Hire & Retain Your Warehouse Employees Like You Would A Manager

Many distribution executives, managers and salespeople begin their role at their company in the warehouse. Here, Howard Coleman discusses why the hiring and retaining process helps you understand warehouse employees' strengths and weaknesses.

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I want to make three points...

1. I've always felt that interviews for warehouse and driver positions are often oversimplified. If you were hiring a manager, I would encourage to ask behavioral questions, rather than open-ended questions that could be answered with a "yes or no".

But often these types of questions are not asked of a warehouse person. The first thing often asked is; "have you had any traffic violations or have you been arrested?"

While drug tests and background checks, even resumes, are important, I believe that more emphasis needs to be placed on assessing the applicant's "personal attributes". What is their behavioral style? What is their motivation and approach to the job? I think its as important as their knowledge or skills. Do they possess the integrity, honesty and willingness to take direction?

In working with my clients, I happen to put a lot of emphasis on screening and assessment tools. There are a host of tools that can be taken online. The concept is quite simple; compare employment candidates against successful people in the same type of jobs using expansive, job specific, databases that have a high validity quotient. In other words, they can be relied on to provide a high level of insight into the candidate.

2. I've always encouraged organizations to coach people as opposed to just using a once-per-year performance review. In fact, I have some clients who now coach each employee for just 15 minutes each month. Discussions focus on how they are doing, what they can do better, and then establishing goals that are reviewed the following month. This way you can see continuous progress, as opposed to having an employee come in once a year for a performance review and then get "punched in the face" with the things they didn't do. 

3. Retaining workers goes back to understanding who the employee is, not only in terms of knowledge and skills, but also their behavioral style (#1).

Many of the assessment tools, I alluded to above, typically provide a lot of detail that allows you to understand the strengths as well as the weaknesses of an candidate/employee. One of the aspects of retaining people is to try to remedy where in fact they may have some of those weaknesses (#2).

So screen and coach! 

Howard W. Coleman, Principal of MCA AssociatesHoward W. Coleman, Principal of MCA Associates

Howard Coleman is principal of MCA Associates, a Derby, CT-based management consulting firm. MCA implements continuous improvement solutions focused on business process re-engineering, inventory and supply chain management, sales development and revenue generation, information systems and technology, organizational assessment and development and succession planning. Contact him by phone at (203) 732-0603 or by e-mail at hcoleman@mcaassociates.com.

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