According to a study by Deloitte in 2020, there are expected to be as many as 2 million unfulfilled warehouses and distribution jobs in the USA. This is a trend that is being mirrored the world over as the rise of E-commerce means that more warehousing jobs are required.
The unglamorous reputation of warehouse-based jobs means that people are less willing to go into this line of work.
Companies that run warehouses, therefore, have to work twice as hard to both attract employees to their warehouse roles and retain their most skilled warehouse workers.
The following article will run through some of the procedures that we have put in place in our tire retailer business to ensure that we have a constant influx of employees coming into our warehouse and that we can keep out top logistics talent in the long-term
Your ability to attract talent to your warehouse roles is a product of how well you can market your roles and your ability to manage the reputation of your company as a great employer.
In practical terms, this can be broken down into three parts. These are:
- How do you present roles on a job application?
- How far can you generate social proof that you are a good employer?
- Your ability to reach underserved pools of candidates.
We will now go through these by one in more detail.
Overcome specific objections candidates have to work in a warehouse on your job application
One of the biggest mistakes that employers make in job advertisements is that they try to paint a completely perfect picture of the job that they are advertising. This causes candidates to become suspicious that they may not be being given the entire picture of what a job entails and therefore make them less likely to apply.
Instead, a job advertisement should directly address common objections that applicants may have around taking on a certain job and explain exactly how the company aims to overcome these.
Here are some ways that employers can overcome objections that candidates often have to take on warehouse jobs:
Objection 1 - Low pay: This can be overcome by making it explicitly clear what the compensation will be for the job. This will put you at a major advantage compared to companies that do not disclose salaries on their job applications
Objection 2 - Anti-social hours: Make clear the minimum and maximum number of anti-social hours (evenings and weekends) that employees are expected to work in this role. Mention any additional compensation that employees might earn for working these.
Objection 3 - Physically demanding working conditions: Mention what procedures you have put in place to remedy the physically demanding nature of the work. This can include provisions like health insurance.
Objection 4 - Lack of career development: Mention what additional or further training you provide to warehouse employees.
In short, job advertisements should be honest about what a job entails and make clear what you put in place to “soften out the edges” of the less appealing parts of a role.
Provide case studies of warehouse employees who have progressed in your company
One of the biggest objections that candidates have about taking on warehouse jobs is that it's a role that has a reputation for having little in the way of career progression.
Since the amount of career progression that a role offers is in a large part down to the hiring practices of a company, employers can go a long way in demonstrating that they offer career opportunities to their warehouse staff.
The best way to demonstrate this is to showcase existing employees that have risen from the warehouse floor to management positions. If you have employees who have done this, create case studies of their career journey and add these to your recruitment marketing materials.
Make your warehouse roles accessible to temporary workers
Lower-level warehouse roles are popular among temporary workers because employees do not need much in the way of qualifications to take on such positions.
Warehouse employers should take advantage of this pool of candidates by making their warehouse positions as accessible to temporary workers as possible.
Some ways to achieve this include:
- Build out dedicated systems to onboarding temporary workers quickly
- Share databases of local temporary workers with other warehouses in your area
- Make sure that you are present on all the temporary staffing platforms that serve your local area
Doing this will ensure that you have a near-constant influx of temporary workers to pick up any slack in your warehouse.
To retain warehouse talent you need to make sure that they are engaged, challenged, and fairly compensated for the value that they bring to your company.
Here are a couple of ways that you can do this.
Pay your employees enough so that they are not pressured into working overtime
Given the physical demands of warehouse roles, employees often burn out and leave the industry if they work too much overtime.
Although we do not recommend putting restrictions on overtime, employers should pay their warehouse workers enough that they can live comfortably without having to work overtime.
What this pay depends on the cost of living in your local area, however employers should consider the specific circumstances that their warehouse staff may face (childcare costs for example) and offer compensation that accommodates this.
Create clear pathways from warehouse roles to management positions
The only way to engage ambitious warehouse workers is by offering them true career progression opportunities in your company.
The best employers offer clear, structured pathways for warehouse operative staff to move into management positions. This usually involves both formal pathways such as guaranteed promotion opportunities and softer professional development opportunities like mentoring and shadowing from senior members in the company.
Putting these in place should not only allow you to better retain your existing staff but also give you opportunities to demonstrate that you are an employer who values your employee’s professional development.
This should, in turn, allow you to more easily attract warehouse staff in the future.
This article was written by Mike Skoropad. Mike is the CEO and General Manager of automotive parts retailer United Tires.
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