How to recruit the ideal trainer for your warehouse associates

Job Description Trainer in Logistics

Wait. Hold on. Nowhere in your job description did it say anything about you having to write job descriptions.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that recruitment and hiring was strictly the purview of either internal human resource (HR) personnel or, conversely, outside staffing agencies? 

So, what happened?  Why are you, the operations manager or quality assurance team lead, sitting around a table with HR trying to craft, of all things, a training manager position? You need to be back out on that floor! Don’t these admin ‘types’ know you have some of the highest turnover rates within warehouse, if not the entire company? Don’t they realize that Peak shipping season is just next quarter and you’re onboarding 80 to 100 temporary warehouse workers?

Which is when it hits you.

Reality.

Until you solve for the internal ‘trainer of trainers’ position, which will be organizational adjacent to other team leads, you will continue to have high turnover rates, problems with attrition, brain drain, a lack of ‘tribal’ knowledge, seasonal churn, and still more staffing issues that leave you constantly fighting the uphill battle of keeping top talent.

But what does this person look like and why can’t the organization ever seem to find ‘the right fit’?  Is this individual already somewhere within the company?  The warehouse?  Or are they external?  Should they be highly technical or a bit more realistic and practical

Before we help your organization scope out what you need in terms of a training department team lead, there are several key considerations one must first come to grips with in order to source, recruit, and retain top training talent with long-term leadership potential.

What does the perfect trainer need?

Regardless of whether or not you have ever worked in HR or written a job description before, the world of recruitment has become just as complex and competitive as warehousing, distribution, and logistics, writ large. Thus, and when crafting the ideal advert, which is essentially what a job description is for a company, there are numerous traditional as well as ‘new age’ considerations in which to, er, consider! Here are but a few:

  • Experience:  good trainers are hard to find, especially when a warehousing company needs them to not only be a ‘floor presence’, but also someone who is technically savvy and who has some experience, or know-how, of what associates will be asked to do every shift
  • Enthusiastic educators:  top training leaders are, at their core, teachers
  • Education:  great credentials for university and college are one thing, but what warehouses and DCs need most are those trainer-of-trainer types who are up-to-speed on the latest safety protocols (here, read:  certifications)
  • Funnels & channels:  in terms of placing the advert, it is important to look internally first and foremost as this will create a culture where employees feel that they have an opportunity to grow within, and beyond, their current role; should a firm need external talent in order to also benefit from outside best practices, then look to networks to see if anyone knows a good training managers; lastly, post a job description with a trusted agency or headhunter before ‘mass blasting’ the role on websites, which only means more and more screening
  • Smart screening:  now if the above does not scare you, then you may not have had to sit through countless interviews wherein the candidate seated opposite did not even clear the minimum requirements, which is why it is so important to write a clear job description; additionally, invest in smart software that not only keeps track of applicant submission frequency, but also the source of the CV or resume (candidate or agency?) and whether it had a high score based on target words or other descriptors
  • Contract:  do not be afraid to state expectations as many warehouse positions are increasing ‘dual-hatted’; what’s more, explain the pay scale (yes, there can, and should, be different payouts based on a candidate’s experience) as this will ease negotiations and manage expectations more appropriately and with less emotion; lastly, ensure that you are doing right not only by your firm, but also by the applicant as a poor fit for both parties only leaves the warehouse having to scramble to retrain another trainer with the latter, potentially, leaving a bad review on glassdoor.com or a similar site

 

A final note on screening and online recruitment:  while it is great that the world wide web has opened the door for most nearly all top talent to be ‘seen’ by a hiring firm, many are using SEO and other keyword algorithms to screen out candidates since it is simple unrealistic to comb through 10,000 resumes and CVs from indeed.com, LinkedIn.com, and other sites. That being said, write a job description that is narrow in scope, crystal clear in ‘must haves’, and demands that the recruit take a brief test or submit an essay before further consideration.

But on that note (literally!), let’s look at a template and example for you to use a starting point. 

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In summary, and as a friendly reminder, no operations manager or quality control inspection chief wants to help craft job training department descriptions, but consider the alternative:  with no training team lead the default ‘teacher’ is, well, you!

 

Thus, spending a little time now scripting an ideal candidate persona and then turning that into an advertisement on behalf of the warehouse or DC in need of an educator is likely to pay dividends in the future, especially when you don’t have to train new personnel only to see them walk out the door, your knowledge in hand, a few weeks later!