Managing a warehouse workforce, or even a team within a warehouse, will stretch and challenge you and provide experience in managing people, while also putting you close to the operation. It’s a great way to gain practical supply chain knowledge and strengthen your expertise.

One of the challenges in warehouse management is employee motivation. Some warehouse roles can be quite repetitive and mundane, so it’s essential to find ways of keeping the workforce engaged and motivated. In this post you’ll find a few tips to help you motivate a warehouse workforce.


Financial Gain as a Motivational Tool

When it comes to using bonus payments as a motivational tool, you need to be judicious, lest you incentivise the wrong behaviours. However a gainsharing scheme, in which warehouse operatives can increase their earnings by raising productivity, is one way to both motivate staff and encourage desirable behaviour. The key benefits of gainsharing are:

1. Employees have an opportunity to raise their income.

2. It encourages a continuous increase in warehouse productivity.

3. It motivates employees to look for ways to improve warehouse processes, engaging them in the drive to meet operational objectives.

It’s important though, to control for behaviour which targets productivity at the expense of quality or safety. One way to do this is through the application of penalties, which nullify or limit an employee’s bonus payment when safety or quality issues are identified.


Gainsharing scheme to motivate workers


Teambuilding to Engage and Motivate the Workforce

A sense of belonging is one of the most important aspects of employee engagement—and a particularly vital element of effective teamwork. Since warehouse operation depends upon people working well in teams, there’s every reason to use teambuilding activities to keep your workforce engaged and motivated.

This doesn’t have to mean expensive country retreats with assault courses and raft-building, although if your budget allows, structured teambuilding events like these can be effective in developing cohesion and improving team performance.

However even occasional team outings or a pizza meal in the staff canteen once a week can help to show your warehouse teams that they are valued by your organisation. Look for ways to establish team identities and to meld each team into a tightly knit unit. At the very least, you should ensure your warehouse employees are briefed in teams and that team performance is monitored, measured, and recognised.


Add Variety to Work Schedules and Shifts

A warehouse workforce is more likely to feel engaged and motivated if each operative has opportunity to change up the mix of daily tasks. For example, an employee who cycles between picking, goods-receiving, dispatch, and put-away, is more likely to be motivated than one who does nothing but picking week-after-week, month-after-month.

By enabling your staff to switch tasks periodically, you also gain the benefit of a multi-skilled warehouse workforce, so when sickness strikes or demand for a specific activity hits a peak, you can quickly transfer people from other areas to bridge the manpower gap. This benefit is enhanced even further if you can cycle your workers between warehouse floor and office-based activities.


Multi-skilled Warehouse Workforce


Increase Your Knowledge of Employee Motivation

Keeping employees engaged and motivated in the warehouse or elsewhere, is crucial to the success of a supply chain operation. It’s also a great way to gain leadership experience and hone your people-management skills.

If you enjoyed these tips on workforce motivation and have access to our Supply Chain Leaders Academy resources, be sure to review e-Class numbers 14, 18, 19, 66, 88, 89, 90, and 91, which all include tips for managing people in the supply chain.

If you’re not yet a member of the academy, we’ll be glad to welcome you onboard. Contact us today to discuss how we can boost your supply chain education.


Contact Rob O'Byrne
Best Regards,
Rob O’Byrne
Phone: +61 417 417 307


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