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How to engage your warehouse workforce to boost productivity

When you think about warehouse assets that help you increase your productivity, what comes to mind? Your inventory? Your vehicles? Your IT? These are all correct answers, but what people often forget is the important role your employees play in running an efficient and successful operation.

Turn the unmotivated into the super interested

As with any business, warehouses need an engaged workforce to deliver to targets and meet deadlines. And as with all businesses, it’s easy for your employees to become unengaged and, therefore, unproductive.

You know the signs. An employee is unmotivated and unenthusiastic. They show up late for work, do the bare minimum and clock watch until they sign off their shift. Their only interest is their wage packet. Unfortunately, disengagement is like a disease that can quickly spread through your workforce. So, what makes your workers stop caring and what can you do to bring them back onboard?

Mine of information and knowledge

Your workforce is a gold mine. Many of your employees will have been in their role for many years, so they know your warehouse and your operation like the back of their hand. They know how long it takes to pick an order, where the network blackspots are, how to start the dodgy computer and so much more.

Not taping into this source of information is a missed opportunity. You can learn a lot from your workforce and their knowledge can help you increase warehouse productivity in many ways. Plus, it helps your employees feel worthwhile and appreciated, which is like a catalyst for them to be more engaged and motivated in their jobs.

Prohibitive equipment

Having the right equipment for the job makes a big difference to employee productivity. We all know how difficult it can be to complete a task with the wrong tool or out of date gear. It’s frustrating and takes longer than it should as you try to find work arounds. Your workforce feels exactly the same when they have an old device or perhaps a consumer tablet that’s not built for the demands of a warehouse environment.

There are lots of things you can do here to stop your equipment being a problem. Firstly, make sure your devices are fit for purpose – that they are truly rugged and optimized for the job in hand. Things like a custom image can help to keep employees on track and tailor-made screen shortcuts can save them time. Think about screen size – perhaps you have more mature employees who would benefit from a larger device. Or if your workforce is young, keep your software and devices up to date to appeal to them and their interest in tech.

Handling change

The world has never stopped changing, but it’s happening at an increasing pace in our technology enabled society. It’s not unusual for workforces to be suspicious and resistant to change. Things have worked fine for years just as they are, so why change them now?

Involving your employees in change can mean the difference between a new initiative falling flat or being a runaway success. When you’re investing in new warehouse devices, enlist the help of your workforce in setting the decision criteria, selecting vendors and choosing devices, after all they are the ones who will be using them.

Then involve them in the testing stage, get them to use the equipment on site to see what works and what doesn’t. Before you introduce any new devices, set up a group of superusers who can answer questions and help other employees get on board with any change. Handing over some of the responsibility to your staff will make a big difference to how they accept change and can even make them embrace it.

The extra mile

Employee engagement is one of the hardest things to control in terms of your warehouse productivity, but it’s not impossible to influence. You can boost their interest and in turn their efficiency through involvement and respect. And we can help you make sure you have the right devices, not just for your warehouse, but for your workforce.

 

Contact us to find out more.

Christian Funk

Christian Funk

Director Product Marketing and Business Development

November 28, 2019

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