Several significant supply chain disruptions have marked the past few years. The pandemic caused major disruptions in production and logistics, and the Ever Given ship caused enormous delays for many companies, to name a few.
It has put supply chain and logistics at the forefront of people’s minds. While it has become clear to many how critical logistics is, it is still unclear how exciting it is to work in logistics.
Attracting Talent in Logistics: The Biggest Challenges
Where Are the Young Guns?
We see a shortage of talent from the younger generations. It starts already with the graduate candidates. There are different reasons for graduates' lack of interest in logistics. One is the limited attention the industry gets in universities and colleges.. Another one is the image the logistics industry has. It is not seen as glamorous or exciting but as routine and monotonous, with long hours and a slow career track. The opposite is true!
The Competition is Killing!
The market for logistics talent is very competitive. Whether it’s the operational workers you need in the warehouse, drivers you need for your forklift trucks, middle management, or specialists, many logistics companies are fishing in the same small pond.
The Grass is Always Greener…
In the logistics industry, employee loyalty is going down. The grass is always greener on the other side; unfortunately, logistics workers change companies relatively easily. Warehouse workers may switch jobs because they can earn 10 cents an hour more. But switching companies is an unfortunate trend across all levels of the organization.
Retaining Talent: Building Loyal Teams
When new talent is so hard to find, it is even more critical to retain the talent you already have. At Ahlers, we are changing our approach to hiring new talent to increase the level of loyalty in our teams.
The old-school approach to hiring new employees is simple and straightforward. Human Resources publishes a vacancy announcement and gets applications. After an initial interview, selected candidates talk to the hiring manager, and maybe somebody from senior management, depending on the position. The candidate then gets a job offer and is hired after accepting the offer. At Ahlers, we have chosen a different path.
Our approach to hiring new employees still starts with Human Resources publishing a vacancy announcement and doing a preliminary selection of candidates. Human resources also do an initial screening interview, but this is merely to check the basics and prepare the candidate for the next step in the hiring process.
The first in-depth interview is done by a team of future co-workers. The candidate meets with a group of three to four of his or her future co-workers. The nature of the interview is positive and explorative. The main goal is to see if the candidate fits the team and meets the position’s requirements. An HR representative facilitates the meeting.
The second in-depth interview is done by the hiring manager and potentially a subject matter expert or a manager from another department or division that the candidate will work closely with.
After all, interviews have been conducted, the most powerful part of the process starts. The team, the hiring manager, and the other interviewers that were involved met and discussed their findings. They come to a yes or no decision to hire the candidate together. The hiring manager has the final say, but he relies heavily on the team’s input.
For two reasons, this strengthens our teams:
- Fit - the new hires actually fit the teams they join. This increases the chances of success both for the candidate, as well as for the team.
- Respect - because the team is fully involved with the hiring decision, they will feel heard and respected. This strengthens the relationship between a team and its management.
Retaining Talent: Creating Internal Opportunities
When you have a solid process in place of finding and hiring the right candidates, you need to make sure they stay! Like any Account or Business Development Manager will tell you: it takes less effort, both in terms of hours and money, to keep a customer, than to find and win a new one.
The same goes for talent. When somebody leaves, they walk away with a lot of knowledge and experience. New people need to be found and trained. You need to keep track of how employees are doing and what their ambitions are. You can enable people to grow by creating development programs with training and coaching
When possible, give people a chance by promoting them to positions they need to grow into. By creating internal opportunities, you solve two pain points.
1. You can develop talent instead of finding new talent. The more experienced people get, the harder they are to replace.
2. You can retain talent by offering them a challenging environment that enables them to grow and advance their career.
Creating loyal teams and retaining talent are both essential when it comes to offering our customers first-class service.