Logistics: Improving Workforce Engagement and Driving Performance in Uncertain Times

Talent Management in Logistics

If you’re anything like me, you are constantly craving valuable thought leadership focused on the logistics and distribution industry. Well, luckily for you, UKG recently ran a one-day Industry Insights Digital Summit that included two webinars focused on the industry, which are available for replay viewing.  

The Industry Insights Digital Summit enabled attendees to learn from top experts, get up to speed on the latest trends, network with their industry peers to help them better understand the business world they’re facing today, and provide expert insight on how they can succeed in the future.  

The logistics and distribution webinars were designed to help you better manage the workforce issues your organization faces today. 

Navigating Uncertain Times and Driving Performance in Distribution focused on how you can leverage technology to maintain the health and wellness of your workforce, schedule labor to meet demand in times of constant flux, and drive business performance through real-time visibility. Topics covered included how to leverage technology in response to COVID-19, how to match labor to volume in times of flux, and how to drive performance through better workforce visibility.

Improving Engagement in a Modern Distribution Organization focused on future-built workforce solutions that are better equipped to handle today’s distribution challenges. This includes advanced technologies — from labor management systems to human capital management systems — and innovative management practices that are helping the distribution industry handle numerous challenges, including growing customer service expectations, rising labor costs, and omnichannel complexities. Specific topics covered included what employee engagement really means, as well as current challenges in the industry, the impact of the Amazon effect, mobile capabilities, technological predictions, and the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.  

Both webinars dive into how organizations can utilize workforce management and human capital management tools to improve the company’s bottom line by engaging and empowering its employees.  

Today’s reality in logistics and distribution was a key theme discussed throughout, which includes the war on talent, organizational culture, and industry evolution. 

The War on Talent Continues 

There continues to be competition for resources in this difficult-to-fill industry, even with the increase in the employee pool due to the pandemic. Attracting and retaining skilled workers has been, and continues to be, a challenge. Ensuring strong employee engagement is a must, but there’s no simple formula to ensure success. One way to help is by utilizing workforce management software that empowers employees and managers. This includes self-service tools for time-off requests, picking up open shifts, viewing schedules, and one of the most sought-after tools; shift swapping. It’s also critical to be able to quickly identify your top workers using talent management software that provides continuous feedback on employee activities connected to goals, key performance indicators, and to promote ongoing performance development. Attracting the best talent will require a multi-layered plan to ultimately entice them to join and stay with your organization. 

Organizational culture 

The court of public opinion, otherwise known as your organization’s public perception, is a key component for ensuring your employee application pipeline stays strong. How do you build your company’s brand? It starts with a strong organizational culture. Employers can separate themselves from their competition in several ways, including the use of technology to drive employee engagement and to ensure the safety of their workers. Workforce management tools can help empower employees with the ability to navigate information via self-service tools like accruals, time-off requests, schedules, and manage their work/life balance from anywhere, anytime with mobile capabilities.  

One proven example of an improved employee experience is through advanced scheduling. Workers who are scheduled to work their preferred shifts are less apt to call out, which eliminates the ripple effect of managers scrambling to fill an open shift and coworkers struggling to pick up the slack. When schedules reflect employee shift preferences, which machine learning technology understands and incorporates into the scheduling process, employees are more likely to be on the job and engaged with their work. This level of easily accessible information is critical to how employees often view an organization’s care and concern for its employees.  

Industry evolution 

It’s no secret that the logistics and distribution industry is facing unprecedented disruption. The need to quickly attract and hire top employees, create a safer work environment (both physically and mentally), as well as manage the swings in volume requirements is creating challenges for employers to quickly adapt to new conditions. Moreover, technological advancements are moving at a rapid pace, whether it’s artificial intelligence, robots, drones, or autonomous driving, to name just a few.  

One critical call-out here is that these advancements in technology will end up having a positive impact on job opportunities, as there will be more overall jobs and more sought-after jobs due to these technological advancements. In “The Future of Work Is Now”, a 2018 survey of 600 business leaders globally by Harvard Business Review, the results indicated that “robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms will increasingly handle the hard or repetitive tasks humans can’t or don’t want to do, while simultaneously equipping them with instant access to information and insights for the higher-value activities that remain”. The long-term outlook on the impact of AI and robotics in the logistics industry is that more, not fewer, jobs will be created with the introduction of new robotic technologies and autonomous vehicles.  

The logistics industry is going through a time of transformation and the only certainty is that to do nothing is to be left behind. Using advanced workforce management and human capital management technologies can help improve employee engagement and productivity, support informed decision making, and create operational efficiencies, leading to improved profit margins. 

The logistics and distribution industry is facing unprecedented disruption. The need to quickly attract, hire and keep top employees, create a safer work environment (both physically and mentally), as well as manage the big swings in volume requirements is creating challenges for employers to quickly adapt to new conditions. 

Listen to the recordings of our two Logistics & Distribution webinar sessions here

Click here to learn more about how UKG for Distribution can help your organization.