Boost Employee Engagement in Supply Chain!

Employee Engagement

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Research has shown time and time again strong employee engagement is vital to the success of any organization, especially within the supply chain discipline.

The State of the American Workplace report found that the stronger the employee engagement was, the higher productivity, stronger sales, and bigger profits resulted.

Other benefits to strong employee engagement include:

  • Better talent retention rates
  • Increased sense of well being (decreased healthcare costs)
  • Stronger employee retention rates
  • Enhanced company’s bottom line
  • Positive work environment
  • Strengthened company reputation
  • Improved internal communication
  • Boosted creativity
  • Stronger work ethic
  • And much more!

Within the supply chain discipline, many roles can require extra effort and long hours, especially if you are working to meet a deadline, process a shipment, or stay on a production schedule, for example. When employees enjoy the work camaraderie, they are more likely to stay within an organization for longer and with fewer complaints or issues.

What are some things you can do to increase your organization’s employee engagement within supply chain?

Our supply chain recruiters would like to give you some pointers:

Get Employees Excited to Come to Work

If your team doesn’t look forward to coming in every day, employee engagement will suffer. While you can’t bring beanbag chairs into a warehouse or production facility, you can create a friendly environment where workers feel at home and comfortable in their workspace.

For some organizations, this may involve providing incentives to the most productive employees, and for others, it could be playing March Madness in the cafeteria.

As supply chain headhunters, SCM Talent Group routinely speaks with supply chain professionals and executives that are very content in their jobs and with their employers. They rarely entertain an external job move because their employers maintain a relentless focus on taking good care of each employee and providing ample opportunities for learning, development and advancement.

Sure, it takes a lot of work and commitment, but if you focus on keeping your employees excited to come to work, you’ll keep them around and reduce employee turnover.

What Does Success Look Like? 

Whether it’s your SVP of Supply Chain or a Sourcing Analyst, it’s important to make sure each member of your organization understands what success looks like and feels their value and purpose within the company. At any job level, employees want to know that the work they are putting in matters to the business. 

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Establish what success within their role looks like as well as what the overall goals are for the organization as a whole. A great manager realizes that as priorities, roles and circumstances change, which is very common in the field of supply chain, you must reassess goals and expectations.

Reinforcing the idea that each individual’s work is worthwhile and adds to the success of the company will keep your employees motivated and focused on the right objectives and desired outcomes.

Provide Positive & Negative Feedback

If your employees don’t know how they are performing, they may assume the organization doesn’t care about them and what they are doing. Providing positive feedback for a job well done can go a long way.

Alternatively, if you notice a disengaged employee who may not be meeting performance objectives, have a casual conversation to see what’s causing their issues. This can help determine the best options to help the employee reach their full potential, or can help bring any organizational issues to light that can be corrected. 

Invest in Your Employees 

If an employee doesn’t feel there is room to grow both individually and professionally, they are not likely to stick around for long. Encourage individual growth and provide ample opportunities for employees to develop their skills, through continuous training, paying for them to obtain supply chain certifications, reimbursing tuition costs, assigning them to special projects, and putting them into stretch assignments.

Providing opportunities for promotions is also critical for boosting employee engagement. Since we are specialized procurement recruiters here at SCM Talent Group, a great example would be a company searching to hire a procurement analyst. The company that is attempting to fill this position will likely have more success over the long run, and a stronger return on their investment, if they provide opportunities for this procurement analyst to develop into a procurement manager or a procurement director in the future.

Nobody wants to be stuck working for a company that lacks advancement opportunities or a company that rarely promotes from within. 

Get Involved with Giving Back 

Employees want to feel a connection to the company they work for, and if you take an interest in various philanthropic causes, workers may be more engaged. Get involved with a local non-profit, and schedule times to bring a team of employees to volunteer.

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Another idea is to create a matching gift program, where employers contribute the same amount as an employee donates. Employees are more likely to give back if they feel it’s valued, and ideally matched, by their employer. 

Conduct Employee Engagement Surveys Periodically 

A great way to obtain feedback from your employees is to conduct anonymous surveys. This will allow the employees to communicate with their superiors about what’s working well and what needs improvement.

As a manager, it is important to properly evaluate the employee survey responses and focus on making the right changes that will move the needle forward. This shows the employees that you are willing to listen to their concerns and take action as well. As a result, this will make the employees feel more valued, and in turn, can lead to earning more respect, better collaboration, increased productivity, and better retention rates.

Feature Performance Bonuses AKA Spot Bonuses

A great short-term and cost-effective way to get people to engage more with their work is to offer monetary bonuses after completion of an assigned goal or work task. This can be done by holding a competition or establishing a minimum goal to achieve to earn the incentive.

A great example of this in supply chain would be awarding a distribution center team for exceeding a certain metric or goal, such as catching up on a backlog of orders during the peak holiday season.

Boosting your employee engagement doesn’t have to be complicated. Focusing on any of these initiatives can increase productivity and keep your team happy and content within your organization. 

Employee engagement article and permission to publish here provided by Brian Kennedy. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on November 5, 2020.

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