How to promote the retention of supply chain employees?

Published on 1 September 2021

Generix Group

We know that companies in the logistics sector have difficulty attracting candidates. They also struggle to keep them once hired. Faced with a strong shortage of talent, the retention of existing employees is the other major HR challenge in the sector. How do you retain trained employees? What levers should be used to reduce turnover?

According to data from Pôle emploi (French), 14% of workers in the logistics sector have been with their company for less than a year. This figure rises to 37% for unskilled packaging and handling workers, who are massively recruited on a temporary basis. But also to 21% for drivers and short-distance delivery personnel and 17% for skilled warehouse workers. Given the boom in e-commerce and the great need for manpower in certain regions such as the South-East of France and Ile-de-France, reducing the employee turnover rate is a strategic issue for companies in the sector.
Among the top 10 most sought-after profiles for companies in the South of France in 2021, 6 are related to logistics jobs. In particular, order pickers and forklift operators are the two most sought-after temporary jobs in all sectors in the Paris Region1.
While remuneration remains an important lever for retaining employees, it is certainly no longer the only argument. Here we take a close look at the ways in which we can encourage employee retention, whether they work in the heart of logistics platforms or in offices.

Investing in the improvement of working conditions

Reducing the arduousness of supply chain jobs and promoting the well-being of employees is undoubtedly the first line of defense against team volatility. The provision of high-performance equipment to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, or the development of voice control for operators, are now competitive advantages, both in terms of productivity and from an HR perspective. But for the employee, the difference is also on another level: time and the extra-professional environment. Flexible working hours to accommodate personal constraints; the possibility of taking time out during breaks to play sports: these are all advantages that can tip the balance.


Adapt the managerial culture to the new needs of employees

Of course, a pleasant atmosphere among colleagues is an effective antidote to premature departures and turnover. Developing a management culture based on caring and listening to employees is probably even more powerful and sustainable.

To find long-term interest in his job, a logistics employee not only needs to understand the stakes and the purpose of his mission (who are the other stakeholders in the chain and the end customers, what do they need, what are the company's objectives?) But he also needs to feel free to propose optimization solutions if he wishes. (How about trying it this way instead?).

In concrete terms, taking the time to systematically recontextualize instructions and providing regular feedback to teams on the impact of their work is also an indirect way to build loyalty. To help employees give meaning to their work, the role of the local manager is key, especially for low-skilled positions where turnover is highest.


Strengthen training to promote internal mobility

According to Fed Supply (French), 89% of candidates and 72% of recruiters believe that supply chain positions are increasingly segmented. For employers, this hyper-specialization of functions is an opportunity to be seized to create new career paths for employees. And therefore allow them to project themselves in the long term in the company.
In a sector where bridges between jobs are generally quite limited, especially for highly skilled positions, this approach implies a solid internal training policy. This can be based on tailor-made programs, mentoring or peer-learning schemes. And more generally, it involves developing an internal learning culture, with the provision of training tools and a work organization that includes learning time.
Among the other levers for building employee loyalty, the attention given to the integration phase of new recruits during their first months on the job is particularly crucial. Relying heavily on work-study programs and apprenticeships is also a way to reduce the cost of sourcing and recruiting external candidates, by relying on young people who are already partially trained. Finally, engaging in an audit and labeling process such as "Best Place to Work" or "Top Employer" is a good way to strengthen and give credibility to this loyalty-building process by providing concrete guarantees to current and future employees.

It should be noted that Resource Management solutions are an excellent way to operationalize these major principles.  It is an essential tool for organizing team schedules, measuring the gap between needs and available resources, identifying slowdowns, and managing the development plan for each resource.

1 Source (French): Baromètre emploi Synergie 2021

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