6 ways to improve employee engagement you might not have considered

6 ways to improve employee engagement you might not have considered

In a recent blog, we looked at why it’s a good time to review and improve your employee engagement and provided some top tactics for achieving high engagement levels. But there may be other, perhaps less obvious, strategies that you could implement.

  1. Provide the right tools for the job

Are your systems always crashing? Is there too much downtime? Are the phones ancient? Can people get their work done effectively with the systems/processes that are in place? Investing in the right systems and technologies may be difficult when budgets are tight, but this can often be an area that affects engagement levels a lot.  Involve your teams when you are making decisions on new technologies and systems for greater engagement.

  1. Collaborate

Encouraging collaboration between teams makes for a stronger workforce. Get them to improve processes together. Do you have processes that touch different teams? Can they work together to find a more efficient customer focussed approach? It could lead to better working relationships and understanding too.

  1. Invest in training and development

Value the impact that expanding your employees’ knowledge base has. It will improve their weaknesses, drive a higher performance, and, of course, it shows they are valued and will therefore boost morale.

The cost of losing an employee can be high, yet training and development can often be the first thing to go when a business is struggling. Perhaps it would be better to invest in someone than lose them and then spend thousands to replace them?

Online training and e-learning needs to be utilised now more than ever, and it can be a very cost-effective way to develop people. It also creates flexibility around their learning, so they can do it at times convenient for them.

  1. Reap the rewards of recognition

Research shows that 89% of organisations think people leave because of money but only 12% actually do. What people expect is ‘fair’ pay for the job that they do. However, other benefits, rewards and recognition do play an important part.

Things that were viewed as perks in the past, have now become expectations for many – from workplace snacks to flexible working. You must also pick benefits that reflect your organisation’s culture, whether that’s team nights out, wellbeing initiatives or support with childcare. Help people feel secure with critical illness cover and a good sick leave offering so they know you are there in times of need.

You should also be clear on the career paths available. Make sure everyone knows that if they work hard and give passion they can progress if they want to (remember not everyone does!). Have a strong appraisal system and give regular constructive feedback to your employees – do not steer away from difficult conversations.

It’s important to act now. If employees aren’t recognised for their hard work during these times – their passion, stamina and focus may diminish. Even if it is just a simple thank you, this goes a long way – 79% of people cite lack of recognition as reason for leaving their jobs. Make recognition for a good job done the norm. You should also promote it among your teams – get them to say thank you and celebrate each other too.

  1. Demonstrate corporate responsibility

Showing that you care is key for employee engagement, so it’s important to get your corporate and social responsibility strategy right.

For instance, ensure you have a strong health and safety strategy with goals for accident reductions, clear return to work processes, and absence management. Look at ways to enhance wellbeing, improve organisational resilience, develop better work life balance, and reduce individual burnout. You should also put into place good HR policies around performance management, equal opportunities, and bullying/harassment, for instance.

Similarly, find ways to show that you care about others as this is also very valued by employees. Ensure that you have good engagement with, and give back to, the local community. You could support charitable work, perhaps by offering employees days off for volunteering, and should ensure you have clear environmental and sustainability strategies.

  1. Lead from the front

Employee engagement is mostly driven by the leaders and managers around them, so you must be clear on your company objectives. Make sure your employees know how they can contribute towards them and how they will benefit. You are the face of change, so ensure the reasons behind any change are always clearly communicated.

Everyone’s role is essential, so show employees they are valued by considering their perspective. Stand on their mountain! You may both be on the top of a mountain but the view from yours and the view from theirs may be very different. Bear that in mind.

Engagement attracts talent

Good employee engagement is also a crucial part of attracting the right talent.  Positive employee word of mouth travels fast and is one of the best ways to attract the right people to your organisation.

When it comes to recruitment advertisements, tell people about your high engagement levels! But also think about how the language and images you use in your marketing come across, and if they accurately showcase your company’s passion, culture, and diversity. At interviews and assessment days, you should also communicate to potential employees how they can make a difference when they join your company, and that your business has the values they find important.

When it’s possible, also think about community outreach. Getting into local schools and colleges is a great chance to support your youth employment by talking to young people about the sector and the opportunities it offers.

More ways to improve engagement

We have a free resource with lots of advice on how to successfully plan and implement employee engagement strategies that you can download here. Or to learn more about retaining the brilliant talent you already have and how to place focus on this area in your business, watch our ‘How to Retain Talent Through Employee Engagement Webinar’ here.


How to attract and retain talent through employee engagement

How to attract and retain talent through employee engagement

It is an interesting time for the logistics, transport and warehousing industry.  We know that recruitment is down, that many large organisations are shifting resource from quieter contracts to busier ones, and that we are likely to experience a very bad recession that will affect employment rates in the industry.

We are also contending with poor perception of the industry, with limited knowledge of career opportunities among young people, teachers, and parents. Generally, we have not been great at attracting young and fresh talent and are not brilliant at retaining our people – attrition levels in warehousing and transport, for example, can be very high.

This presents us with an opportunity to make changes for the better. There is currently a better perception of the industry, with many roles being recognised as key workers and people starting to see what can happen when a supply chain is put under pressure. Now is an ideal chance to get ready for when things will improve in the economy.

It’s time to review our employer branding and improve our employee engagement strategies so that when employment stabilises and recruitment is on the up, the logistics industry is ready for it.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement represents the levels of enthusiasm and connection employees have with their organisation. It’s a measure of how motivated people are to put in extra effort for their organisation, and a sign of how committed they are to staying with you.*

Highly engaged employees tend to be loyal and committed. They are highly productive and have a good retention rate. There are also passive employees, who are productive but not connected. They will be absent more, and more likely to leave than those who are engaged.

Then there are actively disengaged employees, who are present but absent. They are often unhappy and want everyone to know about it. These people can be toxic to your organisation.

