Improving employee satisfaction in transportation and logisticsby
A looming driver shortage could bring the £74bn transportation industry in the UK to a grinding halt - and do serious damage to the local economy. One suspected cause is the £2,000 cost of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC), which is required for all bus, coach and lorry drivers. Yet, even when employers are able to hire qualified workers, retention and employee satisfaction present significant challenges for HR.
To better understand the most pressing issues, we recently met with HR directors from several of the UK’s top transportation and logistics organisations. Based on their collective experience leading nearly 200,000 employees, a number of best practices emerged.
The following are some of the strategies discussed to enable HR directors in transportation and logistics to boost employee satisfaction and create a more happy, healthy and committed organisation:
Facilitate effective communication
Communication is especially important for employees with no home base. Whether they are out on the road handling deliveries or managing logistics across multiple warehouses, your employees need to feel that they are connected to your shared purpose and well-informed about their specific responsibilities. To accomplish this, communication needs to be simple, accessible and ongoing.
HR directors around the table shared several key recommendations:
- Empower line mangers to discuss absence – Asking employees why they’ve been absent can be uncomfortable for some managers. Yet, several delegates around the room shared the belief that real-time visibility into absence metrics, backed by one-on-one conversations about absence trends, are essential to reducing absence rates. Furthermore, establishing open communication around absence allows managers to intervene and support employees when serious health issues arise. Likewise, managers can play an important role in facilitating a smooth return to work following an absence, which helps the organisation plan for long-term absences and mitigate absence costs.
- Enable mobile self-service – Employees accustomed to using internet-enabled smartphones are expecting that convenience to now bleed into their work lives. By making workforce management tools available through their mobile devices, you can make tracking work hours, viewing schedules, swapping shifts and requesting time off accessible and secure. At the same time, empowering your employees to play a larger role in managing their own work-life balance. The result is greater satisfaction on the part of the employees, combined with more precise pay accuracy and increased visibility across your entire organisation.
- Be equitable and transparent – Another way to improve communication with your employees is to make workforce processes transparent. For example, allow employees to bid on jobs and vacation slots through a process that automatically takes seniority into account. Similarly, provide clear, accessible means for requesting and approving time off, so that employees are not left waiting for an answer when a request has been submitted. While employees do not engage these processes daily, they can have a large impact on how your workforce feels about their interactions with managers, HR and the organisation at large.
Support employee safety and compliance
The European Union Driving Regulations define daily and weekly rest rules for drivers employed within European Union transportation industry. Compliance with these regulations is essential for protecting the health and safety of your employees, as well as the general public.
Several delegates commented on the importance of proper fatigue management procedures to ensure that workers receive sufficient breaks between shifts.
A solution that proactively alerts managers when an employee is at risk for crossing specific thresholds not only streamlines compliance with the law, but also demonstrates genuine concern for your employees’ wellbeing.
In practical terms, this commitment to worker safety translates into a greater employee satisfaction rates.
And as Richard Branson has been known to say, “… if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.”
Offer ongoing training and development opportunities
Another strategy for boosting employee satisfaction and retention involves offering your workers regular, ongoing training and professional development opportunities. We recently conducted a comprehensive workforce management trend survey and found that organisations are strategically using scheduling to train and equip new hires. For example:
- 60% of organisations pair senior leaders with new hires.
- 50% structure learning courses into new hires’ schedules.
- 27% use automated scheduling solutions to rotate new hires through different shifts and positions.
Several of the delegates present shared similar strategies for using scheduling to ensure that training is an ongoing effort. As a result, newer employees are able to ramp up more quickly and legacy best practices can be passed on more effectively to a new generation of employees.
Particularly for organisations where a large part of the workforce is remote, these learning opportunities must often be structured in order to ensure that they take place and new skills are sufficiently mastered.
Particularly in transportation and logistics, skill development also has an impact on safety and compliance. Yet, the opportunity to build and exercise new learning also serves to create loyalty to the brand and boost employee satisfaction.
In this way, it becomes part of the organisation’s larger effort to create a happy, healthy and committed workforce.
Managing a large, distributed workforce comes with many challenges. Add the responsibility for employee and public safety that is inherent in transportation and logistics, and it’s even more important for HR to put structures in place to support employee wellbeing.
Measures such as using mobile workforce management capabilities to enable effective communication, using fatigue management to streamline compliance with safety regulations and offering ongoing training and development opportunities can help to protect employee safety while also building a more committed workforce.