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10 Ideas to Keep Warehouse Pickers Motivated

Warehouse pickers have a significant impact on how smoothly and efficiently the facility runs. These ten ideas will help keep them motivated throughout the day and encourage them to perform their best at all times.

  1. Gainsharing: Workers who benefit from increased productivity are far more likely to feel motivated. Implementing a gainsharing system, where increased worker productivity translates to meaningfully higher pay, motivates workers to do their best at all times. Gainsharing is a bonus incentive system designed to improve productivity through employee involvement.
  2. Automation: Warehouse automation improves productivity by bringing bins to workers which increases the motivation of the pickers warehouse facilities employ. The facility and equipment assists them in meeting their goals can make employees feel like they're being supported, and the boost in confidence might be more than worth the expense.

    The hype around robots taking jobs is reaching a crescendo, in response to an insightful new bookThe Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, as well as an Oxford Martin School study: ‘The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization?‘
  3. Improve Work Shifts: Employees who are worried about their shifts, uncertain of how long they'll work each week, and generally confused about the day are neither high-performing nor especially motivated. Solid, reliable work shifts can quickly resolve this issue - and sharply reduce the need for temporary workers.
  4. Explain The Company Budget: Most companies don't share their financial reports with their employees, but they should - especially if increases in the company's success translate to greater bonuses for their employees. Noting how the company's goals affect them, especially if it means several hundred dollars more as a bonus, will quickly motivate a workforce - and regular follow-up reports will keep them interested.
  5. Focus On The Bottom Line: It can be tempting to focus on time-based metrics, but keeping your attention on the bottom line - what's best for the company, not just what people would like to see happen - can make pickers feel like part of a sensible, cohesive unit. Employees who don't feel involved are rarely motivated to succeed.
  6. Give Them Responsibility: Somebody who has driven a forklift for fifteen or twenty years is very likely to be bored with their job, regardless of how efficient they are. Giving them responsibility and a sense of ownership can cut down on management needs and give workers the sense that loyalty and performance are amply rewarded.
  7. Invest In Training: Confused employees are inefficient employees. Regular training can provide more than motivation - it can provide the skills needed for truly succeeding in the pickers warehouse positions they've been hired to fill.
  8. Promote Safe Practices: Safe practices in a warehouse are about more than avoiding costly healthcare expenses and keeping productivity high. They also motivate people to enjoy working at the facility - after all, anyone who feels that their workstation is unsafe is unlikely to want to stay there for an extended period of time. On the other hand, clean and well-lit areas can make every employee feel like things have been done to help them, and that's something they will appreciate every day they come in.
  9. Emphasize Quality of Work: Focusing solely on the bottom line can result in decreased motivation. Emphasize quality of work alongside productivity, rather than either one to the exclusion of the other. Acknowledging and rewarding high-quality work can be motivating every worker that's on the job.
  10. Use Mobile Workstations: Pickers who have to cross the warehouse to reach a computer terminal are spending precious minutes of every hour moving back and forth. Mobile workstations with portable power, when placed in strategic areas and moved as necessary, can boost motivation as workers feel like their time spent walking isn't a threat to their productivity scores and overall success.

Newcastle Systems offers several sizes of mobile workstations with portable power the warehouse staff appreciate.  Our R&D team is working on a new picking cart with a power supply to give warehouse pickers the best advantage to eliminate steps and stay happy on the job. 

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Topics: Order Picking