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What Characteristics to Look For in Warehouse Personnel

April 16, 2018 | Staffing Blog

Finding the right warehouse personnel for a vacant role is not any easy task. You want to make sure that every person you bring on will contribute to the team and help your business thrive. Yet, finding and maintaining strong workers in this area has proven to be a challenge for many.

This is more important than ever as turnover rates for warehouse workers have been climbing year over year and have reached an average of 41 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, at the same time, the sector is growing. Employers are expected to need to fill 2.6 million warehouse personnel roles by 2026, or roughly 260,000 jobs per year.

As growth continues, it’s critical for companies to hire the right staff the first time. It is a strain on management’s time and resources to continually keep staffing the same positions while also working to fill new ones.

You do not have to keep wasting efforts rehiring people who only end up leaving. With the right considerations up front, you can build a machine that will allow your company to function in the way that it was always meant to. Finding the right people in the first place is a start. It will also help to look at your company’s policies and procedures for opportunities for retention improvement.

Step 1: Find Candidates with the Ideal Traits For Warehouse Personnel

Every job requires a specific type of person who possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to carry out the tasks assigned to them. While the details of the job requirements can vary from role to role, there are many commonalities across the warehouse industry.

The California Department of Labor published a very thorough list of these traits which can be helpful place to start when assessing candidates. Here are some of the highlights of the KSAs the ideal warehouse employee will possess:

Warehouse Operation (Knowledge of)

  • Standard warehouse policies and certification requirements
  • Equipment use in the receiving, storing, and shipment of materials
  • Computer systems and softwares, such as Microsoft Office and Oracle to send emails and log warehouse records
  • The importance of safety regulations and how to navigate the job with caution
  • How to recognize an emergency and the best way to respond
  • Basic math in order to monitor material properly

Warehouse Personnel Skills (Ability to)

  • Use strength to lift, balance, and carry a required amount
  • Prioritize assignments based on deadlines and the time allotted for each task
  • Pinpoint what materials and information must be acquired to carry out an assignment
  • Complete tasks on time
  • Communicate effectively and respectively

Not only do warehouse employees need the skill and knowledge to succeed, they also must have the drive. Without passion for success, an employee’s endurance can only last so long. This drive is paramount to carry their ability to withstand:

  • Working at a fast pace with possible long hours and varying shifts
  • Maintaining a professional appearance
  • Hard physical labor, indoor and outdoor and extreme temperatures
  • Working amongst chemicals or other hazardous conditions

Step 2: Create an Environment That’s Optimized for Retention

High turnover is not only caused by lack of ability on the employee end, the environment of the workplace can also play a major role in a worker’s lasting desire to remain there.

DC Velocity conducted a survey in 2017 in an attempt to get to the bottom of the increasing turnover rate. In evaluating 176 warehouse companies based on their performance, researchers found that only 16.5 percent of the respondents’ operations showed high performance in all four areas under consideration (people, customer service, safety, and productivity).

These higher functioning organizations all had the following in common:

  • Monthly monitoring and evaluation of workers to maintain a productive and consistent standard
  • Training the management team to communicate effectively and provide adequate training
  • Opportunity for employees, peers, and supervisors to review management
  • Positive reinforcement consistently used to encourage workers who are performing well
  • Compensation above minimum wage
  • All equipment is high-speed and up to date
  • Rewards for high performance other than compensation such as paid time off
  • A clean and well-lit warehouse

Taking a look at these factors, it is evident that an optimal environment relies heavily on the strength of employee incentives to perform. If a business wants their employees to succeed and excel, those managing them must approach their job with active care, consideration, and intelligence.

Hire the Right Warehouse Staff the First Time

The secret to successfully staffing your warehouse boils down to not only finding warehouse personnel with the right personality traits, but also providing adequate management and training. It’s these two factors together that will help reduce turnover and improve efficiencies of operation within your team.

You may find that such a person is difficult to find, and that is precisely why the majority of employers choose to turn to staffing agencies for help. An established recruiting firm considers all of the capabilities and personality traits your ideal employee should have and knows exactly where to find them. On top of that, they keep track of the performance provided by the individual they send to you to ensure your requirements are being fulfilled.

No more posting ads and spending weeks on interviews. Save your company time and money and allow the experts to find you warehouse personnel that will work hard and help your company continue to thrive.