Uncategorised | 4 min. read

Driving Employee Engagement in Logistics

Written by Nik Stapleton, 26.11.2021

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Looking through truck window on UK motorway.

For years, we’ve heard our clients tell us how difficult it is to get drivers – not good drivers – drivers, full stop. Now, it seems the heavens have aligned to create a perfect storm affecting businesses and consumers alike. Headlines of shortages, supply problems and logistics are hot topics. This is driven by economic and political environment challenges, the impact of the pandemic, and the supply of labour. Who’d have thought we’d see empty retail aisles? Consumers are used to full shelves in supermarkets and being able to buy freely with plenty of choice. Currently, that choice and quick delivery with popular items, right across the spectrum from bikes to everyday food, are a challenge. The world has changed. We’re used to 24/ 7 availability and next day delivery, but that created an expectation of immediate availability, which is difficult to change.

The driver shortages are part of a more complex problem with multiple parties involved, from the government to driving schools, recruitment agencies, suppliers, shops, and the consumer at the end of the chain. We need to think about the bigger picture and how this can be managed in the short term and then resolved for the long term.

 

Acquisition or Retention Problem?

Think about why someone’s in a job. Is it because they’re loyal to that business or loyal to the paycheck at the end of the month? Recruitment is a costly business, and staff turnover questions the culture of the company. It’s the balance between staff leaving and attracting new blood and ideas or becoming stale.

The cost of recruitment doesn’t stop with the job advert and interview process. It continues through training and bringing a new member of staff up to speed. Mentoring and support takes another member of staff from other duties, which affects teams and their effectiveness. Being able to create positive employee engagement is often associated with businesses like John Lewis. Staff are partners – a part of the business with the associated benefits of shared profit schemes and rewards.

Timpson’s is a family business and has heeled shoes and cut keys for over 150 years. They support staff in a variety of ways. For example, money employees raise for charity is matched, a weekly lottery draw, a day off on your birthday, share of the branch profits and much more. This has helped to make Timpson’s into a great employer. The business is prepared to recruit people who’ve took a wrong turn in their lives, but they’re supported to learn the trade and have a second chance. This, in turn, reinforces Timpson’s brand values.

Consider the implications for businesses and how employees would describe working for your company – what do they think? Popular TV series, such as Back to the Floor, have illustrated the divide between the view from the boardroom and the shop floor. Understanding the motives of staff and what would help them to be the best is essential. It may be around career development, finding better ways to work, giving the opportunity to manage flexible work – and no – just throwing cash isn’t the answer. Check out how many of your staff are there because they really like the business, their colleagues, and opportunities, and how many because there are no better options. Timpson’s have shown that there’s a way to create a positive culture and develop the business.

 

Business Integration, the Weakest Link

Umbrella with rain drops.

 

All functions in a business need to be integrated. The sections of the umbrella represent parts of the company from finance, operations, marketing, and human resources. The growth and scale of any business relies on the marketing team to attract and keep customers. Those customers need to enjoy the service and for the experience to meet their needs. That requires staff to be recruited and trained to the required level – right through the business to deliver the service, and for all staff to feel valued – a key element in being able to deliver time after time. A business based on reliable operations such as food needs a slick supply chain and logistics, managing lean to supply enough, not too much, not too little stock as needed.

Sounds easy, and with integrated software systems, automatic ordering, the wheels are kept moving. Right now, there’s a break in the chain. The implications are stock levels are suboptimal due to staff shortages, such as drivers. Service is going south, and customers are let down. As this is a nationwide problem, there’s time for businesses to plan.

The businesses that succeed long term will be the ones where all sections of the umbrella are integrated and aligned. We see too many firms pushing ahead with marketing campaigns and generating sales, but customer service is poor, delivery unreliable, and customers dissatisfied. Social media is powerful and poor service is magnified many times. Customers are quick to complain but slow to praise. And it takes longer for a business to recover from poor customer feedback than to develop an integrated plan from the start.

Talk to us about building integrated plans to make sure your business umbrella is totally waterproof and all parts of your business, from marketing to operations and HR, are working in harmony. We’ve all heard that you’re only as strong as the weakest link – the expensive recruitment cycle is one of them. Think about how employees can be better engaged, so you keep them.

At Intermedia, we believe it’s about the bigger picture and thinking differently – Bigger Thinking, Bigger Impact. Just as we’re well-versed in logistics customer engagement, we’ll also help you engage your people. And that doesn’t mean creating another staff newsletter or an ill-conceived panic advert to fill a position.

If you’re serious about employee engagement, talk to Intermedia.

Originally published November 26, 2021

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