Strategies to Reduce Employee Turnover in a Warehouse

Studies focused on the benefits of employee retention have been done many times, yet a lot of organizations fail to see the value of investing in policies and processes that will reduce staff turnover. Almost everyone knows that increased retention means a number of good things: higher productivity, higher engagement, increased customer service, and lowered costs.

The warehousing industry is among the top four industries with the highest worker turnover rate at 37%, with the average turnover rate at 3.6% only. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an increase in warehouse job openings is seen yearly as the number of quits and terminations continue to rise too.

So what could be driving warehouse employees to leave their jobs more often than people from other industries? More importantly, how can the warehousing industry do a better job in staff retention? Here are a few proactive approaches that the industry could follow to turn around high turnover rates and improve employee retention:

Invest in training programs and courses

Worker stacking boxes

A study showed that the larger the warehouse, the higher the turnover rate. From the get-go, any lack of attention paid to training new employees revealed a big impact and potential drawbacks on their engagement. Significant time and resources should be spent when onboarding new employees. Efforts from leaders to emphasize that they are part of a team, and not disposable workers, will help with employee satisfaction.

Personal training and development opportunities should also be made to all employees. A lot of employers will find training courses expensive and a waste of time and money. However, the return on investment from these programs makes the cost and time a worthwhile investment. Employees will feel appreciated and more confident in their doing their jobs.

Commit to work-life integration

Companies should work with their human resources department to ensure that their policies support work-life balance. Let employees take vacations and holidays; do not intrude when they are off duty. Leaders should understand that the long hours, physical toll, and repetitive tasks can cause even the hardest-working employee to get stressed and exhausted. When employees start to feel overwhelmed, that is when a decrease in productivity and an increase in staff turnover start.

Give regular reviews and raises

Receiving money to symbolized pay raise

The average salaries for warehousing employees have not increased a lot for the past 12 years. Leaders should understand that a spiral of issues leading to absenteeism and eventually attrition can start from financial vulnerability. Not surprisingly, in another survey conducted by ProLogistix, pay figures show as one of the main deciding factors or priorities for employees when choosing a job. The same survey showed that 58% of the workers moved jobs for an increase of only $1 to $1.99 per hour. In other words, rather than freezing wages, companies should start thinking about giving some increase so that their workers will not leave for better pay opportunities elsewhere.

Managers should learn to provide honest and constructive feedback to their staff. People working in a warehouse often spend most of their time doing repetitive tasks. These reviews can encourage creativity and will allow staff to feel that they are invested in.

Warehouse automation can help increase productivity and lower cost. But employee turnover ultimately has a bigger impact on the success or failure of a warehousing business. The cost of recruiting and training, added to the time it takes for a worker to reach peak productivity, proves that setting up and following employee retention programs would be more cost-effective and efficient.