These Unprecedented Times: Engaging Warehouse Employees.
As small business owners with fulfillment centers can relate, concerns about levels of satisfaction, enjoyment and yes—fulfillment—may cross the mind when considering employees. Under the weight of the pandemic’s added stress, you know that your trusted and valued associates are likely suffering from increased physical vulnerability. What’s less immediately visible is their increased mental and emotional vulnerability. By supporting them with the most advanced technologies—like an effective warehouse management (WHM) platform with the most sophisticated management systems—you’re already doing your best to streamline their daily tasks, but is it possible to offer some other forms of engagement to increase their overall well-being? Read on for some ideas to support your associates during these trying times.
In the supply chain, each warehouse environment is unique and dynamic, and associates adapt to each location’s specific architecture and layout. Successful transactions require your team to work well together as a team: between the sophisticated orchestration of receivers, pickers, and MHE drivers, your associates’ healthy interpersonal relationships and mutual respect can be the difference between an extremely proficient workplace and an unsuccessful one. However, in these uniquely trying times in which many people are stressed to within a breaking point, how do you foster satisfaction and well-being among your staff? We’re no longer in a world where a friendly handshake or a hug can inspire goodwill; instead, for the health of your associates, social distancing is necessary. The following are just a few suggestions to engage your employee—and strengthen their relationships—while maintaining a physical distance.
1. Morning Warm-ups: It’s no secret that working in the distribution warehouse can be physically demanding. Whether they’re receiving, picking, or driving, it’s not uncommon for some associates to walk over twenty-thousand steps in a day. To make their jobs that much more comfortable, hold a presentation on healthy, ergonomic movements for “warming up” before the workday. If you can design a ten-minute routine for your team, your associates can meet up before their shifts and warm-up together, fostering teamwork and communication.
2. Establish Collaboration: Every team will have members that range from the very introverted to the overtly extroverted. Sometimes, naturally quiet associates will feel as though their personalities can get lost amongst the flashier reeds. Expression can be more difficult for these types, and a creative outlet can be freeing—try leaving a “doodle challenge” in the break room, to be completed on your employees’ timeline. A whiteboard and some markers—or a large piece of butcher paper and some permanent markers—can be a safe place to explore ideas and express feelings. Use a “prompt” to inspire some thoughts and make sure that community guidelines are followed.
3. Continued Training: Nothing can be more daunting to an associate in these uncertain times than losing their “footing” even further as time passes. To prevent this, allow team leaders to hold weekly meetings to update their teammates on the latest technologies
and safety tips. If possible, “rotate” the team “trainer” whenever an associate expresses interest about a particular subject.
By implementing one (or all) of the above, your associates can enjoy intellectual liberties and freedom of expression. Above all, your employees need to feel as supported as possible. Make sure to combine these activities with a software platform that automates and streamlines operations—one that enables end-to-end management of your entire business. Nothing fosters a healthy work environment—and engaged employees—better than proper technological support.