Are my employees engaged?

A quick way to measure engagement is to consider how members of your team would answer the following questions:

  • Am I proud to work for the company?
  • Would I recommend the company as a great place to work?
  • Do I ever think about leaving?
  • Do I envisage myself still being here in 2 years’ time?
  • Do I feel motivated to go above and beyond?

If you think the responses wouldn’t be great, then maybe it’s time to take a look at your employee engagement strategy.  Also, answer them yourself? Are you engaged?

What are the business benefits of employee engagement?

The survival of your business may feel like the top priority, especially at the moment, and may come above employee engagement.  However, people create business value – that is indisputable. People are also emotional and fickle and want to be won over. That is why employee engagement can be what differentiates in both times of stability, and in times of disruption and rapid change.

Did you know that in one piece of research, companies with engagement scores in the top quartile had twice the annual net profit than those in bottom quartile? Generally, we see that companies with good employee engagement benefit from:

  • Higher staff retention
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Improved wellness
  • Higher productivity
  • Better safety performance
  • Higher customer satisfaction leading to fewer complaints
  • Increased revenue/sales

 How to achieve high levels of engagement

Listen, respond, act

It’s important to give your workforce a voice. Remember, at the moment, everyone has their own challenges, so encourage open conversations that enable your people to bring their best self to work. As a leader, you should demonstrate active listening, responsiveness and decisive action taking.

Empower your employees

Empowering your workforce also plays a big part. Provide your employees with opportunities, projects, and tasks that make them want to log-in or come to work each day. This encourages them to do their best work and gives the autonomy that many crave.

Do you encourage your people to look for new and innovative ways to do things and involve them in continuous improvement  processes? If not, trust your staff to develop and implement solutions. Maybe you could create continuous improvement champions?

Let opinions be heard

Remember, employees often have the answers! Let them help you to survive, grow, innovate, and succeed. Let them influence your future strategies. For instance, when you roll out a new product or process, invite employee feedback and comment to help snag issues.

Engagement surveys

Some say that employee engagement surveys are dead, but we don’t personally agree. We think they can be very useful, especially where we have largely all been more distant than usual for some time.

Surveys are a great way to hear people’s thoughts, but time has to be spent understanding why you are doing them and what you want to achieve. Careful consideration needs to be applied when designing the question set and you need to make sure they are always followed up. If you don’t, then there is no point doing them.

You don’t always have to do one big annual survey. Regular touchpoints are great too – short snappy surveys on dedicated themes work well. But if you do an annual survey, it’s good to also complete a snap survey part way through the year to see if things you are changing are making a difference.

We have a free resource with lots of advice on how to successfully plan and implement employee engagement surveys that you can download now. Or to learn more about retaining the brilliant talent you already have and how to place focus on this area in your business, watch our ‘How to Retain Talent Through Employee Engagement Webinar’ here.


Appraising Appraisals: why your operation should consider using them

Appraising Appraisals: why your operation should consider using them

Appraisal systems are a widely used tool in the business world. But in recent years, they have begun to fall out of favour in some leading organisations. Dell, Microsoft, IBM and Gap have all abandoned appraisals in recent years. Is the time right to give appraisals the boot? Or is there a better option? And can we make them work for our transport, warehousing and logistics operations?

Why Appraisals?

The concept behind appraisals makes sense. As employees we are often told that appraisals are a resource.

An appraisals system gives us a way to try and make the most of that resource. This includes a means of measuring performance or progress and providing useful feedback.

Appraisals can help in identifying problem areas or employee strengths that can be harnessed. The right support at the right time can help turn stragglers into leaders or boost contenders into champions. Appraisals are a great way to take a breath and pause for a moment while you consider: how am I doing?

Some supporters even argue that appraisals can motivate employees if they are tied to compensation systems but – for reasons we are about to get into – we strongly advise against linking the two.

Issues with Appraisals

Despite the seemingly clear advantages of such a system, appraisal systems have been criticised in recent years. Most of the criticisms seem to focus not so much on the idea of checking in to give feedback as to the methods that are used and the tendency to use appraisal as an ‘employee ranking’ system.

Many appraisal systems rely on managers giving their employees rating or scores. Coming up with a decent set of criteria to judge employees by is hard. If you get it wrong, you may not be able to judge performance fairly. That can be a big stress for both managers and employees. Plus, if the managers in your team have even slightly different priorities, personalities or viewpoints, they might evaluate exactly the same performance two different ways. That’s bad news if you are tying appraisal systems to rewards or rankings; it just isn’t fair, and everyone will be able to see it. A poorly designed appraisal system is worse than a waste of time. It’s a big demotivator.

So how do you get around these problems? If you want the benefits but none of the headaches, here are a few pointers.

Give up on the grail of objectivity

One of the biggest problems with many appraisals systems is that they are meant to be objective. But the systems put in place to achieve this often ignore a simple fact – managers are human. Their judgements are subjective and personal. Perhaps a more sensible approach is to lean into that and abandon the idea of coming up with a precise, scientific system for ranking employees against each other. Instead, use the process to take stock, check in with how employees are feeling, identify potential issues and opportunities, and find areas for growth.

Avoid criteria and scoring systems altogether

The problem here is that we’re not machines. Measuring performance isn’t like measuring fuel consumption. People are complex. There are simply too many variables at play to measure everything. And how do you even measure something like motivation or skills development? Rather than trying to break a job (or a person) down into a set of categories, look at things holistically. Fortunately, people are much better than machines at two crucial things: storytelling and big picture thinking. Don’t bother with stats and tables. Focus on talking through real events which have happened, and use those as a springboard for personal reflection, goal-setting and coaching.

