Article

A Fresh Perspective on Employee Engagement

By Peter Schnorbach,
A Fresh Perspective on Employee Engagement

For some time, there has been a labour shortage in distribution centres. A healthy economy and boom in warehouse construction have led to more job openings, fewer applicants, with less experience, and more turnover. As a result, the balance of power has shifted from the employer to the employee.

At the same time, most labour management approaches haven’t evolved to align with the new generation of workers – especially Millennials – or the leverage they now possess. To truly thrive as an operation, companies need the ability to engage employees by turning labour management data into games, dashboards and recognition programs that motivate employees and help them see the impact they make. Empowering workers results in a win-win scenario for employers and employees.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement goes beyond coaching and training employees to motivating and rewarding them. Our workers need to feel respected, that they’re part of a team and that their ideas and contributions matter. Some employee engagement metrics include: recognition, feedback, happiness, personal growth, satisfaction, wellness, ambassadorship, relationships with managers, relationship with co-workers and alignment with the company.

Cultivating these attributes requires more than simply reviewing raw performance data and finding the low performers. It takes a new approach.

Give employees more information

Today, successful operations find ways to encourage their workers to contribute to organisational success and go beyond benchmarks.

It starts by giving employees more visibility into their performance. Some technology solutions, like those from Manhattan Associates, can send periodic (daily or weekly) emails to workers with data about their performance, where they rank within the organisation and their performance over time. This kind of feedback is similar to consumer applications for exercise or other activities. And it’s an effective first step in making it easy for employees to get feedback that can drive improved self-motivation and engagement.

The benefits of gamification

Another promising area of employee engagement is gamification in technology applications. Consumer examples of this include smartphone game apps and weight management trackers. As achievement increases, users receive positive reinforcement through awards such as digital badges, medals and milestone markers.

The most-successful modern employee engagement software is designed similarly. As workers perform better, they get affirmation for their effort through rewards. The rewards can be a ranking in the app or they can be tied to tangible things like spot bonuses, gift cards, paid time off or a reserved parking spot.

Over time, employees become self-motivated. Rather than doing the minimum amount of work they need to avoid a negative consequence, gamification entices them to reach for higher goals.

Making your workforce want to work

The key to maximising your workforce has to go beyond measuring productivity. Today, world-class operations are focusing on employee engagement programs that give workers a sense of accomplishment and empowerment, so they are self-driven to increase their performance.

Not only does that save supervisors from spending time coaching low performers, it also results in a better warehouse culture and a stronger warehouse labour force. As performance increases, so does worker satisfaction and retention. Whether you want to get started or go further in employee engagement, Manhattan Associates Labour Management can help.

Next article, we’ll explore go into more detail on the tools that help workers help themselves.

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