Let’s face it. Amazon pays more.
But you can provide something they won’t. A workday that leaves them whole in spirit and body. Respect. The real possibility that they’ll be better off overall as a result of taking the job.
When you have high morale in the warehouse, it tends to multiply itself. You see referrals. People stick around. Unfortunately, when you have low morale, that multiplies as well. Workers ghost. You don’t get enough applicants, and those that do apply don’t have the best attitude.
The classic assumption is that warehouse staffing has to be a mess. There’s just no other way it can be.
As a result, a lot of companies:
- Only look for workers in the same places as their competitors.
- Don’t understand what candidates really want.
- Put little thought into the wording of their job descriptions.
- Have employees start unprepared on their first day.
- End up completely reliant on temporary staffing agencies.
And in the absence of a compelling offer from anyone, candidates go for the position with the highest pay or the lowest expectations.
To turn this around, warehouse managers first have to recognize that there are motivated candidates out there. They just have to change the way they view the problem. It's not fundamentally about willingness to work, but about trust. Workers need to know that their health and quality of life will be taken seriously, and that their hard work will be recognized.
The Best Way to Use Warehouse Staffing Agencies
Temporary staffing agencies can be a powerful tool in your recruitment arsenal. They provide the flexibility to scale your workforce up or down as demand fluctuates, have pre-screened candidates ready for deployment, and can significantly reduce your recruitment time.
However, reliance on temporary staffing solutions can lead to a precarious situation. This setup can engender a revolving door culture, higher overall costs, and a loss of process familiarity, ultimately impacting the efficiency and productivity of your warehouse.
Despite these potential pitfalls, staffing agencies can be used strategically to benefit your warehouse. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Supplement, Don't Replace: Use agencies to supplement your workforce during peak seasons or to cover sudden demand spikes. However, the core of your workforce should still be full-time, directly employed staff.
- Trial Periods: Agencies can be useful for trying out potential new hires. If a temp worker shows promise, consider offering them a full-time role. This can reduce your hiring risk.
- Specialized Roles: For temporary specialized roles that your current workforce can't fill, an agency might be a good solution. It saves you from making a long-term commitment for short-term needs.
Where to Look for Warehouse Employees
Warehouse work demands physical stamina and mental grit.
The right employees aren't always the ones scanning job sites. Sometimes, they're individuals who haven’t even considered warehouse work yet.
Here’s a few examples of unconventional places you might consider posting job ads:
- Veterans' Groups: Veterans understand discipline, hard work, and pressure. Offer them dependable work, honest pay, and a team that values their service and skills.
- Gyms: People who are used to pushing their physical limits might appreciate a job that helps them maintain their strength and fitness levels while earning a living.
- English as a second language schools: These students’ commitment to learning implies adaptability and a strong work ethic, and they’re likely to appreciate a stable income.
- Local Facebook groups: An excellent way to build trust in the community. People tag their friends and family members, and your job posts become a conversation.
Used in tandem with the traditional channels, these avenues can increase the variety, quality and quantity of applications.
How to Write Better Job Descriptions
When you're advertising for warehouse workers, cut the fluff. Keep it straight, keep it honest.
Start by acknowledging the challenges of the role. Warehouse work is tough – there’s no sugarcoating it. By openly recognizing this, you're showing that you value the effort it takes.
Experience is good, but don't make it a barrier to entry. A solid attitude often goes further. Encourage applicants who are willing to roll up their sleeves, learn the ropes and get their hands dirty.
Avoid hiding behind jargon or impersonal descriptions. Talk about the crew they'll be joining. Describe the warehouse - whether it's a high-tech environment with climate control, or an older facility. Be upfront about where they'll be spending their workday.
Being transparent about schedules is also a good idea. Day shift, early mornings, or unpredictable hours - whatever it is, make it clear. Acknowledge the impact these hours can have and highlight any balancing factors, like the possibility of overtime.
If your process includes pre-employment checks, go ahead and mention them. Just don't drop it like a warning at the end of the ad – integrate it organically in a neutral, matter-of-fact way.
If you have a great safety record, let that shine through in a personal, believable way. It shouldn't sound like a lawyer wrote it.
Finally, make sure you outline the steps in your recruitment process and assure applicants you won't leave them hanging for months. This helps set the tone for your relationship, one where clear communication and respect are the norm.
Making the Job More Attractive for Warehouse Workers
Workers cite higher pay as the biggest reason for changing jobs.
They’re taking a risk when they choose a new employer over one they already know. Even if their workday is barely tolerable now, there’s a chance it could be even worse at the next place.
That is to say, higher pay is only really enticing when a worker is already pretty unhappy.
Higher pay feels like ‘a step in the right direction.’ It’s the clearest and most measurable component workers can use to compare different opportunities.
So if you can’t offer higher pay than other employers in your area, you have to do something better. You have to make a stronger case for being a step in the right direction.
What can you give them that other warehouses can’t?
- Coaching - Most warehouse managers report not having time to coach employees, especially since it’s unlikely many of them will stay. But how much time would you save with a self-sufficient team that does stick around because they’re learning leadership, process methodologies or technical skills?
- Security - Even if you can’t offer permanent positions with fixed hours, you can provide a decent level of stability by knowing your needs in advance and reducing your reliance on agencies.
- Getting home on time - The majority of workers prefer something like a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Lots of warehouses can’t offer that because of fluctuating workloads or bottlenecks in shipping and receiving.
- Better equipment and ergonomics - For one thing, workers understand that less stress and physical strain means fewer medical bills. With good tools, they can get the work done and make the most of their time off.
- High trust - When workers feel like they’re constantly being watched, it can create a tense atmosphere. If you want to build mutual respect, you have to know what needs to get done and communicate that to your team in a fair and honest way. Give them a chance to take pride in their work.
Optimizing the Warehouse Recruiting Process
There's pressure to rush through hiring. Pallets are piling up, orders are coming in, and you need more hands on the floor. But this hurry could be the reason why you're back to square one every couple of months.
It’s tempting to fast-track referrals. But relying too heavily on them might narrow your vision, and you could overlook the chance of sourcing standout candidates from further afield.
Experience is beneficial, but it's not the whole picture. A fresh candidate with a strong work ethic and positive attitude might offer more value in the long run.
If you haven't been conducting proper interviews as part of your hiring process, it might be time to rethink that. It doesn’t have to be formal, but a one-on-one meeting is your chance to set expectations and lay the foundations for a solid working relationship. You can gauge their character, find out what they’re hoping to get out of the job, and get an insight into how they prefer to be managed.
While it might demand more effort initially, adopting a more intentional approach to warehouse recruitment soon pays off: you get a more resilient team, lower turnover, and heightened productivity.
But How Do You Even Find Time for Warehouse Recruitment?
Every warehouse manager knows the feeling: the clock seems to be working against you, and there's not enough hours in the day to do everything.
Making time to focus on hiring and coaching may seem like a luxury you simply cannot afford.
But what if the pressure could be relieved from some of those operational demands? Enter DataDocks. Our dock scheduling software is designed to streamline shipping and receiving at your loading dock. By incentivizing carriers to make and stick to appointments, it mitigates the bottlenecks in loading dock operations.
These processes represent some of the most unpredictable elements in warehouse operations. With the loading dock under control, management time can be put towards process improvement, strategy, and of course, hiring and coaching.
To learn more about what dock scheduling can do for your facility, book a demo with the DataDocks team or call us on (+1) 647 848-8250.