Keep it Simple, Rinse and Repeat

It can be tempting to try and micromanage, but avoid this temptation. Lengthy, excessively formal appraisal systems are a lot of work. That means they are an opportunity cost. You spend time doing them instead of doing something else. In order to justify appraisal, it actually needs to help make you money! So do it, but use a light touch. Don’t fall for heavyweight, all-singing all-dancing approaches. Even if they work properly, they’re unlikely to be worth the cost. And frequently, they cause more problems than they are worth.

Better systems are agile, quick to implement, and easy to repeat. Check in little and often. Evidence from the education sector tells us feedback is vastly more useful when you get it soon after a learning experience. Wait too long, and the opportunity is lost. Having frequent check-ins can also help create a feeling of connection between managers and employees. They show the team is invested in making things work, together.

To help implement appraisals systems into your SME operation, we have identified a few useful resources to help get you started.

For further guidance and support, a range of useful resources can be found on the Talent in Logistics website here.


How to lead a culture of wellbeing and resilience

How to lead a culture of wellbeing and resilience

From hospitality to manufacturing, healthcare to construction, many industries are struggling to recruit the talent needed. The transport, warehousing, and logistics industry is no exception. So, what strategies can small, medium or large businesses adopt to tackle this issue that they haven’t tried before?

One solution that is, unsurprisingly, suggested is increased pay. During post-BREXIT LGV/HGV driver shortages, the UK Government suggested that better pay and conditions may attract more people into these roles. It encouraged businesses to make “long-term investments” in the workforce.

Yet just raising pay is not always an option in financially uncertain times. Moreover, various research shows that money is only one factor in employee satisfaction, recruitment, and retention, and not necessarily the most important.

So, what if businesses in the logistics industry took a different approach, and instead of a long-term investment in pay and bonuses, invested in creating a culture of wellbeing and resilience in their organisations to truly look after the workforce? After all, an organisation’s most valuable asset is its people.

Wellbeing – why bother?

Wellbeing is not just about site safety and preventing workplace accidents. It is about the physical, emotional, and mental health of employees, day in, day out.

This falls within the overall ‘duty of care’ that an employer has to employees. As such, many larger organisations, particularly those with dedicated HR teams, will have some practices and schemes in place to support this. However, wellbeing culture is achievable to logistics organisations of any size.

A bad culture around employee wellbeing can be extremely detrimental to your business. Low employee wellbeing results in:

  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Lower employee engagement levels
  • High staff turnover
  • Increased mistakes and errors
  • Decreased productivity
  • Higher sickness and absence levels
  • Poor customer service
  • Negative company reputation
  • Reduced profits.

Some employers believe the solution is to invest in fitness-based wellness programs for their team. However, with much of the logistics workforce struggling with long hours, shift work, and poor work-life balance, taking advantage of such schemes is often unachievable. And if employees cannot embrace this type of wellbeing initiative, how can they, and the business, benefit?

The more effective alternative is to start by creating the right culture.

We can think of workplace culture as the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that make up the usual working atmosphere and dictate what it really means to be an employee at that business. This might not be what is captured in the employee handbook, but more the unspoken set of rules about how things are done, and how employees act.

When wellbeing becomes a core part of that culture, businesses can experience benefits such as more enthusiastic participation, greater peer support, more effective managers, and better business results.

To introduce wellbeing into company culture, logistics employers can follow three steps.

  1. Understand the existing workplace wellbeing culture

Investigate first how your business currently supports or discourages wellbeing.

For instance:

  • Are staff working long hours for low pay?
  • Can they take annual leave when they need to?
  • Are they expected to respond to calls or emails outside of working hours?
  • Are they really motivated, or actually unduly stressed?
  • Is job insecurity causing worry?
  • Do they feel their manager cares about their wellbeing?

Conducting employee surveys or group discussions is invaluable for gathering these insights.

  1. Develop wellbeing initiatives for YOUR employees

Different workforces may face slightly different struggles. For instance, if stress is identified in the employee survey as the key issue, there are different ways to tackle this.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines workplace stress as “…The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work…”. It can result in decreased productivity and reduction in physical or mental health. For some, resilience training may be helpful. Whereas stress prevention, or support services for those with stress may better suit some companies.

If mental ill-health such as depression or anxiety is rife, greater wellbeing will be achieved through open communication with management and creating an environment free from stigma. Having trained mental health first-aiders in the workplace will also help.

However, maybe you identify that employees feel isolated or need a greater sense of purpose for their individual wellbeing. In these cases, company culture should include opportunities for teams to regularly connect and socialise, and opportunities for new responsibilities, professional development, and personal achievement.

Whatever the challenges, when your management has ideas for wellbeing initiatives, ask employees for their opinions. Involving them in the development of these schemes helps create a sense of ownership and greater engagement.

  1. Set the example from management level

Research has shown that having a supportive manager is incredibly important to many workers in logistics. Managers also play a vital role in defining company culture.

Therefore, they must understand the importance of employee wellbeing, and receive training on this if needed. Many may simply be unaware that greater wellbeing is often more effective for achieving measurable business success than getting employees working longer hours.

Moreover, they should lead by example, ensuring that they practice what they preach when it comes to wellbeing. And of course, communication is key for managers to create a supportive work environment for their teams with open dialogue around wellbeing.

Leading permanent change

Rather than focusing only on “the numbers”, businesses have an opportunity to create lasting cultural change by turning their attention to their people.

Once wellbeing is embedded within a company’s culture, it needs to be maintained through the right monitoring and management. This is what turns an initiative into a permanent change for the better. A change that results in improved employee retention, and a more attractive workplace for the new talent our industry really needs.

Free logistics HR resources

For more ideas on improving employee engagement, evolving company cultures, or talent acquisition, check out our free Talent in Logistics resources.

