6 unique ways on how to improve hiring warehouse workers for your facility

Given the fast turnaround and skill necessary to work in a warehouse environment, it can be difficult to hire the right warehouse worker. Speeding up the process without a proper pipeline in place can result in a poor choice of candidates and, at worst, loss of revenue.

According to Vox, warehousing industry employment rates are on the rise, and its growth is projected at 21% between 2016 and 2026. Potential employees are very interested in working in warehousing; however, finding the right ones for your business can be a challenge. That being said, let’s discuss how you can improve the warehouse worker hiring process in your company in order to find talent more efficiently.

1. Evaluate current warehouse HR

The best way to speed up your hiring process is to evaluate the current HR structure in your distribution center. How reliant are your warehouse employees in digital management software? Is such software required going forward, and how would its addition change day-to-day workflow?

If you already have employees on your staff, have your HR talk to them and evaluate their common skills and interests. Building a strong company culture is important, even in the warehousing industry. Knowing what your company culture is like with existing warehouse employees will make it easier to add new talent to the roster. 

2. Build a pool of position-related questions

Once candidates start to apply for your opening, your HR should be ready and able to process them effectively. Due to the nature of warehouse workflow, it’s good practice to have a senior staff member or manager present in the warehouse worker hiring process. 

Outside of verifying if the candidate holds the proper certifications, position-related questions are pivotal if you want to hire quality workers for your warehouse. Presenting potential warehouse workers with position-specific questions will quickly tell you if their credentials hold up. Likewise, it will show you which candidates are passionate about their work and which ones are out of their depth in their current situation. Some of the questions you should include in your interview pool include:

  • How would you maintain inventory management accuracy?
  • Which warehouse management software do you have experience with?
  • Which warehouse management tools can you operate (such as a forklift)?
  • How would you ensure no packages or deliveries are lost?
  • What would you do if a delivery did get lost, mislabeled, or was otherwise mismanaged?

3. Leverage your company culture as part of the hiring process

Once you evaluate the current state of things in your warehouse and arming your HR team with the right questions to ask, you can proceed to understanding tactics to showcase your company culture from start to end of the hiring process:

  1. Ensure the company website careers/jobs page is up to date: In today’s hiring landscape, candidates can apply to job openings on a variety of platforms. However, in addition to being able to apply through the company website, candidates will check the careers/jobs page to get a sense of what the company culture is like. First impressions are meaningful, and you wouldn’t want to give a candidate any reason to be dissuaded from applying for a warehouse position.
  2. Create a compelling welcome message: When workers come in for the first time — whether they’ll work as full-time employees or just pick up the odd shift to reduce the strain on your warehouse — send a welcome message that includes what to expect before they arrive. You’ll want to include the basics, such as logistical information (e.g. where to park or what entrance to use), suggestions for what to wear or bring, and the name of the person they will meet.
  3. Emphasize workplace safety: Warehouse work can be risky in itself, but with the COVID-19 pandemic on top of that, some staffers’ anxiety might be compounded. Making health and safety a high priority, however, can help alleviate these concerns. This might include providing a safety orientation to the warehouse in general and the equipment used, starting all shifts and meetings with a safety moment, posting adequate signage around the warehouse, ensuring proper lighting and ventilation, and providing personal protective equipment for use in the warehouse.
  4. Say “thank you”: It might be a small gesture, but thanking workers for their hard work when they clock out can make a big difference. When employees feel appreciated and valued, they’re often motivated to keep working for you. A survey conducted by employee engagement platform Reward Gateway revealed that 75% of U.S. employees agreed that motivation and company morale would improve if managers simply thanked workers in real-time for a job well done. Word of mouth is a powerful recruiting tool, so make sure to use it to your advantage.

Bonus tip: it’s important to regularly check in with existing warehouse workers on what’s going well and what could be going better. This could be as simple as asking them how things went as they clock out, or as involved as taking regular satisfaction surveys. Make sure that the employees providing good feedback feel heard. Acknowledge their feedback, even if you can’t act on it immediately. If employees feel like they are giving feedback and nothing is changing, they will stop providing it — and that’s the last thing you want when trying to build and promote a great work culture. It’s easy to feel like conditions are out of your hands during a tight labor market. But just because it’s challenging doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Focus on building your culture, and you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term success.

4. Offer competitive benefits

The problem most companies face when hiring for warehouse workers is to differentiate themselves from others on the market. Apart from branding, warehouse job listings are almost verbatim between one another.

Take the initiative and stand out from other brands by offering original and unique benefits to your future employees. Simple additions such as gym membership cards or coupons for a popular local business can help do just that. Likewise, if you are looking for long-term employees, you can add private health benefits or opportunities for raises and additional income under certain circumstances. Go the extra mile, and you will attract candidates much faster than before.

5. Set hiring deadlines

Candidates can postpone sending their resumes and application papers if the company doesn’t offer an end-date for the job listing. Be fair, but also don’t let months pass by without hiring the employees you really need. Set a strict deadline for applications and announce that all available resumes will be evaluated on that date. This will showcase professionalism and give candidates ample opportunity to gauge whether you are a good fit for them.

Once you get in touch with the right candidates for your warehouse, you should speed up their onboarding process as much as possible. You can pair junior employees with senior staff and ask the latter to coach new employees. This is a great way to quickly bring new staff up to speed on day-to-day workflow in your warehouse. 

Likewise, HR should stay in touch with new employees throughout their training and ask about their experience so far. Coaching is important since junior employees, especially those new to warehousing, can feel overwhelmed with the workflow at first. This will significantly speed up the hiring process of new staff and give them ample motivation to feel like a part of the existing team.

Terrence Avery, HR Specialist and Content Writer at Trust My Paper, said that: “Setting a firm deadline for job applications will signal that you want to hire talent sooner rather than later. Failing to write such a detail into your posting can result in you receiving resumes months after the listing served its original purpose. Be proactive and ask for understanding from your candidates – you will receive the same foresight from noteworthy candidates.”

6. Use warehouse staffing solutions

All of the aforementioned steps can be expedited and consolidated through the use of warehouse staffing solutions. Apps like Instawork offer companies the ability to match with warehouse and manufacturing workers looking for flexible, seasonal and temp-to-perm roles. With a large pool of over 5M vetted and reliable workers, companies can quickly staff their warehouses and focus on other areas to grow the business. Instawork collects and verifies over 30 skills data points, including work history, skill quizzes, professional references, and valid certifications to ensure warehouses get the right workers on staff.

Instawork is different from local temp agencies because these data points are available to you to review via their profile. Plus, once they start completing shifts through Instawork, we continue to assess their work performance with ratings, feedback, and on-time metrics.

In summary

Whether you look for seasonal warehouse workers or permanent additions to your staff, it’s beneficial to speed up the hiring process as much as possible. Some turnover is inevitable in the warehousing industry as many employees simply won’t identify with the work you do – and that’s okay. Play to your brand’s strengths, offer fair benefits, and do your best to speed up your onboarding process – the right candidates are around the corner.