How Retaining Logistics & Warehouses Workforce Talent During COVID?


Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult to find manufacturing skills last year. The tendency toward onshoring in the United States created a slew of manufacturing jobs that were difficult to fill.

While it may be simpler to acquire the proper people today than it was pre-COVID-19, warehouses still face the difficulty of retaining top personnel when business picks up and there are more workers to choose from. It’s crucial to remember that employees don’t simply get older; they also get younger. 

Don’t forget to look at recruits and make sure you’re catering to the next generation of warehouse workers when you begin staffing. What is important to these aspiring employees? It’s safety first in the post-COVID-19 world, and that doesn’t simply mean having access to hand sanitizer. 

With that in mind, here’s how you can attract and retain warehouse workforce talent.

Worker Retention Issues in Fulfillment Warehouses

With the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are facing new hurdles in attracting, hiring, and retaining top employees. Among the problems are: 

  • A large number of colleagues are hesitant to work in a warehouse setting for fear of being infected with the virus, prompting some to abandon the field (at least for now).
  • Parents of school-aged children who work in warehouses encounter a slew of childcare and online schooling challenges, forcing them to stay at home as caregivers.
  • Some workers may have deterred from entering or returning to the warehouse because of stimulus funds and hefty unemployment benefits.

This isn’t to imply that the retention environment before COVID-19 was perfect. The economy was strong and unemployment was low prior to the epidemic. This resulted in a wage war between corporations competing to hire and keep quality warehouse workers.

Companies were routinely providing growing hourly compensation to recruit new employees, leaving competitors to do the same for new hires and match such offers to keep existing staff.

How to Attract and Retain Workforce Talent in Warehouse

Companies in the supply chain must play a role in attracting a more skilled workforce to the business. A technique to attract and retain new talent in the supply chain has been uncovered by Gartner, a major research firm. 

Starting the personnel pipeline sooner by allowing internships to gain experience, fostering a culture of mentorship, adopting career development plans, and providing access to cross-functional programs are all part of this strategy. Here are some strategies to follow:

Focus Solely on the Health and Safety

During the COVID-19 era, warehouse teams have become frontline employees that are put in danger on a daily basis. It’s critical to both acknowledge and address this fact with safeguards on the warehouse floor and in human resources. While working in crowded, high-demand situations, warehouse job candidates in 2021 will be searching for great healthcare packages, ample sick leave, and job security in the event of illness.

Choosing newer, lighter wearable technology can alleviate previous ergonomic barriers. Also, make sure that standard break hours are followed. With increasing delivery throughput and an increase in e-commerce and online orders, workers will appreciate the opportunity to rest and recharge after long shifts.

Adapting to Innovative and Intuitive Technology

Understand that when a younger, Gen Z worker joins your organization, you’ll get the best performance out of them if you can match their technological ability. Heavy tools will not only slow down your rising workforce physically; their old technology will not work with the software that younger people are used to using on a daily basis.

New technology is being introduced into warehouses by a younger workforce. The industry is moving away from older Windows CE systems and toward modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) and warehouse management systems (WMS) that use wearable technology and automation.

Long-term, warehouses that provide new technology that allows workers to increase production while also making their lives simpler will triumph. This new generation of supply-chain workers prefers familiar technology, such as the PC that doubles as a phone in their pockets. 

There’s a fine line between what’s innovative and what’s too difficult for teams to adjust to, and these new hires will be quick to dismiss cumbersome and difficult-to-learn technology.

Upward Mobility and Growth

Workers in warehouses are the lifeblood of every business, yet they aren’t usually represented as such. It’s critical to go above and beyond to make them feel significant on par with other departments. Employees on the warehouse floor should have the same sense of worth and recognition as those in finance or marketing.

Keep in mind that many warehouse employees desire access to training and skill-improvement programs. Young employees at the outset of their careers are more likely to stay with a firm long term if they have a well-defined career path and tangible chances for leadership within the organization, resulting in a better approach to invest in your people.

Other useful practices include:

  • Involve employees in important choices. Allow employees to participate in the development of new safety protocols, for example. This promotes participation and the feeling that everyone is on the same team.
  • Make plans for high-performing employees’ professional development. Such strategies demonstrate to employees that the firm sees them as a vital part of its future, which can boost employee loyalty and build a sense of belonging.
  • Check-in with your coworkers. Don’t wait until an employee leaves the building to discover that he or she is dissatisfied. Check-in with staff on a frequent basis to spot concerns before they become a problem.

Wrapping it Up :

Even if all of the above practices are followed, you may discover that recruiting and retaining warehouse workers is diverting too much of your attention away from your primary company. Therefore, you can outsource your fulfillment warehouse operations to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider if this is the case.

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