Why EDI matters NOW in warehousing, transport, and logistics

Why EDI matters NOW in warehousing, transport, and logistics

The warehousing, transport, and logistics industry is facing skills shortages. Many are putting recruitment and reskilling initiatives in place to try and fill roles, yet are still left asking ‘Where are we going to get our people from?’.

One issue with bridging these skills gaps is the perceived talent pool. Typically, the workforce in is dominated by people who identify as ethnically white (91% – Logistics UK) and male (anywhere from 85% to 94% in different studies). Some roles are also predominantly carried out by an ageing workforce.

It’s easy to assume therefore that these are the people that must be recruited. So, that’s who wants the job, and likes the job, and this approach always worked before. Right? Yet replacing ‘like with like’ is not working, and not solving the skills crisis.

This is exactly why equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) matters in our industry now more than ever. EDI opens doors to a wider talent pool, makes you a more attractive employer, and provides a positive working culture that retains valuable people.

We’ve established that we need to widen the talent pool and recruit from a more diverse group of people. So, who are they? And how does this translate into a more inclusive workplace?

Closing the gender gap

Women are underrepresented in the logistics industry. According to Logistics UK, less than 14% of employees are female, and there is a low proportion of female leaders. This is an opportunity for employers. Firstly, it’s an untapped well of potential talent. Secondly, it’s a chance to create a more diverse and welcoming workforce that is more profitable too. Research by PwC showed that there is a link between a more gender-balanced workforce and higher financial returns.

What’s more, research showed that women in leadership roles in logistics are rated higher in the majority of core competencies than their male colleagues. They are excelling in areas such as empathy, clear direction, constructive feedback, trust, and teamwork. We can surely agree that talented leaders result in better teams, and in turn a better culture.

In addition, creating a culture made up with both male and female leadership, where positive role models of all genders can influence the company culture will be far more appealing than the perceived logistics ‘boys club’. Ensuring pay equality, could also encourage more women into roles in logistics.

It is great to see that some organisations are putting specific measures in place to address gender inequality. For example, FedEx launched the UK’s Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN). The network enables women in the business to share their experiences and learn from one another. PD Ports also recently announced a company-wide diversity pledge that includes addressing gender imbalance.

Enabling disability recruitment

One important potential talent pool that is left largely untapped is working-age people with a disability. More than 4 million people with a disability in the UK are currently looking for work.  These are potentially skilled, loyal, and hardworking employees in the making.

Employers may have different reasons why they historically haven’t considered actively recruiting from this group, whether that is due to uncertainties about ability or the day-to-day requirements of those with disabilities or health conditions.

However, the government offers guidance and resources to support with this. . By helping businesses to encourage a shift in attitudes, behaviours, and cultures, they can then draw from the widest pool of talent. At the same time, this inclusive approach also shows existing employees that you have a culture of equality and fairness. In turn, this can help improve morale and employee engagement, supporting greater retention in the existing workforce.

Think differently about thinking differently

Employers are perhaps not embracing the advantages of neurodiversity in the workforce as much as they could.

Around 15% of the UK population is estimated to be neurodivergent. This means that their brains function, learn, and process information differently. This includes people with Attention Deficit Disorders (ADHD), Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. Neurodivergent people can often bring different ways of thinking, challenge process norms, display a high level of attention to detail and become loyal, committed employees.

By learning more about neurodiversity (and taking steps to better support it), both employers and employees in the workplace will benefit hugely. Making accommodations and being flexible helps support a culture of EDI that neurodivergent employees can thrive in. It can be as simple as finding ways to communicate that employees are comfortable with, and considering this during the recruitment phase as well. Everybody is different, so what one person might be comfortable with, another might find difficult. Treating people as individuals is key.

Act on LGBTQ+ equality

Research by campaigning charity Stonewall found that many workers in the UK continue to feel discriminated against for their sexuality or gender identity. Creating a culture of EDI creates a workplace where this doesn’t have to be an issue, making you an attractive employer to a range of people that would be uncomfortable in a workplace with inaccurate binary divisions.

In the Stonewall study, 35% of LGBT staff say they have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT within the workplace. Many said they would not feel confident reporting homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying to their employer. So, it’s vital that we address this with managers who are approachable, and workplaces based on a culture of respect, with zero tolerance for certain language and behaviours.

Beyond that, a truly inclusive workplace should celebrate diversity. For instance, enabling non-binary or trans people to wear work attire that reflects their gender expression can help ensure every employee can truly feel themselves in the workplace.

Attracting a fresh generation of talent

According to Logistics UK, ‘80% of millennials believe a diversity and inclusion policy is important when deciding to work for a company’. Therefore, the measures above will not only help make a business more attractive to underrepresented groups, but to a whole a new generation of young talent.

An important consideration at this point is also unconscious bias. It is easy to deliberately look for employees that are, on the surface, similar to those you already have. However, by doing this, employers can be ruling out people with the right attributes for roles. As well as this ‘conscious’ bias, unconscious bias can also be problematic. Unconscious bias is a learned stereotype that is automatic and unintentional, significantly affecting your behaviour and decisions.

To tackle this, unbiased recruitment is essential. Employers could consider reviewing applications ‘blind’ for example. So as not to be influenced by a person’s name, age, gender, or where they live. This allows employers to see the potential in people, without any judgement. It makes recruitment fair, and potentially widens the talent pool.

In turn, with a more diverse workplace, cultural competence improves across the business. And with a better understanding of others, bias is reduced. Team members will feel empowered to speak up about bias, and it will be clear when potential bias is a problem so that is can be addressed. The result? A more inclusive, happy team.

For further support and advice, including details of conferences that focus on talent attraction and employee engagement, sign up to the Talent in Logistics mailing list.

We support the Big Logistics Diversity Challenge

The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge is an event that Talent in Logistics supports, because it shines a light on EDI. It is a fun team building event, but at its core, has been developed to show how people in our industry work better and excel when they are in diverse teams.

