It is an interesting time for our sector at the moment. In some areas we have seen unprecedented peaks, like a month’s worth of Black Fridays have all come at once. In other areas, we have seen dramatic falls with hauliers closing down shop and many workers furloughed or made redundant.
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 logistics sector. We are also contending with poor perception of the sector, 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 sector, 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 sector 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 (CI) processes? If not, trust your staff to develop and implement solutions. Maybe you could create CI 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.
Some say that employee engagement surveys are dead, but I don’t personally agree. I 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.
Talent in Logistics Conference 2020
Feel more confident, more prepared and ready to keep your workforce better engaged than ever before. The one-day online Talent in Logistics Annual Conference on 24th September is focused on how to engage with employees to increase productivity, reduce staff turnover, improve absence and safety incident rates.
Don’t miss out. Book your place now.