The steady flow of inventory in and out of a warehouse plays a big role in customer satisfaction. Ensuring timely deliveries of undamaged product requires well-trained staff.
But in today’s climate of perpetual labor shortfalls, what are the best strategies for hiring and training workers in the supply chain?
The importance of finding and training top warehouse workers can’t be understated. The key to building a skilled and motivated workforce is to create an onboarding plan that sets up new hires for success before they ever walk through the door.
Here are effective tips for managers looking to create successful outcomes when hiring new warehouse workers:
Find the Right People
First, you must find the right warehouse workers for your business. Potential hires should either have the necessary skills for the job or be eager to learn so your warehouse can thrive.
To find the right warehouse staff:
- Clearly define the skills and qualifications needed for the job.
- Use the right warehouse recruiting methods to find qualified candidates.
- Conduct thorough interviews and background checks.
For recruiting, try a mix of these proven strategies:
- Job postings on online reputable job boards, such as Indeed or LinkedIn, can be a great way to reach a wide pool of potential candidates. Include detailed information about the job, including required responsibilities and qualifications.
- Employee referrals: Encourage current employees to refer friends and family members. Make sure to offer incentives for successful referrals, such as bonuses or gift cards.
- Recruitment agencies can help you find qualified candidates for your warehouse. They have access to a wide pool of potential employees and can help screen and interview them to find the best fit for your business.
READ MORE: 4 Strategies for Finding the Best Warehouse Employees »
Provide Comprehensive On-the-Job Training
The supply chain needs skilled labor. Warehouse employees need to operate heavy machinery, process complicated orders, and work with a variety of technology systems.
Accenture, a management consulting firm, found U.S. industries are suffering from a lack of qualified applicants. Skilled laborers are getting harder to find. On-the-job training is needed.
Since companies can’t afford to spend long periods of time getting new people up to speed, a quick and productive training program is the goal.
Once your warehouse determines which goals are necessary for successful training, formalize a plan for new employees to achieve those results. An inventory training program should be performed with a schedule and a series of checkpoints.
Types of warehouse training may include:
- Safety training: Safety is of the utmost importance in a warehouse environment. Make sure your workers are trained on proper safety procedures, such as how to handle heavy equipment and how to properly use personal protective equipment.
- Job-specific training: Provide your workers with the training they need to perform their specific job duties, such as how to use mobile inventory management software or how to operate forklifts.
- Hands-on training: On-the-job training and supervised practice help your workers learn the ropes. Pair new workers with experienced mentors to help them grasp the ins and outs of the warehouse.
Supply & Demand Chain Executive stated that almost all tasks can be measured provided the company has the right tools. A data-capturing system logs individual employee performance, which can then be compared to training goals and KPIs.
Measure new hire performance and readjust training as needed.
Share Training Performance with Employees
If companies do not set benchmarks, employees will. People want to see the results of their efforts. When a training process doesn’t provide feedback, workers start defining their own success.
Showing new hires how their performance is improving or giving them specific goals to focus on encourages improvement and ensures they are progressing according to the business’s schedule.
Inbound Logistics reminded employers every employee learns at different speeds, so be certain to acquire a flexible system that can accommodate individual needs.
Leverage Intuitive Mobile Technologies
Traditional training programs are often lengthy, leading to onboarding periods of 4-8 weeks or more. For warehouses using archaic inventory handling processes, like pen and paper tickets, spreadsheets, or obsolete barcode software, mistakes are also common.
Technologies created with particular systems in mind facilitate efficient training. No time has to be wasted adapting technology. The tools are ready for employee success.
For example, equipping workers with mobile hardware and apps can reduce training requirements significantly—up to 95%. Instead of having to learn complex tasks and sequences, mobile inventory software comes with built-in best practices that make learning the job fast and simple.
In warehouse terms, it’s much easier for a new employee to learn how to point-and-scan with a mobile barcoding device than to learn how to cycle count a bin by hand.
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Implementing Ongoing Training and Development Programs
Training must be periodically reevaluated to utilize existing talents and promote skill development.
The Society for Human Resource Management suggests conducting skill inventories of warehouse crews. By tracking current worker performance, managers can analyze what qualities lead to greater success or which skills touted during the hiring process have not found use on the floor.
Analyzing daily routines also highlights holes in the training process. If employees all seem to have the same process blind spot, that indicates the need for change in training, job duties, or both.
Maintain a schedule of regular trainings for your warehouse teams. This way, processes can be continuously validated, corrected, and improved.
ALSO READ: Tips for Increasing Employee Buy-in for Mobile Software »
Tips on Attracting Young Talent in the Supply Chain
Attracting young talent in the supply chain is essential. As the supply chain industry continues to evolve, it’s crucial to understand what attracts younger people to jobs in the warehouse.
Here are a few tips on how to attract young talent to your supply chain team:
- Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Young professionals are looking for more than just a paycheck. They want to work for a company that values and invests in their well-being.
- Highlight Opportunities for Career Development: Younger workers want opportunities to grow and advance in their careers. Otherwise, they may not be interested.
- Emphasize the Supply Chain’s Impact on Society: Supply chains play a critical role in today’s world. Emphasizing its impact on business and society can help attract young talent looking to make a meaningful difference.
- Foster a Culture of Innovation and Creativity: Millennials and Gen Z seek an environment that encourages innovation and creativity, along with the ability to provide meaningful contributions to these areas.
- Leverage Technology: Younger generations are more tech-savvy than ever. They prioritize jobs using the latest technology, especially when it comes to mobile warehouse solutions.
KEEP READING: More tips for finding and hiring Millennials »
The Benefits of Investing in the Right Warehouse Workers
Taking the time and effort to properly invest in finding and training top warehouse workers can have a noticeable impact on your business. Attracting the best and brightest employees to your workforce requires strategic staff acquisition and recruitment.
Once hired, a comprehensive training plan will ensure quality, efficiency, and accuracy in your warehouse operations. Having the right mobile technology in place is crucial to get new staff up to full productivity as quickly as possible.
And if you’re looking to expand your potential hiring pool to younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z, knowing what they value in the workplace is vital to ensuring job satisfaction and employee retention.