Entering a team in the event is a great way to demonstrate your business’s commitment to EDI, both to your existing team and potential new recruits. Get involved with the Big Logistics Diversity Challenge 2023 here.

Why Attend Industry CPD Events?

Talent in Logistics Develop Conference 2020

Instructors and trainers working in the logistics industry have a lot on their plates. Keeping up with the pace of change takes work. New developments are happening all the time; not only changes to legislation such as those brought about by Brexit, but also advances in eLearning, plus a new emphasis on remote learning due to Covid and climate change, the list goes on. Instructors and trainers need affordable CPD (Continuous Professional Development) that will improve their skills and reduce knowledge gaps.

It might feel like losing a member of your training team for a whole day is too costly, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your team need development to be efficient and to keep your business compliant and competitive. Here are three reasons your instructors and trainers should attend the Talent in Logistics’ ‘Develop’ Conference on 22nd March 2022.

Retain your team

Good instructors and trainers are hard to find. Your instructors and trainers want to feel that they have a future with your company; nothing says that more clearly than investing in their skills.

Another important reason for developing your team is the effect it has on morale. Regularly attending CPD events will help that your team feel valued.

Studies have shown that engaged employees are not only more likely to stay, they’re also healthier, happier and more efficient.

Keep your business compliant

All skills fade, and instructors know this better than anyone. After all, keeping skills fresh across the industry is their bread and butter!  Professional CPD events are an opportunity for instructors and trainers to keep up to date with best practice.

Industry legislation is fast changing due to Brexit, net zero targets, the skills shortage and more. To keep compliant, you need your instructors to have all the very latest information.

Networking Is a Great Way to Grow your Business

Instructors and trainers attending Talent in Logistics’ ‘Develop’ Conference will be engaging with industry experts and peers from across the country. That’s a lot of potential business under one roof!

Attend the ‘Develop’ Conference on 22nd March 2022

Don’t let your instructors and trainers get left behind. Click here to book your tickets now for just £75+VAT, or for more information, contact the team on info@talentinlogistics.co.uk or visit www.talentinlogistics.co.uk/contact/.


Diversity. There has never been a more important time to talk about this issue in the logistics sector. Employment figures for LGV drivers fell by 21,000 in the second quarter alone last year. The driver recruitment crisis has been exacerbated by the one-two punch of a decreased post-Brexit recruitment pool and jobs lost due to the pressures of COVID.

For an industry whose workforce has traditionally drawn only from certain limited demographics, increased diversity may well be not only the best, but the only solution.

But right now, logistics has a serious diversity problem. Talent in Logistics’ own research established an enormous gender gap among drivers: 95% male, 4% female, 1% transgender / prefer not to say. This issue isn’t limited to the drivers; it affects the industry as a whole. According to Logistics UK in 2019 , women comprised 13.7% of the industry workforce. 78% of the national workforce is white; in logistics it is 91%. 32% of LGBT employees in our industry choose to hide their sexual orientation at work.

What’s more, this diversity problem may be self-perpetuating. The younger generation of ‘internal customers’ is more politically and socially conscious. According to Logistics UK, ‘80% of millennials believe a diversity and inclusion policy is important when deciding to work for a company’. In other words, recruitment among all young people, regardless of gender, could be negatively impacted by a lack of diversity.

In order to face problems like this, we need a clear focus on what the terms we use actually mean. Even more so, we need to foster sensitivity to what distinctions mean to the people they are supposed to describe. Our understandings of all of these terms, ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’, ‘ethnicity’, ‘gender’, ‘disability’, ‘sexual orientation’, are developing and changing all the time.

Increasing sensitivity to categories and distinctions like gender non-binary or neurodiverse is eroding stereotypes about who we are as people. Some decry the increasing complexity of our professional and social relationships, but for those of us looking forward, this is a good thing.

The pressure is on to stop relying on problematic, inaccurate binary divisions like white vs BAME, or men vs women, or gay vs straight. Instead of lumping people together in these convenient blocks, we have to respond to people with nuance, as individuals.

Yes, this is more work. But when we start doing this, the benefits can be astonishing. In particular, research has established a strong link between diversity and creativity. A 2017 US study found that diverse teams generate 19% more revenue. The diversity in ideas, perspectives and insights allows teams to better anticipate customer needs.

A diverse team is a team which has more than one way of working effectively, and this is never truer than when diversity is harnessed as a company asset rather than skirted as an uncomfortable issue.

Just as one example, as many as 1 in 20 working age adults in the UK may have ADHD. A lot of attention is given to the less desirable aspects of ADHD, but those with the condition may actually have significant advantages over their peers in higher-order skills, especially creative skills such as divergent thinking. The increased ability to make mental leaps and link together seemingly disconnected ideas is something that can be harnessed whenever thinking outside the box is needed. And even supposed weaknesses, like impulsivity, can be an advantage: those with ADHD will say things others are too afraid to.

So, what can organisations do to break the cycle and improve diversity?

  • The most important thing is to act. Simply paying lip service to diversity or sweeping it under the carpet will not achieve anything
    • Solutions need to be cultural, practical and deeply embedded. And all the stakeholders involved need to be on board
  • TIL’s research suggests attention to work-life balance and flexible working options is essential in the recruitment of women in particular. With flexible working options across other sectors rising in the past year, logistics cannot afford to be left behind
  • Cultures of silence need to be dismantled, and replaced with avenues for communication Our differences need to be addressed sensitively, but they shouldn’t be taboo
  • Workplace policies on disability access need to take into account government support that is available, for instance under Access to Work
  • It should be a company goal for shortlists and interview panels to show greater balance
  • Policies need to consider how a broad variety of needs could be accommodated, including those of transgender, neurodiverse, or physically disabled employees, for instance
  • Finally, policies should aim to enable and embed varied approaches to working, communication and problem solving, so as to get the most out of the differences a team can bring to the table

The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge

Over recent decades barriers have been broken down and, as a society, we have come to realise and accept that not everyone fits the same mould. As a nation we are a diverse mix of genders, abilities and beliefs; so fundamentally it should follow that all employers embrace the wealth of talent available when recruiting and retaining staff.

