When it comes to warehousing, few fulfillment centers succeed without adapting to change. In 2021, labor shortages especially challenged warehouses to stay on their toes to mitigate lost productivity.
To continue adapting, warehouses will need to "rescale" their workforce as needed. By teaching new skills to employees, supply chains can remain resilient and persevere through disruption. Here are six important ways warehouses can rescale their workforce.
1. Begin by fostering a culture of learning
The best learning environments are those that embrace education. In fact, Deloitte research shows that companies with strong learning cultures are 92% more likely to innovate than others. An employee in such an environment will be able to turn information into actionable knowledge much faster than the competition.
Warehouses should emphasize learning opportunities at the heart of their company culture. In turn, workers will feel comfortable seeking out a chance to acquire new skills.
2. Implement a cross-training program
Per Gallup, the cost of replacing an employee can range from one-half to double their annual salary. This is an especially big concern for warehouses struggling to fill gaps in their workforce during the labor shortage.
Cross-training is a great way to refresh employees and improve retention. Teaching an employee a new warehouse skill not only mitigates much of the lost productivity, it also keeps them feeling refreshed. When a warehouse associate quits or is absent, another workers can perform their duties without missing a beat.
3. Provide mentorship opportunities
Throughout their careers in the fulfillment industry, experienced workers will obtain vast amounts of knowledge on the job. Those employees are valuable resources when it comes time to rescale the workforce. By pairing experienced associates with younger employees you can transfer their knowledge and effectively teach them new tips, tricks and skills.
4. Leverage your most talented employees
High-potential employees are not a dime a dozen. When you identify a talented worker, it's best to hold onto them and foster their professional development. Standout employees not only perform more efficiently than most, they also seek out talent and promote the development of others. Make an example of your star workers and ask them to take others under their wing.
5. Accommodate different learning styles
No two employees are exactly the same. Some may be visual learners, whereas others absorb most effectively through action. Strategize how to best teach individuals based on their learning preferences and take this into account when you start to rescale.
6. Incentivize learning opportunities
Of course, it's always good to reward workers for taking the initiative. By providing incentives, you can attract talent to new opportunities and promote a culture of learning. What's more, a little positive reinforcement and public recognition goes a long way toward retaining talent and educating the workforce.