Employee retention is a big issue right now, especially in logistics.
The average business loses 18% of its workforce each year due to employee turnover. Of that, two-thirds is voluntary turnover, or employees choosing to leave. As the long tail of the COVID-19 pandemic grinds on, employee turnover is more important than ever. In September 2021, the number of people quitting their job reached a high of 4.4 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Job openings in supply chain and logistics, meanwhile, are growing fast. Over the next ten years, the BLS projects that jobs for logisticians, for example, will increase by 30% as new roles are added and employees leave the workforce – significantly faster than the average across all industries.
With so many jobs to fill and company loyalty an increasingly uncommon behavior, leaders must provide employees with purpose and flexibility, and commit to sustainability.
“First and foremost, computers and systems should work for humans, not the other way around,” says Frank Speiser, CEO of Talla and a Forbes Tech Council contributor. “A great measure of value is that people are happier, less bound to mundane work and free to contribute to novel and challenging problems.”
It’s difficult to enjoy any job if you don’t feel like you’re contributing value and accomplishing something worth doing. Generally speaking, happy workers are more productive — 13% more productive, in fact, according to a study run by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. Meeting goals and being recognized for contributions increases job satisfaction, which increases productivity, creating a virtuous cycle of happy workers and strong performance across the board.
So how do you get to that point? One tried-and-true method is helping your workforce eliminate all of the boring, mundane or otherwise unfulfilling tasks from their daily workflows, allowing them to focus on more meaningful and mentally stimulating tasks. Automation is one of the best ways of doing this, helping to improve happiness at work by eliminating the roadblocks and frustrations that can often slow down productivity. In the logistics space, one of the fastest-growing software tools that’s helping major companies like AB InBev automate their workers’ mundane tasks is real-time supply chain visibility.
Real-time visibility is replacing very manual and mind-numbing tasks that our teams have to do. Instead of being on the phone with a customer or carrier for half an hour, they can just look [at FourKites] and see what happened… so our teams feel like their time is more productive than simply being a telephone operator, when in reality they should be leading our transport planning. They can do more valuable things with their time.
Workers today want flexibility. Work from home is fast becoming the new normal, and the companies that can both attract and retain the best talent will be the ones who can offer them greater flexibility at work and a healthier work-life balance. For many legacy industries like logistics, however, this is often easier said than done.
Traditional systems for managing freight are often tied to a physical office — sometimes even a specific computer or terminal. Obviously, this kind of setup makes it difficult to impossible for employees to enjoy flexible work conditions and work from home. Similarly, it makes it difficult for employees to perform effectively and safely in circumstances such as a global pandemic, which also carries profound implications for employees’ on-the-job happiness and wellbeing.
For many companies, visibility is a first step to solving these issues. While any cloud-based solution will inherently offer a greater degree of flexibility, visibility also facilitates greater collaboration both inside and outside the organization. Helping all relevant parties be better and more quickly informed of developments with their shipments allows work to be carried out from anywhere, at any time, and with a higher degree of accuracy.
Another benefit of FourKites is a benefit for talent in transportation. We have a lot of young talent coming in and Millennials have an expectation that they can do their jobs online, flexible 24/7, because they don’t have to go into an office to log in. So we believe that actually having software like FourKites will help us attract and retain employees.
People want to work for companies that make the world a better place. Nearly 90% of employees report that being involved with improving their company’s sustainability posture strengthened their job satisfaction, engagement and overall opinion of their employer. Greater corporate transparency and responsibility are paramount, especially for a younger generation willing to sacrifice a portion of their income to work for a more sustainable and socially conscious company.
Nowhere is the need clearer than within the supply chain, and nowhere is there a greater potential for improvement than in the use of supply chain visibility software. Real-time visibility can help companies analyze the carbon footprint of their own business and that of their suppliers, customers and partners as well. It can help to eliminate empty miles, identify like-minded, responsible partners, and curb cases of exploitation and social injustices worldwide. In cases of disaster and unrest, it can facilitate the swifter and more precise deployment of relief, and even help better predict and prepare for disasters in the first place.
Sustainability is important for everybody. … We want to use the data from FourKites to understand better where there’s waste within the supply chain. Where do we have excessive empty miles? Where do we have excessive wait times? FourKites is more than just track and trace, it’s how we’re going to use visibility to start to drive efficiencies and sustainability.
The past 18 months showed us how critical supply chains are to everyones’ well-being. Not only do frontline supply chain workers like truck drivers and grocery clerks benefit from better supply chain management; but when supply chains run smoothly and with minimal waste, the impacts reach more people and improve more lives.
“The pandemic era brought tremendous uncertainty, and that bred fear,” says Brian Fielkow, a prominent logistics executive, author and the CEO of JetCo Delivery. “To address the fear, we communicated often, sharing what information we knew and our plans to thrive. By facing the challenge with transparency and humility, we built trust. Our team knew we were on top of the situation, navigating as best we could. They knew we were in this together. That level of openness built more trust.”
There are many lessons to be gained from these words and from the past two years of living with COVID-19. Transparency, Humility, Communication, and Trust are the virtues that businesses must embrace. It’s not enough to simply put customers first and disregard the needs of your workers, and while new technology has often been the source of frustration and dissatisfaction, it can also be the solution. The only difference is the intent behind it.