5 Powerful Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Warehouse Workforce

What Is Employee Motivation?

Employee Motivation is the energy from within to diligently carry out work-related tasks as are required. It is a force rooted in the psychological will to get the job done. It is as important for warehouse workers as it is for those working in offices. An employee’s level of motivation translates to how productive they will be.

How Relevant Is Employee Motivation in the Logistics and Warehousing Industry?

James P. Womack, the founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute, talks about the importance of showing respect to employees. He found that working together with employees to find solutions to problems is an effective way to engage your workforce.

He studied two distribution centers in the same area. The first facility gave workers more autonomy over their work while the second facility adopted a partnership approach between managers and employees. The first facility had a 70% turnover rate while the second had a 1% turnover, at the end of the year. The second center had more experienced workers and a higher level of productivity because they were highly motivated.

TL; DR: Working together with employees to solve work-life problems makes workers more creative and engaged.

Why Care About Employee Motivation?

The COVID era has led to an increase in demand from e-commerce stores, thereby increasing the demand for workers in the logistics and warehouse industries. This has led to more jobs being created in the industry to meet these demands. (about 78,000 in August 2020 according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, BLS). However, most logistics and warehousing companies are unable to ramp up training and onboarding for a large number of employees. 

As a result, most warehouses struggle with high employee turnover rates. A conservative estimate by the Work Institute puts the cost of losing one employee at $15,000. A high turnover rate also demotivates your workforce; leading to a reduced productivity level.

Worker motivation (for warehouses) acts as a key player to attract and retain top talent and create a successful shopfloor. And one easy way to do that is to have proper training and development in place. 

How to Motivate and Engage Your Warehouse Workforce?

Worker motivation is a quick fix to boosting productivity in your warehouse. Moreover, highly motivated employees are more likely to put in the required work and help one another to complete tasks on time. Most importantly, they are most likely to stick around.

Here are 5 ways easy-to-follow methods to motivate and engage your warehouse employees:

1. Training & Development

The industry is rife with examples of companies aggressively investing in the training and development of their employees. According to an industry today survey, warehouse workers place a high value on training and development when it comes to staying with a company. That’s why it’s not surprising that companies like Amazon are investing $700 million in training their employees. 

Your company’s training programs should be defined and flexible. Most importantly, it should start on day one – from introducing your employees to policies and processes during onboarding to reskilling workers. Investing in training and development will not only motivate employees but also drastically reduce your turnover rates.

2. Safe Work Environment

You must provide your employees with the right equipment, knowledge, and skill to stay safe while working. In simple words, no worker will be excited about an unsafe job. From fire safety training to ergonomics best practices – as an employer, you are both legally and morally bound to provide your employees a conducive and safe work environment. This is an easy way to unlock your workers’ motivation.

Download: Digital Health and Safety Whitepaper for Warehouses

3. Gamification for High Engagement

When you define standards of labor that every employee should aim at, you create an atmosphere of healthy competition that keeps workers engaged. Amazon has introduced a gamification process in which workers can advance in levels based on how much work they can get done. This also serves as a way to reduce their stress levels while boosting interpersonal relationships when they play together. Adding quizzes to workers’ training is a great way to make learning fun. You can also include incentives for good performance to motivate the workers. 

4. Setting the KPIs

It is not enough to implement the above changes when trying to engage your workers. You must evaluate the results produced. The use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like the number of shipments, warehousing costs, transportation costs, order accuracy, and shipping time is a good way to do that. You should set realistic KPIs and always ensure to compare with your past results. 

Download: The True Cost of Employee Turnover Infographic

5. Show Respect to Your Workers

Respect is an integral part of worker motivation. Different organizations define respect differently. This might include offering flexible work hours and a provision for obtaining permissions easily. When you involve your employees in important decisions, particularly those that affect their work process or welfare, they feel respected. You should also consider holding monthly or periodic team meetings where important issues are discussed.  Also, possible solutions to problems are abled and analyzed. You can then take advantage of these meetings to set goals and performance standards or review existing ones while taking into account rewards and penalties for compliance and poor performance respectively.

Final Thoughts

Productivity in your warehouse is directly proportional to your employees’ engagement and motivation. Ideally, you can implement the above-mentioned best practices early on in your onboarding. To ensure that your workers remain engaged and turnover rates don’t haunt your shop floor.  

You can also leverage digital training solutions like how.fm. It’s an end-to-end digital training solution. From health and safety training to work instructions – it helps you digitally train your workers in the language they understand.

Better training, better motivation. Get demo access