Happy workers are productive workers.
In this COVID era, warehouses are among the rare businesses that experienced an increase in demand for employees, making it more important than ever for companies to motivate and retain warehouse employees. The logistics sector employs over 1.7 million workers in the UK and must actively manage staff morale to ensure it attracts and retains the best employees. The warehouse is a key focus here and traditionally may not be seen as the happiest of working environments.
It’s no secret that warehouse work is labour intensive, demanding and repetitive. Physical fitness is a must and there are numerous workplace hazards to look out for as well. For managers, it can be a challenge to keep their warehouse staff safe, engaged and motivated in such an environment.
All being said, logistics can be a highly satisfying job, but it’s also one that requires discipline and teamwork. It’s vital for warehouse staff to feel happy at work and get on well with their colleagues.
Top tips for motivating your warehouse staff:-
Get new employees off to a good start with thorough training. Encourage them to ask questions and ensure they’re supported if they have difficulties. Ongoing training should always be part of the routine. This gives everyone the chance to brush up on existing skills, resolve uncertainties and prevent bad habits from setting in. Staff will be confident and motivated and the business will run more smoothly as a result.
Wherever possible use the latest automation methods and the latest WMS. Time spent walking round the warehouse locating bins and the correct computer terminals is wasteful, inefficient and tedious. Mobile workstations, hand-held tablets , automated bins and the latest WMS will reduce the time taken to complete tasks. Staff will be more productive and it makes their daily routine more rewarding.
Is the latest technology the key? The concept of talking to a machine may not sound like a great motivator, but voice technology and the latest WMS solutions have been found to have positive effects on warehouse staff – work-life balance and overall wellbeing.
The system can provide clear guidance and direction over the course of the shift, enabling greater efficiency whilst reducing frustration and errors. As instructions are given on an as needed basis, pickers can concentrate on single actions without distraction or delay, thereby reducing errors.
Safety and optimisation
Never underestimate the impact of a badly thought-out workplace. Cramped and dirty areas are depressing places to spend a shift and can be dangerous if machinery is involved. This hardly encourages staff to give it their best effort or indeed to stay around for long. Clean, well-lit areas are more cheerful and safer. People must know that their safety and wellbeing is important to the company.
A break out area describes any space open to employees that is separate from their usual working area. It can be a place for employees to relax, eat their lunch and even hold informal meetings. Companies can sometimes see a break out area as an unnecessary but employers should consider the benefits and how this will impact on the company’s performance before ruling them out. The fact is that, with the right environment, a breakout space can become an invaluable work area.
Lastly remember to bear in mind that warehouses do not have many windows and is absent of natural light, lighting in your break out areas can play an important role in creating a comfortable, light and mood lifting environment. Linking artificial lighting cleverly with the natural daylight can ensure optimum lighting conditions whilst minimising energy consumption.
Warehouse logistics is a job that requires everyone to pull together, so it’s important to build a sense of belonging within the team. Investing in regular staff get-togethers can really pay dividends to create a happy, sociable and productive workplace.
- Staff nights out –are a good way to encourage team bonding. It’s not the most original idea but employees appreciate the chance to socialise more regularly than just the annual Christmas party. And there’s always lots to chat about in the warehouse the next day.
- Weekends away can combine unusual activities with the chance to talk about work in a more informal setting.
Shift work can be par for the course in a large warehouse, where production carries on outside the usual nine to five. This isn’t always easy for workers, whose family and social life can suffer because of evening and weekend shifts, so it’s essential to keep morale high.
- Events for families give everyone the chance to get to know each other outside the work environment, as well as recognising that employees have a family life that is important to them.
- Flexibility in accommodating shift changes is key to keeping staff happy. While it’s not always possible to grant every request, we try to let employees know that their life outside work is important and that we will meet their needs if conditions allow.
Responsibility & autonomy
Even diligent staff will struggle to maintain their focus if they’re stuck in the same role for years. Employees need the chance to experience new jobs and take on more responsibility. Involvement in training new recruits or planning a big project for example will make people feel valued and more involved with the business.
Many people would like the opportunity to learn new skills and progress through the company. Working with staff to understand their goals and helping them with a career plan will encourage them to fully engage with the process and they’ll reward your support with diligence and dedication
360 degree feedback & reviews
Regular reviews with your warehouse staff ensure everyone is fulfilling their full potential and identify any problems. By encouraging feedback you’ll learn more about your colleagues and may well spot other areas of the business where they are better suited. If your people enjoy what they do they’ll be more efficient and motivated, so use this process to get everyone in the right place. They’ll be happy and the business will benefit as well.
In any role it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate when someone has performed well. This is an excellent way to motivate warehouse logistics staff and let them know that their achievements have not gone unnoticed.
Health and wellbeing
A warehouse can be a physically demanding environment, with heavy lifting and physical work often making up much of the logistics worker’s day. So employee health and wellbeing is a high priority as it has a direct effect on performance and productivity.
- Regular breaks and time off are essential for warehouse staff to recharge their batteries and remain fit for work. Offering a generous holiday allowance over and above your statutory requirements is a policy that workers will appreciate.
- Health and safety awareness is vital in a warehouse environment so regular, thorough health and safety training will help avoid accidents and injury.
Everyone is an integral part of the process. Management should keep all staff informed of company goals and progress on new projects. If times are hard be as honest as you can and work with your team to make improvements. If they understand their input is valuable they’ll be motivated to give it their best effort.
Economic fluctuations can lead to a host of changes that directly affect the staff, from shift patterns, wages and bonuses to the purchase of new equipment and the implementation of new projects. Details of these issues should be shared with employees to avoid confusion and dissatisfaction. If people are kept informed they’re far more likely to rise to the challenge in a positive way.
Remember employee happiness is one of the keys to success.
Everyone responds well to appreciation, encouragement, guidance and respect. Your employees are no exception. Time and effort devoted to your workplace relationships creates happy, motivated and productive warehouse staff – vital ingredients to keep your business on top.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfilment and manufacturing warehousing.