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Your Essential Warehouse Employee Training Techniques

When you're taking on more logistics staff, it's imperative to look beyond their essential skills and prepare for long-term development. After all, learning isn't just about setting someone up for the best start or bringing more talent to bear on your business. It stokes a sense of growth, encouraging workers to stay with you while they keep improving. Inspiration and retention go hand in hand.

However, this is easier said than done on the job. The National Association of Business Economics has revealed that 57% of American firms lack sufficiently skilled labor. Warehousing, in the current employment crisis, has an even wider skills gap. Your own business may be struggling to find the right workers – in which case, you can offer training as well as other benefits.

Hone workers fit for an automated, digitized future, putting your logistics business ahead of the curve and expectations.

Start with tracking education

From day one, new workers should learn about the processes associated with goods or raw materials. Your tracking system, for instance, is the beating heart of inventory management. Warehouse operatives must know how to welcome, store, trace and retrieve a package – the more visibility you give them from the start, the better.

Take candidates into the DNA of your Warehouse Management System, and check their progress over the first few months. Meanwhile, teach them the importance of inventory tracking – context is key for lasting understanding. Did you know, for instance, that HLR reports $1.1 trillion is lost to industry distortion alone in the retail sector every year?

Deploy shadowing across specialisms

Obviously, this is more relevant for entry or mid-tier hires. Yet shadowing – when one person follows another as they perform their daily duties – is a fabulous model for learning on the job, as well as forming social bonds in your team. They can stand by, watch, ask questions and try some of the work themselves.

Employees at varying levels of logistics proficiency can shadow each other, learning more from the next person up on the skills tree. Just make sure you define what both parties should gain from the experience. Ask for notes and reviews at the end of the day. Remember: shadowing can swell a senior hire's leadership potential, so the value goes both ways.

Invest in warehousing courses

You can host them yourself or rely on accredited training. Either way, regular bursts of niche education (funded by the company) are a measure of trust. You're not just investing in the workers today, but tomorrow and decades ahead. Everything from advanced machinery and vehicular control to safety, productivity and supply chain trends is ripe for the classroom.

You may want to offer one course a year, after probation. Or perhaps the budget can stretch further with extra hours or training days reserved for research and exams. Industry events are another good perk. They place your activity in the scope of logistics around the world. Take workers along to hear and speak to industry leaders, following up with debriefs back at the workplace.

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