Demand for and on warehouse workers is high. Ecommerce continues to change the industry, and productivity will only become more important. This, of course, is a unique obstacle in warehousing and manufacturing.
The top challenge in labor management in warehouses is finding and keeping qualified workers. Put simply, the foundational workforce of the industry is retiring, and younger workers A) don’t want these jobs, and B) don’t make an effort to master them when they do get hired.
In other words, many warehouse managers are struggling just to get a full enough staff to meet acceptable productivity.
The good news is that one thing that will both attract and retain motivated younger workers is also a key to greater productivity. Managers simply need to understand the core needs of Millennials and adjust their leadership strategies to meet them.
The secret to this? Engagement.
According to a Gallup survey, companies that have engaged employees see a 22% increase in profitability. Additionally, Millennials are the least engaged workers. Their biggest complaint? They aren’t getting enough feedback from their managers.
Here’s how you can correct this.
- Clarify expectations. This is all-encompassing – it means total buy-in from everyone in the company from the top down. Everyone has to prioritize employee happiness. Additionally, this means clearly defining roles and responsibilities of all workers.
This also means that employees should understand how their roles impact the company as a whole. Millennials want to know they make a difference, and they want to care about what their companies do. This is also an opportunity to let employees develop their own work strategies. Be open to their ideas – if they show up ready to be productive, they may find their own ways to be successful.
- Engage in ongoing feedback and communication. This generation wants daily or weekly Ongoing assessments are vital to their success. This goes both ways – managers should accept feedback, too. It may help to utilize mobile technology here, like to get managers on the floor more often to interact with workers. They’re better able to provide immediate feedback this way.
Part of this communication also has to focus on long-term goals and growth. Your employees want to feel like you know them, care about them, and will invest in their long-term success. Find out where they can go in your company or field, and put them on a track to develop the skills they need to get there. Their sense of value and purpose will improve drastically.
- Measure your engagement. How will you know if you’re succeeding in your efforts if you don’t measure what you’re doing and when? Clearly outline your strategy and record its execution. Create benchmarks, protocols, and anything else that will help you unite in your goals and measure your progress.
Research continues to show that Millennials will perform better and go above and beyond their expected duties if they’re engaged in work and believe in what they’re doing. For them, feedback is the cornerstone of engagement. Meet their needs, and they’ll exceed yours.
As you look through other ways to improve productivity and efficiency for your warehouse, consider your packaging process. Packnet provides standard and custom solutions that optimize materials, eliminate damage, and improve the user experience.
We offer free assessments, too, if you’re just testing the waters. Give us a call: 952.944.9124