It’s no secret that recruitment in the logistics and distribution industry is difficult. You’re competing for a shrinking pool of candidates since demand has skyrocketed during the pandemic. In some cases, employers have battled to find enough staff to cope with the spike in workload.
Even worse, when you do find the right candidate, they probably don’t stick around for long, as the average employee turnover in logistics can be as high as 30%.
Logistics has seen the biggest demand for staff during the pandemic, according to research from the British Chamber of Commerce. Conversely, many other sectors were forced to temporarily shut down, such as hospitality and leisure. These closures have meant some logistics companies have been able to benefit from a new pool of candidates with relevant skills looking for work.
Unfortunately, just because the talent is out there and ready to work, doesn’t mean that they will apply for your roles. This is due to the common perception of work in the industry being low paid, unrewarding and tiring.
The situation doesn’t seem to be improving. 54% of logistics companies are expecting a skill shortage increase in the next five years. This pressure isn’t helped by the fact that only 9% of the average workforce is under 25, whilst 45% are over 45. Something needs to change to position the sector as an attractive career option for young people looking for work.
One way of achieving this change is by starting from within, your existing employees. This blog explores what effective employee engagement looks like and why it helps you stand out from your competitors.
What does great employee engagement look like?
That’s right, something as simple as communication, but it has to be accessible and timed right. It’s always a challenge communicating with your employees who are ‘on the go’ and don’t sit behind a desk, but it’s important you find the right tools to reach them.
Communicating with your people – whether that’s sharing company updates or keeping them up to date with the company’s performance – will make sure your employees don’t feel alone in their professional challenges. Opening up communication in a more social way – such as asking people to share what’s going on in their lives – will also ensure they don’t feel isolated in their personal challenges. Consistent communication between senior leaders and employees will give your people a sense of security.
With logistics providers being spotlighted as essential providers during the pandemic, employees need to be recognised for their efforts. This could be through the use of a platform where you can provide thanks and appreciation, and even add monetary reward if available.
If these tools aren’t available to you, make an effort to coach managers on how to recognise their direct reports in day-to-day conversations to ensure that employees feel valued.
Great employee engagement involves highlighting the positives at every opportunity to boost the morale of your workforce. There are plenty of events you can celebrate in a public forum within your organisation – a loyal employee’s long service, a fantastic piece of customer feedback or a nominating somebody who has demonstrated effort aligned with your company values. Pinpointing happy moments like these will compliment recognition happening at the same time, whilst supercharging the way employees feel if they have an event celebrated by their peers.
Effective employee listening
Strong employee engagement will almost always encompass thought-out employee listening programmes. This should involve reaching all four corners of your workforce to ensure everybody is represented. This can be challenging when some employees lack a corporate email addresses, but the effort is worth it to ensure you can gain feedback from your frontline workers.
Once you have gained feedback – through polls or surveys on topics such as exit interviews or employee satisfaction – the next step is ensuring transparency by sharing the findings with your workforce and setting out any action plans.
Standing out from the pack
So now we know the key components of a strong employee engagement strategy, what benefits can your organisation expect from following these recommendations?
Improved employee retention
Research shows that organisations with employee recognition programmes have 31% lower turnover. Being able to foster loyalty amongst your employees is vital if your efforts in developing employee engagement are going to have an impact long-term.
There is also an element of expectation from employees, as 87% of staff expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments according to Glassdoor. Those who feel they are being supported and appreciated at work are more likely to embrace their job, helping to reduce absenteeism.
As an employer, if you can show empathy to your employees and create value in their role, this will play a crucial factor in employee satisfaction and retention. Engaging with your employees will help to develop a positive, inclusive culture and an all-round better employee experience.
More attractive recruiter
Strong employee engagement will have a noticeable impact on your public perception as an employer. A recent example from recruitment company, ResMed, showed that their views and following on LinkedIn grew significantly once they had launched new employee engagement initiative and promoted it to external audiences.
This demonstrates that candidates are actively looking for roles at organisations where they know they will be appreciated and valued. What’s more, 89% of workers at companies with well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company to a friend as a good place to work.
We also mustn’t forget the impact of employee reviews left on websites such as Glassdoor. Potential candidates are likely to check these sources for insight into a company and if your employees talk of feeling engaged and appreciated, you are more likely to be successful attracting talent.
Performance and innovation
Finally, there is research that links an engaged workforce to increased performance. For example, 79% of workers say they work harder when recognised.
Recognised and rewarded employees will improve the quality of your customer service leading to much happier service users, too.
Better engagement will also help organisations who are looking to drive innovation, as employees who receive recognition are 33% more likely to proactively innovate and will generate double the amount of new ideas per month, compared to those who are not recognised well.
To summarise, there are no indications that the candidate pool for logistics employers is getting any bigger so the onus is on organisations to change the way they operate to attract available talent.
Real change will stem from within and this will take time to slowly enhance your company culture to demonstrate true employee engagement.
If successful, however, organisations who recognise and reward their employees will reap the rewards, experiencing lower absenteeism, higher performance and an ability to track the best candidates in the market with improved employer perception.