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It’s Never Too Early to Get Your Employees in Shape for the Holidays

Now is the time to devise strategies to make sure your workforce is operating at peak efficiency during the busiest time of the year. It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays.

Five percent of consumers say they will start their holiday shopping before November 1st , While that may seem excessive to many of us, according to a recent study by Adobe. These consumers are ultra-prepared for the shopping season, and have a strategy in place to minimize holiday shopping stress.

This year, it may be time to take a page out of these consumers playbook and think about how it applies to your logistics or supply chain employees. More specifically, now is the time to consider the ultra-busy holiday shopping season and devise strategies to make sure your workforce is operating at peak efficiency during the busiest time of the year.

Employee engagement and satisfaction is arguably the most important area to focus on when looking to optimize an already stretched workforce. This is especially true when you consider the potentially severe downsides associated with disengaged employees or those who may suffer low morale due to longer hours or stressful conditions that come with the holidays. For example, these workers are less productive, tend to make more mistakes, and usually don’t provide the exceptional customer service you rely on to stand apart from the competition. 

Also, these “burned-out” employees tend to miss work more often than engaged employees, further reducing productivity and increasing labor costs. For example, consider the fact that a replacement worker operates 29% less effectively than the original employee. So, where the first employee would normally pack 50 cases, a replacement worker would only pack 35.5, according to the Mercer Total Cost of Absences Report. To make up the difference, you usually have to offer overtime or hire more contingent labor – expensive options that inevitably eat away at bottom-line profits.

Employee engagement: a new competitive advantage

Yet on the other hand, successfully engaging employees can become a real competitive edge. According to Gallup’s annual State of the American Workforce, engaged employees:

  • are 17% more productive
  • experience 70% fewer safety incidents
  • have 24% to 59% lower turnover

In addition:

 As compelling as these statistics are, there is still a significant gap from the concept of engaging the workforce and where most logistics and supply chain companies stand today. For example, a recent Gallup poll revealed that only 32% of U.S. workers say they are engaged, nearly 51% report that they are not engaged, and over 17% state that they are actively disengaged

Clearly, there’s a real opportunity for improvement.

Best practices in increasing employee engagement

So before the next few weeks fly by – and the busy holiday season hits – what can you do now to improve employee morale, satisfaction, and engagement?

One effective way to achieve this goal is through the use of workforce management technology. Consisting of solutions related to time and attendance, scheduling, absence and leave management, and more, workforce management software can help you improve the way you manage, motivate, and retain employees.

Even better, workforce management solutions can help you improve employee engagement and avoid employee burnout. For example, this technology can:

  • Manage employees’ time and attendance and leave time, so employees know their paychecks are accurate and up to date – and have access to all of their information.
  • Give employees more visibility into their own schedules, including the ability to pick up extra hours or swap shifts if they can’t work a certain time.
  • Offer convenient self-service access to schedules via mobile devices to further provide the control employees need to create a better work-life balance.
  • Present overtime opportunities in a transparent, equitable way so employees know they’re being treated fairly.

All of this translates to significant benefits for your entire organization. For example, a Logistics Management survey showed that more than 75% of companies using a workforce management solution realized a 10%-plus boost in productivity, with more than one-third gaining a 25%-plus increase in labor output.

The winning plan starts now

Don’t let the holiday season sneak up on you. Devise the right strategies now to improve the way you engage employees and minimize burnout. Not only will they appreciate it, but you’ll position your organization to improve productivity, reduce costs, and continue to deliver superior customer service. And by doing so, you can turn employee engagement into a new – and sustainable – competitive advantage.

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