· Features

How to motivate warehouse logistics staff

Logistics can be a highly satisfying job, but it’s also one that requires discipline and teamwork. It’s vital for warehouse staff to feel happy at work and get on well with their colleagues, so here are some ideas for motivating your warehouse logistics staff.

Team building

Warehouse logistics is a job that requires everyone to pull together, so it’s important to build a sense of belonging within the team. Investing in regular staff get-togethers can really pay dividends to create a happy, sociable and productive workplace.

• Staff nights out – such as a cinema trip or visit to a comedy club – are a good way to encourage team bonding. It’s not the most original idea but employees appreciate the chance to socialise more regularly than just the annual Christmas party. And there’s always lots to chat about in the warehouse the next day.
• Weekends away can combine unusual activities with the chance to talk about work in a more informal setting. At James and James, we recently took staff on a country house retreat – combining archery and brainstorming in one weekend.

Shift work

Shift work can be par for the course in a large warehouse, where production carries on outside the usual nine to five. This isn’t always easy for workers, whose family and social life can suffer because of evening and weekend shifts, so it’s essential to keep morale high.

• Events for families give everyone the chance to get to know each other outside the work environment, as well as recognising that employees have a family life that is important to them. 
• Flexibility in accommodating shift changes is key to keeping staff happy. While it’s not always possible to grant every request, we try to let employees know that their life outside work is important and that we will meet their needs if conditions allow.

Positive feedback

In any role it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate when someone has performed well. This is an excellent way to motivate warehouse logistics staff and let them know that their achievements have not gone unnoticed.

• Exceptional work cards are one of the tools we use at James and James Fulfilment. If someone has done a great job, the exceptional work card can be filled in by their colleague. These are then read out at team meetings so the person who did the good work can be congratulated by their colleagues. We like to tailor the rewards, so in the past month we rewarded our client services manager (and fiancé) with a champagne hot air balloon ride. Our warehouse manager plays for the local football team so we purchased a new set of team kit as thanks for great warehouse management and dedication.
• Prizes are another way to reward good work. We find that chocolate always goes down well!

Health and wellbeing

A warehouse can be a physically demanding environment, with heavy lifting and physical work often making up much of the logistics worker’s day. So employee health and wellbeing is a high priority as it has a direct effect on performance and productivity.

• Regular breaks and time off are essential for warehouse staff to recharge their batteries and remain fit for work. Offering a generous holiday allowance over and above your statutory requirements is a policy that workers will appreciate.
• Health and safety awareness is vital in a warehouse environment so regular, thorough health and safety training will help avoid accidents and injury.

Happy and motivated employees ultimately result in a healthy and productive company. Knowing how to motivate warehouse logistics staff comes down to the same principle as with any other worker: recognising the contribution they bring to the team and ensuring they know we value their work and commitment to our shared success.

James Hyde is co-founder of James and James Fulfilment, an online order fulfilment company