Keeping Warehouse Staff Motivation High

Should staff motivation be top of your list?

Whatever the nature of your business, a conscientious and enthusiastic team of employees is vital for your ongoing success. If working conditions are undesirable the result can mean lower work performance, increased error rates, injuries and absences. However, just the opposite can occur by keeping your staff motivation high.

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, so here are some ideas for motivating your warehouse logistics staff.

  1. Training

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.

  1. Team Building

A sense of belonging is one of the most important aspects of employee engagement—and a particularly vital element of effective teamwork. Since warehouse operation depends upon people working well in teams, there’s every reason to use teambuilding activities to keep your workforce engaged and motivated.

Even occasional team outings or a pizza meal in the staff canteen once a week can help to show your warehouse teams that they are valued by your organisation. Look for ways to establish team identities and to meld each team into a tightly knit unit. At the very least, you should ensure your warehouse employees are briefed in teams and that team performance is monitored, measured, and recognised.

  1. Automation

Wherever possible use the latest automation methods. Time spent walking round the warehouse locating bins and the correct computer terminals is wasteful, inefficient and tedious. Mobile workstations, hand-held tablets and automated bins will reduce the time taken to complete tasks. Staff motivation will rise and they will be more productive. It will also make their daily routine more rewarding.

A warehouse management system (WMS) designed specifically for use in warehouses should be able to optimise picking routes for multi-item and single item orders. Not only will this save your operators money on buying new soles for their shoes, it will speed up the picking process, allowing for more orders to be picked per person per hour.

  1. Create a safe and productive environment

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.

  1. Create Break out Areas

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 and keep staff motivation high.

It has been found that meetings conducted in a more informal environment are more productive for brainstorming and idea generation.

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.

  1. Flexible working

Shift work plays a large part in the running of your warehouse. People’s preferences will vary and it won’t be possible to please everyone, but careful and considerate planning will ensure no one is stuck with the unpopular shifts for long. Support this further by operating a shift swap system to give more flexibility and choice with working hours. Staff will greatly appreciate the freedom to manage their work schedule.

A warehouse workforce is more likely to feel engaged and motivated if each operative has opportunity to change up the mix of daily tasks. For example, an employee who cycles between picking, goods-receiving, dispatch, and put-away, is more likely to be motivated than one who does nothing but picking week-after-week, month-after-month.

  1. Encourage responsibility

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.

  1. Implement staff reviews

Regular reviews 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.

  1. Offer incentives schemes

When it comes to using bonus payments as a motivational tool, you need to be judicious, lest you incentivise the wrong behaviours. However a gainsharing scheme, in which warehouse operatives can increase their earnings by raising productivity, is one way to both motivate staff and encourage desirable behaviour. The key benefits of gainsharing are:

  • Employees have an opportunity to raise their income.
  • It encourages a continuous increase in warehouse productivity.
  • It motivates employees to look for ways to improve warehouse processes, engaging them in the drive to meet operational objectives.

It’s important though, to control for behaviour which targets productivity at the expense of quality or safety. One way to do this is through the application of penalties, which nullify or limit an employee’s bonus payment when safety or quality issues are identified.

  1. Opportunities for progress

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.

  1. Sharing Business Goals

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.

In Summary

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 staff – vital ingredients to keep your business on top.

If staff motivation is high, your employees are effectively engaged within the warehouse environment you could see a 48% decrease in safety incidents. Motivating your warehouse employees and ensuring employee engagement is high has many other benefits such as; 22% increase in profitability, increase the happiness of employees, reduce workplace accidents and essentially increase productivity meaning there is 100% efficiency from your employees.

About us:

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 fulfillment, and manufacturing warehousing.