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4 Managerial Tactics That Boost Employee Satisfaction and Retention in the Warehouse

Written by Elias Schoelmann
May 2, 2019

Engaging employees with meaningful, caring interactions and positive reinforcement can transform your workplace for the better.

Engaging employees with meaningful, caring interactions and positive reinforcement can transform your workplace for the better.

With supply chain managers facing consistent challenges with finding and retaining talent for the warehouse, identifying new ways to keep employees happy and productive is more important than ever. Warehousing giants like Amazon and Walmart make the recruitment process even more challenging since they are able to attract employees with employee programs and cutting-edge technology.

So how do you stand out so you can recruit and keep the workers you need?

By focusing on employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction translates to better warehouse productivity, tenure and quality of work, which trickles all the way down to your bottom line.

Statistics show that how employees are managed—not their salary—is the primary determinant of their job satisfaction. Therefore, using the right managerial tactics can be the most impactful and cost-effective way to boost employee retention and morale without having to invest significant monetary resources into new initiatives.

For example, here are four small tactics you can use that will make a big difference with your staff:

1. Reward Good Work

When employees put in an honest effort for the company or go the extra mile to ensure the day’s goals are met, they need to know somebody recognizes and cares about their effort. Giving credit where it’s due and rewarding hard work with perks are great ways to improve employee happiness. Even a verbal confirmation of a job well done can go a long way.

Employees depend on managers to communicate the value they bring to the company. Take the time to compliment workers for something they did well and thank them when they make an extra effort. When your workers feel valued and appreciated by the company, they become incentivized to take their job seriously.

You can also create perks employees can work toward to show them that high-quality work is rewarded. Set goals for employees to reach and reward goals met with movie or concert tickets, gift cards or bonuses.

2. Show Them You Care

In addition to showing employees you value their work, you also want them to know you care about their problems. When employees get the feeling you only value them as worker bees and not as human beings, there’s little incentive for them to stick around or meet performance expectations, which means they may go looking for a company that provides more than just a living wage.

Certain incentives also show employees that you and the company care about their well-being. Providing healthcare benefits to workers who stay for more than 3 months goes a long, long way. Additional incentives, such as providing a gym or massage voucher or bringing in healthy snacks shows employees you care about their health and you recognize the stress that comes with their labor.

Besides their health, commuting can also be a source of stress for your employees. Some employees may travel long distances of an hour or more each way to reach their job. Being understanding when employees are late can reduce their burden. At the same time, you provide incentives for being on time by rewarding workers who maintain the best attendance rate.

3. Don’t Micromanage

Research shows that micromanagement is what employees dread the most. It may seem counterintuitive to managers, but employees actually perform better with less pressure and oversight. Lending your workers the freedom to manage their time and accomplish tasks without someone looking over their shoulder boosts motivation and builds trust.

If you’re rewarding good work, you’re providing the incentive for employees to work efficiently, so you won’t have to oversee as many tasks to make sure work is getting done. This also frees up more of your time so you can focus on more meaningful tasks.

4. Equip Them with the Right Technology

Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than having to do a job with technology that makes completing each task harder than it needs to be. In a competitive labor market, like what we are all experiencing in the supply chain, employees are quick to recognize when a competitor has technology that makes their job easier, safer and more fulfilling.

This doesn’t mean you have to arm your team with the newest, most expensive technology out there. But providing software and hardware that makes it easier and faster for your staff to complete daily tasks will give you give your operation a significant advantage, especially when compared to other operations that are using outdated technology—or no technology at all.

Having the right tools not only makes their job easier, but also boosts their productivity and morale. The difference can drive positive benefits downstream as well. For example, mobile barcoding software that automates inventory data collection and transactions helps eliminate tedious manual tasks and human error, freeing your employees to accomplish tasks that drive higher productivity and throughput.

Managing Happier Workers

The warehouse is a critical link in the supply chain, and better employee satisfaction and retention translate to greater success for the company. Creating a more positive work environment to retain your employees takes an effort, but it’s undoubtedly a double win. Workers aren’t just interested in a raise, but an environment where they feel respected, appreciated, assisted and rewarded. Doing the little things that show you care and providing them with equipment that streamlines their performance are tactics that go a long way in making your employees happy.

READ MORE: Addressing Talent Acquisition in the Supply Chain »

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