Tips for hiring and retaining industrial pickers and packers

Pickers and packers are an essential part of any successful warehouse operation. They are the people who make sure that the correct...

Indeed Flex

20 July 2021

4 min read

Pickers and packers are an essential part of any successful warehouse operation. They are the people who make sure that the correct goods are packed and ready to be shipped to your customers. Therefore, having competent and motivated pickers and packers can make a lot of difference to the efficiency of your warehouse department.

It is also an area that often has a high turnover rate when not managed well, which results in a loss of productivity and an increase in cost. The best way to avoid that is to hire the right staff and ensure that they have a good working environment. Here are five ways to make that happen:

Pay competitive rates

There is a tendency to get away with paying as low rates as possible when it comes to industrial staff. But you will waste more time and money with a high turnover, so it may be worth your while to retain staff by paying competitive rates. Competitive rates will also attract more applicants, so you will have a wider pool of skilled workers to choose from. It can also factor into employee satisfaction surveys and other performance measures if as a company, you are a preferred place of employment.

Provide an incentive for unpopular shifts

A lot of warehouse work involves working unfriendly hours, such as graveyard shifts, or crack-of-dawn starts. Provide incentives for unpopular shifts, whether it’s a slightly higher rate of pay, extra holidays, consecutive days off, or other benefits. However, ensure that these incentives are consistent across the board, for all eligible employees.

Provide training and development

Just as competitive rates can attract and retain good staff, so can training and development. Warehouse workers are often neglected when it comes to career planning. Beyond the basic needs of the business, they are often not given a chance to improve their skills. You can retain good employees by offering them opportunities. There are many possible options, including but not limited to educational opportunities such as NVQs, professional qualifications like a forklift truck license, opportunities to work towards a higher position within the department or the business, or internal training sessions.

Get current employees to refer new workers

Getting your existing employees to bring in new employees is free advertising. Your staff may know friends or family who need work, and they are in a position to recommend you. It’s also in their best interest to not bring anyone who is lazy or a troublemaker for the sake of their own reputation in the workplace with their managers and colleagues. It could also provide them with positive motivation if someone is hired on their recommendation, making them feel more involved in the company. However, do be aware, that there could also be a potential risk of too much fraternising. Or if they are trying to help out their family member, then they may be partially blind to the suitability of the applicant.

Increase hiring speed with a more specific job description

A vague job description can result in numerous applications from completely unsuitable applicants. So, it’s worth your while to spend some extra time putting together an appropriate job description. For example, a warehouse picker may be required to pick anything from paperclips to heavy furniture. Everyone who can pick a paperclip may not be suitable to deal with heavier objects. Be specific.

A little time spent upfront will save you a lot of time later. It’s better to take a longer-term view of hiring and retaining the staff, rather than just focusing on the immediate needs. A specific job description put together with incentives that the company offers, will help you attract the right people. Warehouse pickers and packers can be a lot of work to hire, especially in a busy warehouse. But these above tips should help with the efficiency of that process.