Having proper training in place is crucial to have productive employees. But as a #kaizen company, we believe in continuous improvement. And we believe in mistakes. Mistakes are good because you can learn from them. But it is also a good idea to learn from others’ mistakes instead of doing all of them when you are setting up your warehouse worker training. The power of learning from failure is a trend that came mostly from the start-up scene that made so-called fuck-up nights where founders talk about their biggest mistake and their takeaways. With this guide, you learn from other companies’ experiences and prepare your trainers to be aware of specific topics.
Learn how to avoid failure in warehouse worker training
The training industry has traditionally focused almost exclusively on white-collar jobs. For trainers that coach manual skills, it is challenging to adapt training theories designed for office-workers to fit their team-needs. Combined with the strong time pressure that is continuously present in warehouses worldwide, there is only limited time to adapt the training methods and bring them to the site. – Resulting in a smaller version of the actual training they would need to get the job done on time and with the desired level of quality. Especially if you have lots of temporary workers that might just join your company for a short time, you might have to adjust your regular training schedule towards that need.
Companies that offer employees opportunities for continuing education are often the most successful, both in profitability and staff retention. This quick guide exposes the top five fails in warehouse worker training, which you can easily avoid and see the results soon in your company.
1. No structured plan in place for scalable onboarding
Employee retention starts at the moment of hiring. Never underestimate the power of the first impression. By failing to make a comprehensive plan for how to onboard new employees, many companies lose their opportunity to establish a good relationship with new hires. In addition to that, you might miss a few critical topics that your employee must learn to fulfill the job tasks. This leads to lower job quality, and leaves a bad feeling with the warehouse worker not to be adequately onboarded.
Leaving employees and managers to fend for themselves in onboarding leads to continually reinventing the wheel. This behaviour can often cause new employees to lose trust in the company before they even start their first shift on their own. -> Get our free onboarding checklist – COVID-19 edition – here
2. Lack of documentation or manuals from frequent tasks
If there is one lesson that warehouse managers wish their team leads would do, it would be to document everything! Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are the key to success in the logistics industries where new employees have to learn lots of step-by-step instructions. Often every step is essential, and if mixed up, it will lead to costly corrections in the process.
Everything that happens on the floor is a learning opportunity. If you keep good records, the lessons learned will be readily available to everyone in the company. Documentation of your frequent tasks makes it much easier for all employees to find important manuals right away.
3. Have no translation for your safety and work instructions
One out of three warehouse workers has a foreign passport. That means they are more likely not to be fluent in your native language. However, most of your team understands your instructions, warehouse managers often report that they have a large variety of language skills. In terms of talent shortage, we have to prepare ourselves to integrate as many workers as possible into our workforce. By having proper translations in place, you have a much broader target group to work in your warehouse. And the workers will benefit, too. They appreciate if the employer is interested in their well-being and in their safety. Try it out with our automated translation service.
4. Not acknowledging the training needs of workers
In an office environment, e-learning and other teaching technology is an indispensable tool that powers efficient and cost-effective training.
In many warehouse environments, employees may not even have access to email, much less a quiet conference room to sit through a series of training videos. The next time the worker is on-site, they are expected to fulfill the task on their own and remember all the steps that they saw in the video. Always keep in mind the specific needs of your staff and the environment in which they’ll be receiving their training.
5. Not taking fluctuation seriously
Learning is not a one-way street within any organization. A good training program should include dialog with employees. Listening to the ideas and concerns of your staff will help you to adapt to change before it affects the performance of your company. Not thinking about the needs of your employees is the best way to lose them. Lack of responsiveness from management is also damaging to company culture and morale, which can have a significant negative impact on efficiency.
Some of the biggest failures in warehouse training aren’t in the training program itself, but in the way, the trainers view the needs and goals of their workers.
All too often, companies view all blue-collar workers as a homogeneous group of interchangeable manual laborers. At best, managers think that the goal of all employees is to “get out” or “move up” to an administrative position. Any proper training and development program should acknowledge the immense value of a stable and efficient logistics workforce. Without manual positions, most industries cannot function.