The Big Diversity Challenge series of events was developed to provide an opportunity for industry organisations to experience a unique way to promote the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion in their workforce.




A recent article appeared in the Huffington Post entitled ‘What Is Toxic Productivity? Here’s How to Spot the Damaging Behaviour.’ For those who haven’t heard of it, toxic productivity is everywhere in our culture: from the pressure to be supermum and wonderdad, to viral tweets condemning those who didn’t come out of the pandemic able to play the tuba while riding a unicycle. Toxic productivity is the little voice in your head that tells you you’re lazy when you don’t fill every second of your day with activity, and every second of your working day with work.

Which is to say, it is cultural, personal, all-pervasive, internal, everywhere and nowhere, and it is costing us a lot. The cost of burnout to productivity, health, and happiness is immense, and 17.9 million work days lost to stress in the UK per year isn’t something an organisation can overlook.

Fortunately, working habits are shifting. The success of work from home over lockdown is causing many businesses to look hard at shifting to hybrid and flexible working policies, and employees are very happy.

On the surface, it may seem like the shift to hybrid and work from home would be a tonic to toxic productivity; after all, with no colleagues or managers watching over your shoulder, what’s to stop you taking it easy? This thinking is doubtless one reason for some employers being so leery of work from home pre-lockdown, and for the proliferation in employee monitoring software and other such invasive techniques for making sure employees don’t skive.

But lockdown didn’t lead to a drop in employee productivity. It turns out most people are broadly responsible, take pride in their work, and are motivated to achieve results. And this is why we are experiencing the opposite problem, now.

Why ‘from home’ means ‘for your toughest boss’

The issue with working from home is that it makes it harder for some employees to switch off. When the office is right next to the living room, the distinction between working time and resting time gets blurry. Without ‘the boss’ checking in to see how things are going, we are forced to turn to our inner boss for help managing our time, and sometimes the inner boss is far less forgiving.

The very concept of ‘skiving’ can play into this. We are conditioned to think of productivity as a thing born of brute, grinding effort, the ‘knuckle down’ mentality. At home, we may feel we are skiving because we are comfortable, or because we just watched a five-minute YouTube video, or because we are having our fourth coffee break of the day. We might feel the need to ‘make it up’ after hours. Or we might feel that there is so much work to do we can’t have any breaks or YouTube videos, and coffee is something we can only eat out of the tin, because there’s no time to put the kettle on.

Either way, we may feel like, when a call comes in at 7.30 on Thursday, we really have to pick up. Everyone else is still busy, why else would they be calling now? And I can’t let them down, and there’s so much on, and remember when I skived yesterday to walk to the shops because I’d eaten all the coffee?

Suddenly, we’ve worked five consecutive twelve-hour days, some intensely productive and some exhausted and ‘skive’ riven. We’ve achieved everything we were meant to and more, but we’re spent, burnt out, and full of guilt.

The irony here is that we have actually had a very successful week, at least as far as productivity goes: we met all our goals! So, what went wrong? As Huff Post puts it, ‘What’s funny about toxic productivity is that it exists more in our heads than in our actual work environments.’

Employers are typically much, much more interested in results than how much effort or time it took to get there. But because our culture is saturated with the idea that procrastination is not just bad business, but bad morals, we put way too much pressure on ourselves to ‘knuckle down’.


Fortunately, there are things employers can do to help prevent this. One crucial strategy is to address the elephant in the room and tackle the myths that give rise to toxic productivity head on.

The concept of ‘skiving’ is a flawed one. Human beings are designed to skive; it’s how our brain architecture works. Our ebbing, flowing attention is what keeps us safe in a hazardous, dynamic world, and it is the font of all creativity—the ability to make new and novel connections between seemingly disconnected things. This is why so many artistic and scientific breakthroughs are made in the shower, the bath, or on a leisurely walk (this is a fact supported by research as well as anecdotal evidence, by the way).

Likewise, ‘knuckling down’ is often not an efficient strategy. Gritting your teeth may get you through a scrape when the chips are down, but if there are chips on the floor every single day, someone needs to retrain the chef.

Employers should make it clear that elegant, easy wins are just as good if not better than long grinds to the finishing line. Huff Post suggests, rather than ‘what should I be doing now, ‘a better question to ask yourself is: “What could I do or create with ease now? What would it take to create this with zero stress?”’

Clarifying this requires actions to speak louder than words, however. It’s no good pushing the work-life balance agenda without creating an appropriate culture. Employers can work with employees to develop hybrid and flexible working policies that let the individual have a say in how they work best. So, get rid of the employee monitoring software: this isn’t a George Orwell novel.

And consider enforcing a ‘right to disconnect’ across the business. CIPD summarises right to disconnect thus:

  • The right of an employee to not have to routinely perform work outside their normal working hours.
  • The right not to be penalised for refusing to attend to work matters outside of normal working hours.
  • The duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect (e.g., by not routinely emailing or calling outside normal working hours).

Making private time sacrosanct like this encourages employees to respect their own boundaries and not bite off more than they can chew. It encourages them to work smarter, not harder. And that benefits everyone.


LGV Drivers

Retention and recruitment are a big concern for many transport and logistics companies, especially during the current driver shortage. A shocking 70% of drivers do not feel valued, and less than half feel motivated to work hard for their employers (identified in a recent Talent in Logistics white paper). To address this, and stay competitive as an employer, it is vital to provide the right employee incentives and benefits package. But where do you start?

