happy and engaged in their work will help improve productivity, and reduce the costs and inconveniences of turnover. Pay attention to your warehouse workers’ satisfaction levels and you’ll be well suited to face future industry challenges.
Image of warehouse by photoraidz from freedigitalphotos.net