Have you ever looked around your warehouse and thought “Am I getting the most out of my employees?”
If not, then you should.
Your team is your more important asset (well, that and stackable pallets), and the success and efficiency of your warehouse will only go as far as they’re able to take it.
With that in mind, taking some steps to get more out of your employees could make a huge difference.
Recognize their good work
Let’s get something clear right off the bat.
Saying that it’s important to recognize good work doesn’t mean that you should throw someone a parade every time they do their job the way they’re supposed to.
Sure, you could do that if you really want to, but generally speaking, most companies don’t have that large of a parade budget (Macy’s notwithstanding).
But if you see that one of your employees has really been going above and beyond what is asked of them, toss a little recognition their way.
It can be something as simple as pointing out their good work at the next team meeting, or something as substantial as an employee of the month award.
However, it’s also worth noting that not every employee will accept recognition in the same way.
Some people like having their accomplishments displayed prominently for all to see, while others may prefer not to have the spotlight shined directly on them.
Here’s the bottom line: If you notice someone giving 200% every day, let them know that you’ve noticed, even if it just means pulling them aside for a minute to tell them.
Once they know that their efforts are being recognized, you can bet that they’ll feel much more motivated to keep it up.
Give clear direction and set clear goals
Running a warehouse means knowing what needs to be done, and then making sure that it’s getting done.
But here’s the thing: How can your employees do what needs to be done if they have to spend time everyday interpreting cryptic instructions?
Not only is that a waste of time, it’s a completely avoidable waste of time.
Taking a couple extra minutes to make sure that you’re giving clear orders will pay off when you don’t have to spend hours correcting something that someone did wrong because they weren’t sure what you wanted in the first place.
Now let’s take that one step further.
How can your employees meet their long term goals if they’re not sure what they actually are?
Don’t just tell your team that their goal for the month is to improve efficiency. Tell them that their goal is to process x more orders per day, and then update them periodically on their progress.
By giving your team concrete goals, you give them something to work towards other than a vague or abstract idea.
Brush up on training
When you think about training employees, it’s pretty easy to write it off as a one and done type deal.
You get a new employee, you train him, and now he knows how to do his job. Wind him up, and watch him go.
But what if that employee misunderstood part of his training? Even if it doesn’t cause catastrophic productivity problems, it can still be something that slows them down on a day to day basis.
Or what if something has changed since that employee was trained? Maybe there are new regulations, or you’ve gotten new equipment.
Simply put, even the most veteran employees can benefit from a brush-up from time to time, even if it’s just once or twice a year.
Besides, you’re already doing regular safety training (aren’t you?), so why not add a few more talking points to those training sessions?
Helping your employees reach their full potential is something that benefits everyone.
Your company will benefit from an efficient warehouse, you’ll benefit from being the one running an efficient warehouse, and your employees will benefit from setting themselves up for their own personal success.
About Brian Pigott
Brian Pigott is an engineer and customer-centric entrepreneur. Brian is the Managing Director of One Way Solutions.