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4 ways to bring new warehouse hires up to speed


A forklift operator lifting product.

As we barrel toward the approaching holiday season, warehouses prepare for their busiest time of the year. But amid the "Great Resignation," staffing shortages continue to pose a threat to productivity.

Those that are fortunate to fill their warehouses with new hires are facing the challenge of training while maintaining production. So, how can you bring new hires up to speed in the short-term, while setting your warehouse up for long-term developmental success? Read on for a few tips.

1. Think logistically when setting expectations
During the onboarding process, it's important to set very specific and clear goals for new employees to meet. Establish them ahead of time, 30, 60 or 90 days out to give new workers something to strive toward as they improve upon their performance.

Give new hires realistic expectations and set them up for success with the appropriate resources. According to the Human Capital Institute, 20% of new hires will quit within the first 45 days of employment for reasons including a lack of clarity and limited opportunity for self-improvement. By establishing expectations early, you help set up both you and your new hire for optimal performance.

2. Use hands-on learning opportunities
Visual learning is often the most effective form of education. Online learning, however, is only 96% as effective as in-person face-to-face interaction, per the American Journal of Distance Education.

By training employees with mock warehouse procedures, businesses can teach workers the ins and outs of warehouse technology without sacrificing live production. In doing so, managers can eliminate any guesswork that won't only stifle production, but could also pose a threat to health and safety.

3. Have patience with your onboarding employees
Warehouse training, like any profession, is more of a journey than a race, even if production quotas make you feel otherwise. The only way to create and retain valuable and knowledgeable workers is by nurturing their development.

Make managers present and available, but without the pressure of constant surveillance. While your workers develop their skills, don't overwhelm them by offloading too much work too fast.

4. Provide similar resources to the seasoned veterans
The existing warehouse staff deserve every opportunity to continue their own professional development, too. The best way to train new hires is by retaining as many good employees as possible. By passing along institutional knowledge and know-how, they help management develop a new class of warehouse professionals.

Keeping these valuable workers happy is key to successful employee retention. But before a warehouse can retain, first it must foster. In doing so, warehouse productivity, efficiency and retention will all reap the benefits.