Put Out the Fire: Address Employee Burnout in Logistics

Don’t let employee burnout burn your business. The right tools help logistics providers increase employee engagement and retention.

As a logistics provider, you are especially vulnerable to employee turnover. After all, logistics employees are critical when it comes to supporting daily operations, helping fulfill the “perfect order,” delivering exceptional customer service, and so many other vital contributions. Your employees are the lifeblood of your business, and you simply can’t succeed without them. 

Or to look at it another way, you can’t afford to lose them. Many of today’s most progressive companies are already focused on strategies to increase employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. In fact, in the newly released study, The Employee Burnout Crisis, 87% of respondents called improved employee retention a high/critical priority. Yet at the same time, many overlook one of the most reliable predictors of employee turnover, and thus, miss an important opportunity to take corrective action before it’s too late. This ominous new challenge? Employee burnout. 

What is employee burnout?

Burnout occurs when an employee feels overworked and underappreciated, usually due to stress, frustration, overwhelming deadlines, or other chronic workplace pressures they feel they can’t control. They wind up with more and more work and can’t keep up, even by working overtime. These are those employees who’ve reached the end of their proverbial rope and seem to be one bad day from announcing, “I can’t take it anymore!” and quitting on the spot.

It is important to distinguish between burnout and fatigue. As described above, burnout is a longer-term situation where employees simmer until they reach their breaking point. Fatigue is a shorter-term issue, most often related to physical exhaustion or long hours, and can generally be addressed with a change in routine or a few vacation days. 

Clearly burnout is the more serious of the two, a finding supported by the study mentioned. A full 95% of human resources leaders admit that employee burnout is sabotaging their retention efforts, and by extension, puts their organization at a significant disadvantage. A closer look at additional research findings reveal just how much of a challenge employee burnout can be for logistics companies:

  • 46% of respondents reported that burnout is responsible for up to half of their annual workforce turnover.
  • 15% of human resources (HR) executives at companies with more than 2,500 employees said that burnout causes 50% or more of annual turnover.
  • 20% of respondents identified insufficient technology for employees to do their jobs as the main culprit.

All of this adds up to a situation where employee burnout saps productivity and leads to excessive absenteeism, and inevitably causes the organization’s top performers to leave the business. This creates a never-ending cycle of disruption that makes it difficult to build – and retain – a high-performing workforce needed to compete in the logistics industry today. Yet while many logistics companies are taking the steps to address employee fatigue, there are far fewer efforts to proactively manage burnout.

Where do we go from here?

All of this leads to one important question: What can logistics companies do to overcome the very real challenges caused by employee burnout?

One answer is to implement technology that can provide a proactive approach to mitigating this issue. For example, human capital management (HCM) and workforce management solutions provide comprehensive suites of specialized applications for recruiting, compensation, performance management, HR and payroll, time and attendance, scheduling, and more.

These solutions are purpose-built to give companies a better way to attract, hire, engage, and manage employees. They use the latest innovations in areas such as mobile technology and cloud services to provide employees with self-service access to the information and tools they need. All of this goes a long way to helping logistics companies increase employees’ satisfaction and successfully address employee burnout.

More specifically, HCM and workforce management can help in the following areas:

  • Compensation management: “Unfair compensation” was the top contributor to burnout (41% of respondents) cited in the study. Compensation management tools automate manual processes, a step that eliminates mistakes, addresses compensation appropriately, and sends the signal that all practices are fair and equitable.
  • Talent management: Logistics companies should also do all they can to foster employee development and encourage leadership. Such efforts help employees see a clear connection between their role and the corporate strategy and improve their perception of the workplace culture.
  • Scheduling: Effective scheduling solutions do so much more than simply automate manual or paper-based processes. They provide advanced capabilities such as shift swapping, selecting shift preferences and availability, and even self-scheduling. All of this goes a long way to keeping employee morale high and creating a more satisfied, engaged workforce.
  • Self-service access: In addition, logistics companies can take advantage of technology to provide employees with real-time access and control over information related to HR, benefits, payroll, schedules, and leave balances. Such access gives employees access to critical information, improves productivity, and even helps avoid grievances or legal action.

The opportunity before you

You need to do all you can to minimize the effects of employee burnout now – before inevitable turnover begins to hurt your bottom line later. The good news is that proven technology exists now to significantly improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Even better, defeating employee burnout truly becomes a win-win: by building a workforce of happier, more engaged employees, you improve your ability to achieve your most critical business goals and position the entire organization for long-term success.

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