The logistics industry has undoubtedly encountered numerous challenges in recent years. From supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic to the need to keep up with technological advancements and find sustainable working methods, there is a lot to navigate.
However, the true challenge for logistics companies lies in the ongoing scarcity of labour. With numerous vacant positions in the logistics industry in Australia and a shortage of skilled workers to fill them, it is now more crucial than ever to retain your existing staff.
We’ve put together a list of strategies that can be implemented to improve employee retention in the logistics industry. By adopting some or all of these approaches, you can significantly reduce your attrition rate and retain valuable talent within your organisation.
The logistics industry is physically demanding and requires employees to work long hours, often in challenging conditions. If you’re not providing safe and healthy working conditions, this can quickly lead to employee turnover.
As your people are your greatest asset, there are plenty of ways you to look after their physical and mental wellbeing. The first is ensuring you get the basics right, like proper employee safety and equipment training, as well as enforcing safety policies which include monitoring and regular compliance checks.
Next, keep an eye on employees. This is really important when you consider the fact that 62% of Australian employees are burnt out, compared to the global average of 48%. Take the time to school yourself about burnout signs and actively monitor employees for them. It’s always better to catch a staff member who’s struggling early and address it before it begins to escalate to the point where they feel compelled to resign.
If you don’t already, implement an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with in-built mental health supports, such as confidential counselling or coaching for those dealing with personal and/or work-related issues.
According to the Australian Industry Standards 2019 Transport and Logistics Skills Forecast, low wages is one of the key drivers for the skills shortage. Is what you’re paying on par with market rates (at the very least)?
If you’re not sure, get in touch with one of our logistics recruitment agency specialists. We do frequent industry salary surveys, so always have the latest stats to help you work out if you’re on track.
It’s a no brainer that people enjoy working for companies that make them feel valued, heard and appreciated. Luckily, there are numerous ways you can foster a great working culture. Here are just a few:
Nurture communication. Make sure your employees feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns. Encourage an open-door policy, listen to feedback and most importantly, action where you can. When you can’t, explain why. If employees give you a great suggestion for improvement, credit them when implementing it.
Learn from your staff. A great way to improve communication and understanding between office staff and frontline workers is to get your executives and management involved. You can implement job shadowing and work experience opportunities to help them understand the day-to-day operations and challenges faced by those on the front line. It will do a lot to create a culture of understanding and respect between employees at different levels.
Recognise and reward good work. It’s amazing what small gestures of thanks can do to boost employee morale. A simple and specific ‘thank you’ at the end of a really hard day is often enough. But of course, you can do more.
Consider bonuses, incentives (like Employee of the Month awards), and rewards such as gift cards. During peak periods, surprise staff with a catered lunch or dinner.
Encourage a sense of teamwork. A strong team dynamic can lead to better job satisfaction and improved retention, so think about ways you can strengthen team bonds. It might be a casual monthly after work get-together or a little more formalised, such as an activity like an escape room or orienteering exercise.
Across most industries, working from home is now an accepted and a viable working option. But it’s a pretty tough offering in the logistics sector where the majority of your staff are either on the road or working in 24x7 warehouses.
While you might not be able to offer most staff a work from home option, you can do a lot when it comes to flexible scheduling. And it pays to do it.
According to The Gartner 2022 Frontline Worker Experience Reinvented Project, flexibility is the top way of reducing staff attrition, surprisingly beating out compensation.
Looking a little deeper:
Invest some time reflecting on effective shift schedule design, considering the full range of shifts appropriate to your company, from day and night to split and rotating. Can you use tech to give your workers a little more control over their scheduling to help them align work with their personal lives? Where the role makes it possible, can you allow and encourage remote working for part of the week?
You’re likely already incorporating a fair chunk of new tech across your business, particularly in boosting the resilience of your supply chain. But there’s always space to do more, especially if it can make your workers’ tasks easier.
Apart from automated scheduling previously mentioned, consider:
Self-service portals. Allow your employees to access their pay, benefits information and other important documents whenever they like.
Automatic notifications. Keep employees in the loop with automatic notifications, whether it's a shift change or a safety alert.
Equipment monitoring & predictive maintenance. Equipment breakdowns are a big headache for you and your employees. By implementing automated equipment monitoring and predictive maintenance, you can detect problems before they become major issues and minimise downtime.
Streamline systems. Once you start looking, you’ll see there are many other areas that can benefit from a little streamlining. It might be around performance management to help your staff understand what’s expected of them, receive regular performance feedback, and set achievable goals for their career growth and development. Or it could be automated communication channels to help employees feel more connected to their colleagues, managers and the company at large. This might include regular team meetings, company-wide newsletters, and social media channels for sharing updates and feedback.
If you were to ask a Gen Z or even a Millennial their top five career options, it’s very unlikely logistics is going to make the cut. And one of the reasons for this is because it doesn’t have a clearly defined career path.
A great way to not only retain the workers you have, but attract new ones, is to give them opportunities to learn and grow within your company. Consider offering training programs and mentorships. Implement personalised development plans, helping staff set individual goals and giving them a pathway to achieve them. For instance, you might find some staff are happy with their technical abilities but want to work on their soft skill competencies, such as collaboration, people management or training others.
We hope these key retention strategies will help you improve employee retention. Given that logistics is primarily a people-centric industry, it's critical to prioritise employee satisfaction, engagement, and motivation. When employees feel content and invested in their work, their likelihood of remaining with the company for an extended period increases significantly.
Should you need additional help in implementing these retention strategies, or filling your open logistics jobs, our Pace recruitment specialists are always up for a chat.