How Successful Distribution Companies Hire for Warehouse Jobs

The 7-Step Hiring and Retention Strategy

Traditionally, warehouse jobs have experienced higher turnover levels than most businesses. This turnover rate has not eased over the last decade.

Notwithstanding the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that the unemployment rate fell from 10% to less than 4% in the 10 years to 2019. Meanwhile, during the five years to 2019, the number of warehouse jobs has increased by a huge 46% over the last five years.

Lower supply of employees and a higher demand for them has led to higher staff turnover rates.

The question is, how do you combat this? How do successful distribution companies hire and retain employees in their warehouse jobs?

Here’s a seven-step strategy to improve your hiring and retention.

1.    Use Your Employee Data

You’ve got a lot of information about current and previous employees. Analysis of this data should help you discover:

  • How employees perform their tasks
  • What skills make your employees most productive
  • What qualities make employees good team members
  • Why staff leave the company

This data provides a good starting point in developing an image of your ideal warehouse employee, and the things that you do or provide that makes you attractive as an employer.

2.    Craft an Enticing Job Description

Using the data analyzed, compose a job description that is attractive to potential candidates. Describe the skills and experience you seek, and the duties and responsibilities of the role to be filled.

Make sure to include the positive elements that your longest-serving employees enjoy. For example, this may be things like ‘a positive and supportive management’, ‘a great team spirit’, ‘flexible shift patterns’, etc.

3.    Hire for Today and Tomorrow

Modern warehouses employ a web of technology that employees are expected to use effectively. The amount and scope of tech within a warehouse is likely to evolve even further in coming years. Therefore, hire candidates who can use today’s technology but are capable of adapting and learning for the technology deploying in the future.

4.    Set Your Salary at the Right Level

According to SHRM, the number one reason why people leave their jobs is to improve their pay. If your data tells you that more people are leaving your company voluntarily within the first year now than two or three years ago, it could be a sign that your salary scale is no longer competitive.

Setting your salary at a competitive level is essential to retain existing employees and attract new recruits.

5.    Use Effective Screening Processes

When you start receiving applications, you’ll need to screen them effectively before inviting for interview.

The first step is to review resumes and compare to your required and desired skills and experience. Send polite rejection letters to those who don’t make the grade.

Next, take the time to conduct screening phone or video interviews. These should be designed to confirm the skills and experience that the candidate has stated on their resume.

This type of screening process is simple but effective, and will help you to reduce the list of applicants to those who are most suitable for the role, based upon your carefully selected criteria.

6.    Interview Consciously

Design interviews to test knowledge, skills, experience, and, equally importantly, personality. You want to be sure that the hire will fit in with your company’s culture and with their new team members.

Craft questions that encourage candidates to engage in a conversation and that allow you to learn more about them. Ask behavioral questions that help you assess the candidate’s character and personality.

Also, take note of the questions they ask you – these demonstrate their enthusiasm to become part of your team.

Throughout your interview process, be consistent. Ask the same questions of each candidate, and decide on a ‘scoring system’ beforehand. This will help to remove negative biases and subjectivity, as well as give you a record to look back on when comparing candidates.

7.    Grow Your People

Don’t fail to deliver on the promise of your job description. Let your people know that they are valued. Provide opportunities for personal growth, recognize good performance, and encourage them to share their ideas to improve processes and practices in the distribution center.

Where Should You Start?

Employee turnover is a massive cost to business. Gallup estimates this cost to be around $1 trillion each year in the US economy. Therefore, an effective hiring and retention strategy is crucial to your business, delivering results that flow straight to your bottom line.

The seven step-strategy that we have outlined in this article has the potential to deliver better hires and improve your employee retention numbers. To get started, contact Everest today, and ask about how we partner with our clients, source, and screen prospective candidates, and engage with you at every step of the hiring process.