(Sheila Jordan is Vice President of Human Resources at Weber Logistics)
What are your expectations when you join a new organization? How do you expect to be treated? What do you anticipate in the way of employee orientation?
Unfortunately, many organizations fail to see the value of investing upfront in their newly hired associates, of all levels, within those critical first six months of employment. They take for granted that previous work experience will take the place of a rigorous onboarding process. As a result, the new employee has a “baptism by fire” introduction to the company, which can contribute to staff turnover.
This occurs because we need their skills and we need them YESTERDAY. Therefore, we hurry them through the paperwork process, introduce them to their new boss and peers, usher them to their workspaces and assign them projects. Before we realize it, 90 days have gone by and little, if any, formal training has taken place! That’s no way to treat new staff in an age of scarce logistics talent.
Many new hires rise to the occasion and courageously survive the challenge. In other cases we wonder how a candidate who was so impressive during the interview process is under-performing several weeks into the job.
Over the past 12 months at Weber Logistics, we have revised our onboarding process and are beginning to see a marked improvement in our efforts to reduce warehouse/logistics staff turnover. Our 2013 turnover rate is trending well below the 12.8% average industry turnover rate reported for manufacturing and distribution by the 2012 BenchmarkPro Survey by CompData Surveys. That’s good for Weber since it avoids the crushing costs of recruiting and retraining people. It’s also good for our customers, who appreciate staff continuity and the accumulated knowledge of staff with long tenures.
The key drivers for our success in reducing logistics turnover have been:
- More selective recruiting process
- Rigorous 30-day training schedule
- Follow up surveys for our revised employee orientation
- Human Resources involvement in weekly mentoring visits and coaching
Recognition of superior performance and swift intervention in response to poor performance
Frequent employee engagement through weekly roundtable meetings and town hall meetings
The logistics employee orientation process is vital to the success of newly hired associates and associates who change roles within the organization. We can't afford shortcuts in their development.
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