April 10 2020 06:21 AM

Turnover of your staff and associates is one of the most detrimental events in the distribution center. When someone quits, you lose the domain knowledge, procedural knowledge, and the little efficient tweaks that person has developed to do their job efficiently. Productivity can be reduced by more than 50% when you lose a seasoned associate and have to train their replacement. How can you avoid turnover as much as possible? Below are some suggestions:

1. Invest in the people side. Make sure your leaders get to know the associates, their families, and show a caring attitude. When it boils down to it, we all want to be appreciated and feel a part of a team/family.

2. Invest in small, inexpensive tools that will make the associates’ jobs easier. For instance, if the associates are constantly getting paper cuts on corrugate, find a glove that allows dexterity and won’t inhibit their jobs but protects their skin.

3. When your team beats a monthly record, throw them a pizza party or cookout. It’s a little thing that shows appreciation and respect. Plus, it stokes the competitive nature that is so ingrained in many of us.

4. When you are looking at new processes, layouts, or equipment, get the input from the team. People like it when their opinions matter.

5. Every now and then, do a survey of the team. What do they like most and least? Do they have ideas for improvements? It’s amazing the feedback you can receive and how someone may come up with a golden nugget that will save your company big money in the future.

6. When you are looking to promote or fill an upper position, open it up to internal personnel instead of automatically looking outside. Fresh eyes from the outside isn’t necessarily wrong, but if you are constantly filling better positions with outside people, your team will become disillusioned and determine that there are no opportunities in your company.

7. Stay abreast of the market within 50 miles of your distribution center. If a new facility is opening, it may be a good time to beef up the team promotion cycle, including t-shirts, cookouts, doughnuts at the beginning of shifts, etc. Whenever a new facility opens around you, their aim and the aim of the recruiters is to gain qualified associates from existing businesses. Avoid the temptation for your team to investigate the new player by keeping them happy and showing them that they are appreciated, respected, and valued.

8. If you have promising individuals that are entry level, sit with them and find out their goals/plans. You may want to invest in them and offer to send them to seminars, workshops, or college to train them and give them the tools to get to the next level.

9. If you have leaders that are of the drill sergeant mindset, this may present a problem from a collaboration and satisfaction perspective. Identify these individuals and correct this circumstance as quickly as you can before it spreads an animosity among the team.

10. Ask for feedback. If a problem exists, ask the team how they would handle it. Your employees will feel that they are part of the solution and develop ownership in the operation.

Susan Rider, President, Rider & Associates, and Executive Life Coach can be reached at susanrider@msn.com.

This article originally appeared in the March/April, 2020 issue of PARCEL.