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The words recruit and retain shouldn’t be feared in logistics

18 June 2019

Third party logistics companies across the UK say that recruiting and retaining staff is one of their biggest challenges. This is due to lack of available candidates – partly because of the national unemployment rate being at its lowest since the 1970s.

However, the main crux of the issue lies with the fact that a large proportion of logistics companies are busy at the same time of year, typically August – December, and so, are competing for the same staff.

This issue is faced by companies both in densely populated areas and those isolated in areas like the Fens in Cambridgeshire. We have clients based in locations like Rugby that hire heavily throughout the year but, within a mile radius, there are another 20 warehouses hiring for the same job roles. On the flip side, we have clients with no competition on the doorstep, that aside from the core permanent team, only employ staff temporarily and will suddenly need 250 people in the final 12 – 15 weeks of the year. 

Hiring in these conditions is, of course, difficult but can be manageable depending on the company’s approach to recruitment and how it treats its staff. There are four points that companies should consider in order to attract temporary workers during busy seasonal periods and hire and retain skilled candidates in the core permanent team. 

  • An inclusive introduction 

Change the collective and make sure you create an inclusive environment from the very start; a new team members induction is so important to a company. One of our clients has this down to a tee. New starters are given a site tour and meet the shift management and personnel before they accept the job, which gives them the opportunity to decide whether it is the right role for them; minimising attrition on both sides. 

Starting a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience, no matter what your age. One of our roles as an agency is to try and take that anxiety away from the candidates. We make sure that we are present on site when the temporary candidates start to make the necessary introductions so they are involved in team meetings on day one. 

  • Create a positive culture 

Smart logistics companies understand that by creating a positive working environment for staff they are more likely to retain them. If candidates or employees feel cared for and valued, there is less risk that they will move elsewhere. The best organisations monitor employee motivation by inviting regular feedback and/or implementing family friendly policies like flexible working or additional annual leave. 

  • Provide guidance and training 

Employers should take the time to show new workers the career opportunities available for them, dispelling the myth that a warehouse position is a dead-end job. Make the time to show your employees the opportunities of the rapidly expanding industry; offering hands-on experience and/or formal training needed to take advantage of a warehouse career is a valuable step towards retaining your staff. 

  • The bigger picture 

It’s imperative that employees realise how important they are to an organisation and that there are opportunities for future growth, job satisfaction and long-term employment. Employees who realise that the company’s success is directly tied to their own personal success are far more likely to be committed, hardworking and good ambassadors for your services to your customers. 

Companies should demonstrate that even lower level employees can rise up through the ranks if they put in the hard work required. To do this, employers need to work closely with each employee to understand their long-term goals and develop a personal growth plan that benefits both the company and employee. Such win-win scenarios produce happy and extremely loyal employees. 

While there will always be obstacles to overcome when recruiting or retaining staff, there are simple solutions that companies can put in place to ensure that the two Rs aren’t the most feared words in the industry, and these four tips set a good foundation for success. 

Aaron Bowes, director, Recruit Mint