The Secret to Stopping Supply Chain Brain Drain

Published : March 18, 2015

man-looking-at-job-candidates-with-magnifying-glassThe effort of attracting high-quality employees and managers to run your fulfillment services is a job in itself, but once they're in place, you can rest easy, right? Not if you want to keep your carefully-built workflow prospering. If the task of retaining skilled employees isn’t already a bullet point on your to-do list, you might as well start drafting your next want ad. The fact of the matter is that there's too much competition from your rivals to rest on your laurels and just hope your hires stay company-loyal.

Want to be more proactive? Here are some tips for keeping your people right where they are.

Tie A Few More Carrots on the Stick

It stands to reason that long periods of time spent doing the same work for the same pay will translate as tedium for driven, intelligent workforce members and potentially drive them off. Performance-based financial initiatives are an excellent way to entice your existing employees to work smarter and more efficiently while still keeping traditional raises on a manageable budgetary timeline. Malysa O'Connor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive notes that this approach has worked particularly well in logistics where it has helped companies retain high-performing truck drivers in the midst of an alarming industry-wide driver shortage.

Monthly sales goal competitions, rewarding positive performance reviews with time off, or rewarding the most motivated individuals with promotions from within the company are a few options for office-based staff.

Walk the Walk You Expect from Others

Young, fresh talent with a firm grasp of emerging technologies represents a huge asset for growing companies, but can also manifest a threat of "brain drain" as rivals seek to woo them away. Kate Taylor of Entrepreneur recently discussed a BambooHR survey that revealed that an incredible 82% of respondents reported being "annoyed" by managers that knew less about the industry than their team. The same percentage also found lack of recognition frustrating, forming a toxic twosome of obstacles driving valuable employees out the door. Infuse your workplace with the golden rule, make note of your team's achievements and keep yourself on par with your most driven employee and resentment won't find anywhere to set up shop.

Know What Your Competitors Are Offering

Motivated employees and complacency don't tend to go hand in hand, so it's a safe bet that the talent or management behind your fulfillment services has at least casually looked over other employment options. If your benefit package, compensation or work environment comes in a distant second in terms of attractiveness, it's really only a matter of time before an employee jumps ship. Sticking your head in the sand isn't an option if retaining your employees is a goal. Make sure you know what choices employees have at their disposal and that your options are at least competitive, if not clear winners, in the wider scale. Making a point to scan online job sites once a week or so will keep your knowledge of average salaries and benefits current and actionable.

Ask Your Employees What They Want

Although it may seem obvious, even large companies can get so caught up in metrics and best practices that they forget to acknowledge the human beings in the center of it all. Two employees, even those in the same position, will not necessarily share benefit priorities— a parent, for example, may need more flex time for their children, while an older employee might want better healthcare options.

Being open to discussion and individual adjustments of benefits communicates to your team that you value them as people, and not just as bodies filling job positions. This satisfaction translates into greater loyalty and attention to detail, as well. Jacquelyn Smith of Forbes points to a recent CareerBuilder survey that emphasizes, through a more-than-half majority, that employees want their opinions on benefit hierarchy to be heard.

There is no magic pill for keeping your fulfillment services' best talent in-house, but attention and individual recognition are a great place to start. When you stack up the unseen cost of training, growing pains and other new hire realities, the cost of keeping your talent seems far more attractive.

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Topics: Supply Chain Workforce Management

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