In part one, Creating a Culture That Engages and Retains Warehouse Employees, we explored successful strategies to enhance employee engagement and improve warehouse staff retention. Technology can play a critical role towards creating a culture of engagement and retention.

Blue Yonder’s Luminate™ Platform includes solutions focused on building a culture of engagement. Blue Yonder Warehouse Labor Management (WLM) creates a warehouse environment that helps streamline the onboarding of new or temporary employees, drives active engagement between warehouse staff and supervisors, and helps to ensure higher levels of retention. When complimented with the flexible scheduling capabilities of Blue Yonder’s Workforce Management solution, any warehouse operation can successfully attract, manage, and maintain a modern workforce in the face of labor shortages and uncertainty.

Streamlining the Onboarding Process

Employee onboarding for new hires or temporary employees is a time-consuming process. In the warehouse, the intricacies of operations, combined with a lack of standard processes can add time and complexity to getting employees to work. Warehouse Labor Management establishes standards for the operation and operating procedures. With standards in place, it becomes easier to train and onboard staff or temporary labor, as the solution enforces standard operations. In addition, for new hires, standards can be adjusted to allow for learning curves as they learn their role.

Driving Deeper Employee Engagement

Studies show that employees who feel that their company is investing in their learning and development are more likely to stay. Blue Yonder’s Warehouse Labor Management helps establish a structure that encourages interaction and promotes equitable work. For example, performance management capabilities provide supervisors and management a view into an employee’s performance as the day progresses. Performance can be categorized to show both exceptional performers and those that may need additional help. This encourages management to walk the facility with an eye towards encouraging staff as they work through the day.

Newer employees can become discouraged as they struggle to achieve performance goals. Blue Yonder’s Warehouse Labor Management negates this issue by allowing for learning curves in the measurement of standards. While it may take a seasoned employee less time to perform a certain task, learning curves allow extra time for the new employee as they grow their expertise. This ensures equitable, accurate measurement of performance and encourages cross training. An employee experienced and successful in the packing station can now cross train on the forklift without fear of missing performance standards, increasing their value to the organization.

Engaged employees want regular feedback and opportunities to improve; this demonstrates the company’s dedication to their success. With report cards, employees have access to a comprehensive review of their performance, creating an engagement opportunity with their supervisor to discuss areas of improvement or how to further career goals.

Building a Culture of Retention

Events like the great reshuffle have shown that employees are looking for opportunities where they feel the culture best matches their needs. Individuals are looking for companies that offer freedom and flexibility, along with signs that the company will invest in and reward them for their work.

Blue Yonder’s Warehouse Labor Management enables a continuous improvement process to help employees reach their full potential. Observation identifies specific steps to be taken to uncover any issues, whether they are training related or perhaps a larger process issue for the facility. In the case of training, it could simply be that the employee is performing unnecessary steps, slowing them down. In the case of a process improvement, observation may uncover an issue where an aisle is perhaps consistently becoming crowded with activities and needs the overall process to be revisited.

Incentives help to increase morale and engagement and can be a tool to drive retention. The ability to calculate incentives at a group or individual level encourages collaboration and teamwork and can be tied to payroll systems.

Creating a Flexible Work Environment Without Sacrificing Productivity

Another aspect important to employees is scheduling flexibility. Many workers may work multiple jobs, have family members to care for, or struggle with transportation, it’s important to create schedules that accommodate these challenges. Today, 73% of blue collar workers would trade a $1 per hour raise for a more flexible work schedule.

Flexible scheduling doesn’t mean simply offering shift swaps. It’s about building weekly schedules that accommodate the work preferences of each employee while ensuring the needs of your warehouse are met. Attempting to do this with manual scheduling would be nearly impossible, but Blue Yonder’s Workforce Management capabilities make it easy. The scheduling engine starts with an accurate labor forecast, applies each employee’s availability and work preferences, and then builds weekly schedules that accommodate these nuances and adheres to applicable labor regulations and corporate policy.

By more perfectly aligning available labor with labor needs, warehouse operators can reduce overtime and virtually eliminate paying for unnecessary labor, cutting overall labor costs by more than 5%. Plus, employees will be scheduled to work when and how they want, which can result in a 25% increase in employee engagement and lower turnover rates.

Work With Blue Yonder Today

Like all areas of the business, warehouse operations is challenged to find, onboard, engage, and retain talent to meet dynamically changing goals. Solutions such as Blue Yonder’s Warehouse Labor Management and Workforce Management work in concert to not only drive efficiency and productivity but establish a culture that encourages employee retention.