By Bart De Muynck

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FreightWaves or its affiliates.

In today’s dynamic business landscape, talent is scarce and the competition is fierce. We are faced with an aging work population, so organizations are prioritizing human capital like never before.

It’s no longer enough to simply hire bodies, whether that means a driver, a warehouse worker or an office worker. Hiring workers for warehouse operations is one thing; retaining them is an almost equally daunting challenge. The warehousing industry consistently scores among the highest for annual employee turnover in the U.S., typically more than 40%.

Organizations need to understand, engage and nurture their workforce to unlock true productivity and retain top talent. This is where the concept of “people insights” takes center stage. Data-enabled insights can unlock the power of people, resulting in improved labor efficiency and retention. Logistics workers are increasingly plugging into information systems all day long at work (such as TMS, WMS, telematics, yard systems, etc.), and they also have smartphones. Through those channels, data is collected to get to valuable check-ins and feedback.

People insights are the data-driven understanding of employees’ needs, motivations and behaviors. This information, gleaned from various sources like surveys, feedback tools, performance data and even sentiment analysis, provides a 360-degree view of your workforce. By leveraging these insights, organizations can optimize workflows, empower employees and create a workplace that fosters engagement and retention.

Data from the workforce allows companies to boost labor efficiency through targeted training and development. People insights reveal skill gaps and learning preferences, allowing organizations to tailor training programs that address individual and team needs. This targeted approach not only enhances skill sets but also increases employee engagement and satisfaction, leading to improved performance and productivity.

Workforce optimization can be achieved by understanding individual strengths and weaknesses to build high-performing teams and matching talents to tasks. This optimized allocation of resources minimizes wasted effort and improves overall labor efficiency. And finally, it streamlines workflows by identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies in processes. By analyzing data on employee behaviors and task completion times, organizations can redesign workflows to remove friction and enhance overall efficiency.

These people insights also enhance talent retention by understanding what matters. Surveys and feedback tools reveal what motivates employees beyond just compensation. Knowing their values, career aspirations and preferred work styles allows organizations to tailor incentives, reward systems and career development opportunities that resonate with individual interests.

An increased sense of value and purpose significantly improves employee engagement and reduces turnover. People insights can inform the creation of flexible work arrangements, remote work options and customized wellness programs that cater to diverse employee needs and preferences. This personalized approach fosters a sense of belonging and well-being, leading to higher retention rates. Early identification of employee concerns and potential conflicts, through sentiment analysis and feedback tools, allows for timely intervention and conflict resolution. This proactive approach fosters a collaborative and positive work environment, further boosting retention.

To achieve this labor efficiency and enhanced talent retention, companies should invest in technology. Robust data analytics platforms and people insights tools are essential for collecting, analyzing and visualizing data. These tools enable organizations to make data-driven decisions and track the impact of initiatives.

But technology alone won’t do the trick. Organizations should focus on building a culture of feedback. They should encourage open communication and regular feedback from employees through surveys, pulse checks and one-on-one conversations. This fosters transparency and trust, essential for collecting honest and valuable insights. Leaders play a major role in unlocking the power of people through leading by example. Leaders must prioritize the value of people insights and champion initiatives that utilize them. This ensures employee buy-in and fosters a collaborative approach to improving the work environment.

People are not simply cogs in the big supply chain and logistics machine. People are the KEY to organizational success. By investing in understanding and optimizing the human experience through people insights, organizations can unlock a wealth of untapped potential. Improved labor efficiency, reduced turnover and a more engaged workforce are just a few of the rewards that await those who truly see the power of their people. In today’s competitive landscape, prioritizing people insights is no longer just a best practice; it’s a strategic imperative for long-term success.

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About the author

Bart De Muynck is an industry thought leader with over 30 years of supply chain and logistics experience. He has worked for major international companies, including EY, GE Capital, Penske Logistics and PepsiCo, as well as several tech companies. He also spent eight years as a vice president of research at Gartner and, most recently, served as chief industry officer at project44. He is a member of the Forbes Technology Council and CSCMP’s Executive Inner Circle.

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