Carry out a driver survey

To understand what incentives and benefits your drivers would respond well to, try asking them! Carry out a quick, simple survey to learn what motivates your drivers by listening to their needs and understanding what encourages them. If you need help to create a short driver survey, contact the Talent in Logistics team.

Come up with ideas for LGV Driver Incentives that don’t include salary

As well as conducting your own survey, look out for the nationwide LGV Driver Incentive and Benefits survey and report by Talent in Logistics, set to launch soon in conjunction with RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium.  It will offer a unique insight into the views of LGV drivers across the country and may give you ideas. In the meantime, below are some suggested driver benefits:

  • Comprehensive healthcare package
  • Flexible working schedule/pattern (choosing their own working hours)
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Extra holiday
  • Vehicle upgrade
  • Cash incentives and bonuses
  • Public recognition (for example by management at company events)
  • Special assignments (for example drivers’ favourite routes)
  • Access to external services (such as yoga, meditation, or counselling)

Remember, your idea of a benefit or incentive, may not be the same as your drivers’, and different drivers may have different preferences. It may take time to put together a flexible package that appeals to the majority of employees, but it’s worth showing your drivers they are valued.

Communicate your incentives and benefits effectively

Once you have come up with some genuine incentives and benefits, you will need to communicate them effectively to your existing and potential drivers. Here are some tips to help get them on board:

  1. Be precise, clear, and concise – Tell your drivers why you are offering what you are offering in plain English. Use everyday language and be brief and to the point. For example, (as Google re:Work advises), don’t just say ‘well-being’ – explain that you mean ‘emotional, physical and financial health’. Avoid corporate jargon and toxic positivity if you don’t want to seem insincere.
  2. Communicate regularly, and from the top – Top-down support of your drivers and incentives and regular communication are important, no matter the size of your operation. If you as the manager / business owner get behind your own incentives scheme, so will your drivers. Regular communication will help you drive the enthusiasm needed to make your incentive scheme successful and your drivers feel valued.
  3. Talk to existing and potential drivers – Incentives and benefits are a good tool both for staff retention, and recruitment, so shout about them through internal communications, such as newsletters and on bulletin boards. Incentives make you an attractive employer, so in a challenging job market, ensure these are also included in job advertisements too.
  4. Don’t overexaggerate – Don’t dress up a standard contract term as a benefit as this won’t inspire trust and confidence. For example, if what you are offering is 20 days holiday plus eight bank holidays, don’t call it a 28-day package, which is actually the legal minimum holiday entitlement anyway. Instead focus on the genuine or unique benefits you can offer as an employer.

Need more advice?

There is a range of valuable resources and guidance for logistics employers at the Talent in Logistics website to help you attract, engage, and retain the very best drivers. You can also contact the Talent in Logistics team for expert advice and support, by calling 01952 520216, or emailing info@talentinlogistics.co.uk.


In a recent Talent in Logistics white paper, ‘Driving Engagement in Logistics’, we identified that just 30% of LGV drivers in the UK feel valued, with less than half feeling motivated to work hard for their employers. A quick, simple survey can be used to learn what motivates your drivers by listening to their needs and understanding what encourages them. Here are three tips to help you conduct a survey that will ultimately benefit your drivers and your operation.

1. Choose a suitable survey platform – There are many online survey platforms (including free services, such as SurveyMonkey) with different formats and question types – from open-ended questions to multiple choice, and rating preferences on a scale.

Don’t overcomplicate your survey design, but don’t rush it out in five minutes either. Do consider the structure, the questions, and the data collection method, in order to achieve usable results.  And of course, don’t make the survey too long – you don’t want your drivers to lose interest part way through!

2. Explain the goals of your survey – Clearly explain the objectives of the survey to your participants, to get more useful, honest, and engaged answers. Emphasise that this won’t just be a box-ticking exercise and explain how you plan to act on their suggestions. Commit to ensuring change happens but do make sure you manage their expectations because you may not be able to give your drivers everything they ask for.

3. Ask the right questions – To get useful information that benefits your drivers and your operation, you must ask the right questions. They could be closed questions, such as “How much overtime would you like per week?”, or open questions like “How can we make your job easier?”. An effective survey will include a combination of the two. Avoid making assumptions, or including leading questions, that guide the driver towards your own viewpoint. And be sure to give drivers sufficient time to complete the survey thoughtfully, rather than feeling rushed to do so, as you’ll get much more valuable responses.

If you need help to create a short driver survey, please contact the Talent in Logistics team for expert advice and support, by calling 01952 520216, or emailing info@talentinlogistics.co.uk.


The issue

Wellbeing has become something of a touchstone issue for the business world in recent years. Yet, against the backdrop of increased awareness and discussion, statistics surrounding the worst outcomes of poor mental health have worsened. In 2019, the suicide rate for men in England and Wales was its highest for two decades—higher even than during the terrible years following the 2007 financial crisis.

Transport and Logistics is an industry particularly afflicted with poor wellbeing, being the sector with the highest rate of absenteeism and the second highest rate for workplace stress according to a 2017 study. Also in 2017, ONS revealed that the suicide rate in forklift truck drivers was 85% higher than the national average, with van and LGV drivers also experiencing higher rates.

Clearly, suicide is an issue the industry needs to address.

Going beyond ‘boys will be boys’

Conversations on suicide in male-dominated industries often focus on the chilling effect traditional models of masculinity can have on conversations about wellbeing; we expect to see phrases like ‘a culture of silence’, ‘boys don’t cry’, or ‘toxic masculinity’. It is important to recognise the negative impact taboos around the sharing of emotion can have on mental health in male dominated workplaces. But the way we talk about male suicide can itself contribute to the issue, by conditioning us to see suicide in male-dominated industries solely as an unfortunate bi-product of male culture.

