As one of our 6 Labor Moves to maximize warehouse operations, training programs play a key role. To learn more about our 6 Labor Moves, click here. Building and implementing an effective, three-pronged warehouse training program benefits both the employer and the employee — here’s how to do it.
For businesses trying to fill open warehouse positions, adequate training is crucial to maintaining an optimum level of efficiency and safety within your operation. With new employees operating material, handling equipment, managing inventory, and forming the foundation of your warehouse operations, there is little room for error.
Training plays a major role in the quality and safety of your operations, and a rushed onboarding experience can leave an employee underprepared and pose serious threats to themselves and others. When developed and implemented correctly, an effective warehouse training program benefits both the employer and the employee, cultivating a positive work experience all around.
The Benefits of Training
A Safer Workplace
Safety first. Incorporating safety best practices into your warehouse training program can reduce the number of work-based injuries by protecting the employee (your greatest asset) from harm and you (the employer) from liability and litigation.
Proper training ensures that new hires are aware of warehouse processes and can contribute to an increase in overall productivity. Tracking and measuring the progress of your new hires post-training also allows managers to make program and process adjustments where necessary to increase efficiency, improve performance, and justify your staffing investment.
Higher Employee Retention
A well-developed training program provides employees with the guidance and tools necessary to effectively do their jobs. Investing in training and professional development empowers employees and communicates that they are valued. This investment also yields positive results for employers in the form of lower turnover rates, increased productivity, and improved performance.
Consistency in Operations
As success drives growth, companies often neglect to properly train new employees. As employees are assigned to new positions, they are often left to figure out how to perform and complete the job requirements based on previous experience. The lack of a uniform approach can result in inconsistent methodologies, quality problems, and other complications. A solid warehouse training program can eliminate these potential issues from happening.
Decreased Need for Supervision
Untrained staff can drain your resources and distract managers from performing more important tasks. New hire training programs free up managerial time by teaching employees to perform the work themselves. Fewer questions, fewer problems, and lower error rates mean more time for your management to focus on more strategic items.
Training The Right Way: Incorporating a Three-Step Approach
Untrained warehouse workers can pose serious threats to your operations and themselves. Implementing an effective training program to equip your new hires and continuously develop existing workers can help to reduce these risks while allowing your operations to benefit from the positive effects it provides.
An effective general warehouse training strategy incorporates a three-step approach which includes: safety training, standard operating procedure (SOP) training, and quality training.
Safety training is essential to mitigate risk and we recommend that you always start with safety. A solid safety training program informs workers of safe handling guidelines, potentially hazardous materials present, clothing guidelines, correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and more. Be sure to use visual aids for clarity and to reinforce the importance of safety first.
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Training
SOP training educates employees on the day-to-day functions and responsibilities expected of them. The program content includes the materials used, standard processes, material handling equipment operation, how-to demonstrations, and the warehouse floor layout. Using designated trainers and training materials supports and improves any on-the-job (OJT) training for new hires. Examples, simulations, observation/job-shadowing, and visual aids are great elements to incorporate to ensure new hires understand your SOPs and the most critical steps in your process.
Quality training ensures that the actions performed and the final products produced are to the customer’s standards. The use of TAMU boards showing examples of what Target, Acceptable, Unacceptable, and Marginal standards look like is very helpful for new hires and are great reminders even for experienced workers. Be sure to leverage any Quality Assurance or Quality Control (QA/QC) team members to reinforce critical steps to quality (CTQ – Critical to Quality.)
Again, any approach to training is optimized when each training segment incorporates both visual-based teaching techniques and on-the-job (OTJ), hands-on learning techniques. Not everyone learns the same way, so be sure to include visual, auditory, and hands-on elements for an effective training program.
Throughout the training cycle, it is important to integrate trainee checkpoints to assess progress. Whether the individual is engaged in onboarding or continuous skill development, assessments can provide key insight into information retention, which is ultimately indicative of the effectiveness of the training provided.
The Impact of a Training Specialist
General training, if not taught properly, can introduce risk to an operation. By making a performance labor solution part of your labor strategy, your business can leverage the expertise and experience of a partner to effectively hire, onboard, and train a safer and more productive workforce.
At Insource, we specialize in the staffing and training of employees within the manufacturing and distribution industry as part of our solution. Our OSHA-compliant initial and continuous equipment training, road tests, re-certification, and more ensure your employees are equipped with the tools needed to succeed. To learn more about the training resources including in our labor solutions and what makes us different, contact our team. To learn more about our 6 Labor Moves, click here.