Whether you operate as a small local supply chain or work with international partners and investors, engaging your employees on a more personal level can drastically improve your bottom line going forward. According to Forbes, highly engaged teams exhibit 21% greater profitability, with a 41% reduction in absences and 59% less turnover, improving not only the company’s supply chain productivity but also its employee retention and brand advocacy.

Given the nature of supply chain management and its essential role in the continued productivity of any given industry, employee engagement can effectively boost morale, productivity and long-term revenue generated by your business. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which employee engagement can be implemented, as well as the benefits of doing so in your own company.

The Main Obstacles of Employee Engagement in Supply Chain Productivity

It’s worth noting why employee engagement is a challenge for managers in supply chain management before we take a look at ways to mitigate it. After all, employees in supply chain management, much like in any other field or industry, want to feel a sense of accomplishment and appreciation.

Failing to provide these things to your employees, apart from financial and social security, will always result in poor morale, productivity and retention. That being the case, some of the most serious bottlenecks in boosting supply chain productivity include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of inspiring leadership – While every employee is responsible for his/her professional engagement, the managerial staff is just as accountable for the employees’ overall work satisfaction.
  • Focus on profits, not the people – It’s true that revenue generation is a top priority for companies if they want to stay afloat on the market; however, without satisfied employees performing at peak efficiency, short-term profits mean very little.
  • Poor advancement pipeline – Not every employee will be fit for advancement and promotion; and that’s okay. However, failing to advance performing employees to more responsible and rewarding roles will quickly sour the atmosphere within your supply chain management and result in a drop-off in productivity.

Efficient Cross-Department Communication

Depending on the scale at which your supply chain management operations take place, employees might feel distanced or lack a sense of meaning and purpose behind their work. However, implementing cross-department collaboration can help your staff see the bigger picture behind productive warehouse management.

Managers, HR staff and outside consultants can also be utilized to offer valuable feedback and coaching to individual employees and help them set personal goals or overcome stress and other work-related challenges. By introducing a communication mechanism to your supply chain management, employee engagement will effectively raise to the occasion and allow for much better productivity, less friction and cooperation across all facets of your company.

Bottom-Up Accountability

More than anything, today’s employees want their work to be recognized and for it to mean something at the end of the day. Thus, introducing reward and recognition systems to your business model can ensure better employee engagement and satisfaction in the long run.

Whether it’s through “employee of the month” blog posts, small rewards for performing teams and departments, or through vocal recognition by the managerial staff, recognizing your employees’ efforts are highly recommended. In addition, platforms such as Evernote, Be Graded,WriteScout and Readable can be used to shape employee quotes, testimonials and other work-related snippets into social media and web-related content to further improve their sense of belonging and accountability.

Standardized Goal-Tracking

Supply chain management can often feel disassociated and lack a clear picture of what each shipment or order means in the grand scheme of things. As such, introducing standardized KPIs and goals for employees to track over time will likely help them objectify and relate to the day-to-day workflow.

Whether through specialized goal-setting methodologies such as SMART or through goal-tracking platforms such as Trello, you can ensure that employee engagement goes up. Once supply chain management goals are defined, the KPIs should be sent out to different department managers for  approval and implementation in their sectors. This can be effectively connected to a reward and recognition system and allow for healthy competition and employee engagement to take place in your
supply chain management.

Ongoing Learning & Development Opportunities

Lastly, while supply chain management isn’t a disruptive field full of constant innovation and technological breakthroughs, employees will still enjoy developing new skills in regards to the industry.
Failing to provide your staff with a sense of professional accomplishment and resorting to a mundane, mechanical workflow will likely result in their seeking out of new employment opportunities over time.

That said, you can opt for a variety of development activities for your employees, including seminars, teambuilding, mentorship with senior staff members, as well as outside consultant training. These activities will ensure that your employees feel rewarded for their time with your company and help facilitate their development as valuable parts of your supply chain management pipeline.

The Benefits of Employee Engagement in Supply Chain Management

Now that we have a better idea of how employees can be engaged in supply chain management to further increase their productivity and efficacy, let’s discuss the long-term benefits of doing so. Employees who are satisfied with their jobs and the way upper management treats them are likely to renew their contracts, advocate for the company and want to learn new things on the job.

Melissa Sykes, Head of HR at Studyker had this to say on the subject: “While it is true that revenue generation and client satisfaction are high on the list of business priorities, both of those goals will forever be out of reach if your employees are dissatisfied with their jobs, management and company. Take time to develop employee engagement systems, reward performing individuals and give your staff a reason to show up at work beyond the obvious “you work, I pay” mantra.”

Once such a system is in place and your employees have a sense of engagement and purpose within the supply chain management, your company will begin to exhibit several important points, including the following:

  • Higher employee loyalty, trust, and productivity
  • Better industry positioning and brand awareness
  • Improved employee health and morale
  • Increased supply chain profitability and shipment turnover

In Conclusion

It’s good practice to work in tandem with your HR department and to put a permanent employee engagement solution in place for the sake of standardization. Once you have standardized your employee
engagement systems, you will quickly notice a change for the better in staff dynamics and general performance on the floor. In doing so, you will be able to retain talent, boost employee satisfaction and allow for positive word of mouth to spread in regards to your supply chain management and its  employee engagement mechanisms.

About the Author:

Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she works as a freelance writer at TopEssayWriting and ClassyEssay, Kristin also does some editing work at BeGraded.

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