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How to create a positive warehouse environment

By: Grant King - IndustrySearch Writer
20 February, 2015

It's a fact: happy workers are productive workers. They're more focussed, make less mistakes, have less accidents and are far more likely to be long serving, loyal employees.

So here are a few ways you can turn your warehouse into a hothouse of positivity.

Don't re-train – retain

It's far easier and more profitable to keep the people you have than to constantly re-train new ones. Every new employee takes time to gel, learn their craft and feel comfortable with their co-workers. Likewise a new kid on the block can unsettle the old kids. Create a caring culture where workers feel worthy, wanted and, most importantly, rewarded. Then the only thing that will leave is recruitment headaches.

Hand out maps, not handbooks

When you do recruit new people, don't throw them a mission statement and tell them to get on with it. Show them exactly what the first three weeks of their new job will look like and what is expected of them. Invest time in them from the very beginning. They'll set a better pace for their ongoing career and you'll turn new hands into old hands in half the time.

Start a safety incentive program

Split your warehouse into teams according to shifts or roles. Every quarter a worker goes accident-free, they get a bonus split between themselves and their team. Every quarter the whole team goes accident-free, the size of the bonus goes up or back to zero if there is a mishap. Not only will your workers buy into a safer work ethic (quite literally), the bonuses paid will be more than offset by the crippling lawsuits you don't have to confront.

Start an accuracy incentive program

This works in a similar way to the safety program, but can be individual or team-based depending on your order packing and delivery setup. Workers or teams with an order accuracy rate of 98% or better for any given quarter get a bonus.

Make every day Worker Appreciation Day

Some sites do actually have Worker Appreciation Days. It's a nice idea, but it does make you wonder – what are they doing for the other 364 days each year? Praising workers needs to be a daily habit, not an annual event. It takes more muscles to smile than to frown. Likewise a culture of congratulations can be harder to maintain than one of criticism. Foster worker appreciation and your productivity will appreciate in kind.

Give your drivers an extra gear

If you have your own delivery drivers, chances are they have more regular contact with your clients than anyone, including your sales reps. They represent your company in more places every day and have firsthand contact with more people. So find ways to get them more involved. For a start they could deal with order and credit issues on the spot. They could handle reorders and give good clients free promotional material – beer coolers and calendars. Clients will view your drivers in a new light and the drivers themselves will feel more involved. They're a frontline asset and should be treated as such.

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