3 minute read

Top 5 Things Warehouse Workers Are Looking for in a Workplace

Nov 28, 2022

Even in the best of times, warehouses often struggle to hire and retain workers. And over the past two years, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Great Resignation (or Great Reshuffle), warehouse staffing has become even more challenging. In such a tight labor market, it’s essential for organizations to take a hard look at its compensation, benefits and environment to see if they are aligned with what workers actually want.

“Skilled, productive workers are extremely valuable in the warehouse industry,” says Carl Tignino, VP of Operations, Eclipse IA. “We believe our Industrial Athletes (IAs) are our greatest asset, which is why we’ve built and continuously nurture a culture of teamwork, helpfulness and mutual respect.”

At Eclipse, we regularly connect with and survey our IAs, so we can understand what motivates them to join our warehouse teams – and more importantly – to stay. Ahead, we dive into the five workplace factors that consistently pop up in these discussions.

1) A competitive, rewarding pay structure

Undoubtedly, pay rate is a key deciding factor when looking for a new position. In fact, a recent survey of 19,000 blue collar workers listed pay as second on the list of “top reasons to stay or go.” However, competitive pay encompasses more than just an hourly salary figure. Bonuses, incentives and productivity-based pay show employees that you value their work, effort and performance. A few options include:

  • Sign-on bonuses
  • Retention bonuses after 30, 60 and/or 90 days
  • Referral bonuses
  • Pay increases based on performance, attendance and quality of work
  • Cost Per Unit (CPU) team-based pay, which rewards the output of the team as a whole

“When workers feel like they are valued and rewarded for their performance, it’s a win for everyone,” says Tignino. “They want to stay in their positions, productivity increases and operations run smoothly.”

2) An enjoyable environment with unique perks

Ensuring that warehouse workers feel appreciated and valued is a must-do for increasing retention, and offering unique employee perks can often differentiate one warehouse job from another.

For example, our Shoes for Crews program provides IAs with the opportunity to purchase new work boots and pay them off in installments, so they are safe and comfortable in the workplace without the burden of a pricey purchase up front. Small but fun rewards, such as Free Ice Cream Fridays or free/discounted lunches, can also go a long way in increasing workplace morale and camaraderie.

3) A flexible schedule

Gone are the days of rigid work schedules and traditional workplace attendance policies. From warehouse labor shortages to the challenges of being a working parent or caregiver, expecting a Monday through Friday 8-to-5 schedule from every warehouse worker is simply not realistic.

Workers are attracted to and more likely to stay at distribution centers that offer flexible schedules and PTO. The opportunity for a healthy work-life balance builds loyalty, increases overall attendance and boosts productivity.

Plus, the entire team is happier when flexibility is offered to workers up front. When warehouses are understaffed due to last-minute callouts, teams are less productive and more likely to quit, which establishes a vicious cycle. New workers can take weeks or months to reach the productivity levels lost when an experienced worker quits.

4) A positive workplace culture

It’s true in any workplace, including the warehouse: people want to feel good about coming to work every day. A positive culture starts at the top, whether that means warehouse managers jumping in to help with particularly heavy volumes or leaders who take the time to listen to and address any issues that arise.

Beginning on Day 1 with a thorough and welcoming on-boarding experience to ongoing opportunities for career advancement, a positive culture can tremendously help to increase retention rates. Better training and work habits results in general satisfaction, as well as greater productivity and efficiency.

In addition, workers want to consistently feel seen and heard, and all-hands meetings that encourage them to share opinions, suggestions and feedback are a great way to reinforce mutual trust at all levels. As the people working day in and day out on the floor or the line, warehouse workers often have the best understanding of potential improvements in working conditions or processes.

5) A safe, well-organized warehouse

Making your distribution center a place that workers want to come to not only requires a positive environment, but also a safe one.

The ongoing process of removing barriers to safe work should be continuously tailored to meet the needs, condition and culture of a warehouse. Depending on the industry, that may include programs like ergonomics training and equipment, fire safety and emergency training, ample PPE and safety knives, as well as an overall clean and organized atmosphere. No worker feels comfortable in a warehouse that looks and feels like a haphazard, unsafe disaster-waiting-to-happen.

At Eclipse, our staffing strategy is aligned with these five workplace factors, which ensures that our IAs are motivated and incentivized to work efficiently and effectively. If you’re interested in learning more about how our staffing solutions can help improve your warehouse productivity, please contact us

This is part six in a seven-part series examining how Eclipse Advantage's Industrial Athletes are different than traditional warehouse workers. You can read all of the posts in the series here

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