There are numerous reasons why this simplistic view is problematic. For starters, there’s a real danger of placing all the responsibility for the issue on the shoulders of those who are at risk, rather than recognising that the trends run wider than that. Evidence that mothers use emotional language more frequently with their daughters than their sons suggests that social conditioning starts young and isn’t simply bound to male-male interactions. Messages harmful to mental health can come from all around: they are not just confined to ‘the locker room’.

And then there is the fact that male-dominated industries skew towards high-demand, high-pressure, competitive roles which involve working long hours. These jobs are frequently isolating; in the case of construction, the cause may be the need to work away from home on site; in the case of LGV driving, it’s long days alone at the wheel, and long nights alone in hotels or at the roadside. Focusing solely on male-male interactions ignores the role business culture has in creating these conditions.

And finally, presenting the issue purely as a product of male-male interaction ignores the fact that the issue affects men and women; women who work in male-dominated industries are more likely to commit suicide than women who don’t. The conversation needs to recognise and include them.

Tackling the issue

There are numerous organisations, charities and initiatives seeking to tackle the issues of wellbeing, male suicide and suicide in male dominated industries. These offer resources which can be used to improve workplace culture and tackle the issue head on.

One of the cornerstone strategies used is to open up the conversation, creating a culture where issues of mental health and wellbeing are discussed, and modelling what that can look like. Those working in male-dominated environments need to be empowered to discuss their mental and emotional health openly, and without stigma.

But really getting to grips with the issue is more involved than simply ‘having the talk’. The charity Mates in Mind, which works with transport and logistics companies to tackle suicide, takes a holistic approach with a raft of resources aimed at educating, informing, developing effective policy and assigning meaningful roles. The charity Mind offers training, resources aimed at helping employers develop their organisational approach to mental health, and guidance on how to implement Thriving at Work standards.

As with any facet of workplace culture, we need to do more than talk the talk to create a culture of openness with regards to wellbeing. Strategies need to be bedded in, and backed up with meaningful action and support. If this can be done, there is good reason to hope things can and will get better.

There are hundreds of free online resources to further help and assist with wellbeing and mental health. These include information on how to manage wellbeing and mental health, how to manage stress and more. Here are just a few you might find useful to access and share:

Organisations, charities and initiatives here to support you and your colleagues: 


During 21st-30th June, World Wellbeing Week held its third year event. To commemorate the occasion, Talent in Logistics takes the time to consider guidance from CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) on how organisations can promote health and wellbeing.

In the wake of the pandemic, emphasis on wellbeing has never been higher, yet the findings of CIPD’s most recent report on the topic shows a long way to go towards making improvement. Key findings in the report include ongoing issues with presenteeism and leaveism despite the rise of wellbeing up the corporate agenda. Particular attention is given to the role of line managers in managing employee wellbeing, and the apparent dearth of support they are given in this crucial role.

According to CIPD, ‘Around three-fifths of organisations have a supportive framework to recruit, manage or retain people with a disability and/or long-term health condition,’ yet fewer than a third of organisations train and support the line managers in performing this responsibility.

Fortunately, CIPD itself offers a variety of resources and guidance line managers can use to tackle wellbeing issues. In their publication A Guide to Preventing and Reducing Stress at Work, recommended strategies including:

  1. Get to know your team better
  2. Lead by example to promote healthy working habits
  3. Review workloads, duties and responsibilities
  4. Reflect on your own management style
  5. Identify potential conflict and people issues and handle them early
  6. Discourage ‘presenteeism’ in your team
  7. Manage the mental health of your team while remote working.

While such resources will be of use to line managers, senior management’s involvement is crucial too, given the pernicious risks of poor wellbeing. CIPD’s guidance on the report recommends actively reviewing health and wellbeing activity; tackling the problem in a ‘joined-up’, strategic way; employing the use of wellbeing champions; and harnessing data. The importance of financial wellbeing policy is given particular emphasis.

Just as importantly, considering the dearth of training many managers receive, it’s just as important that senior managers are proactive in ensuring everyone in a position of responsibility has the tools they will need. This is something Talent in Logistics has covered before. According to CIPD, ‘A line manager’s behaviour, and the culture they create in their team, is the biggest influence on an employee’s work experience. By improving their management capabilities, managers can improve their own wellbeing as well as that of their team.’

The risk of poor wellbeing in managers themselves, particularly those promoted into middle management from a different role, is also worth bearing in mind. Authority often brings a feeling of increased responsibility both to the organisation and to those directly managed. This can lead to pressure, especially when the organisation is under strain. Unpalatable responsibilities like delivering critical feedback, reprimands, or, worst of all, the news that an employee no longer has a future at the company, can take a toll on a manager’s wellbeing. Feeling obligated for the needs of others, some struggle to meet their own.

Just as importantly, middle managers in particular often end up picking up a lot of work. Their position in the ‘gubbins’ gives them a Tiresias-like knowledge of the organisation: what is happening, where, how and why. There may be a temptation to ‘do it all’, picking up slack, troubleshooting, covering for others. And this comes on top of the often extensive and sometimes entirely new responsibilities that come with the role.

Newly elevated managers may also feel isolated. As one rises through the hierarchy, the dynamics of relationships and social-professional interactions shift. At worst the slippage can be tectonic, and new managers might have to deal with the animosity of a former peer. But even where support is warm, the change in the way communication works can feel distancing.

For all these reasons, senior managers and middle managers alike have a responsibility both to themselves and to those around them in the hierarchy. And sometimes, that responsibility is to take it easy. Practicing self-care, taking leave, delegating, and most of all, not overdoing it, are crucial to ensuring continued health, happiness and productivity. It can be tempting to be a work martyr, especially if we care about the people around us. But as the CIPD report makes clear, setting a positive example in self-care helps create a culture where others are empowered to do the same.