Supply Chain Retention: Taking Back Control

By Dan Johnston, co-founder and CEO of WorkStep

Hiring and retaining frontline supply chain employees has never been more challenging. Between the pandemic, workforce shortage, inflation and heightened competition, businesses are struggling to find talent and keep them for the long haul. The key issue is that companies don’t understand the hourly worker.

In order to overcome the crisis and build a team that’s dedicated to your success, you have to care about theirs, too. The first step is to uncover frontline workers’ pain points and drivers. Spoiler alert: their top priorities aren’t what you might think.

It’s Not All About Pay.

According to recent WorkStep data from over 18,000 supply chain workers, pay isn’t the top reason for turnover. Yet major brands like Amazon continue to raise wages, offer sign-on bonuses, and promote other incentives to get more folks through their door.

Sure, this strategy might help with hiring – but it’s not a long-term solution. Amazon’s average warehouse worker still leaves within just eight months.

The truth is that 75% of turnover can be prevented – but only if companies understand what makes their frontline workers tick. The problem is that too many businesses are making expensive assumptions.

There’s no denying that pay is important. In fact, rising competitive wages combined with inflation increasing 7.9% led to pay climbing from the seventh reason for leaving a job in Q3 to second in Q4.

However, if companies only listened, they’d see there’s a lot more that goes into creating a happy long-term employee.

Career Growth Reigns Supreme.

Contrary to archaic beliefs, frontline workers want opportunity. According to the data, the number one reason for turnover is limited career growth. Truck drivers, warehouse workers and more are quitting due to a lack of opportunity for promotion, skill advancement or career progression.

Other top reasons include incorrect job expectations and poor onboarding. Why are big brands only focusing on pay? Seeing as replacing a supply chain employee is costing businesses anywhere from $5,000 to $45,000, this error is hurting the bottom line.

Hourly workers don’t have a “clock-in, clock-out, cash the paycheck” mentality. They want a meaningful and rewarding career. But management teams aren’t regularly checking in, collecting feedback and developing career paths with their reports. The vicious cycle continues.

The Key to Stopping the Revolving Turnover Door.

The only way to prevent turnover is to continuously gather real-time feedback from your frontline and to use this critical insight as a backdrop for driving positive change and outcomes for all. It may seem impossible to engage with each employee one-on-one monthly, biweekly or more – but technology is available to help.

WorkStep RETAIN provides a platform that automatically delivers check-ins during key milestones across an employee’s employment journey allowing frontline workers to provide critical feedback to their employer, and allowing the employer to take action on this insight and drive positive outcomes – all in one central repository. As organizational improvements are made, you can also track the impact this has on turnover. RETAIN is proven to resolve up to 36% of turnover issues.

Giving your frontline workers the opportunity to feel heard empowers them. All of a sudden, their voice matters – and they hold the power to share their experience and drive real change. But most importantly, regularly collecting and listening to employee feedback has the potential to transform your business, build a culture to be proud of, reduce turnover and ultimately protect the bottom line. 

Start RETAINING Your Employees Today.

The supply chain workforce is changing – and your workplace should, too. Learn more about how to take control of retention with WorkStep today.

About the Author

Let's Talk Supply Chain Supply Chain Retention: Taking Back Control 1Dan Johnston is the co-founder and CEO of WorkStep. WorkStep’s software platform empowers companies to find and keep frontline employees for the long run. Prior to WorkStep, Dan managed a third-party logistics warehouse and co-founded InstaEDU, an education technology company.

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