How to Speed up Warehouse Employee Onboarding

Training a new warehouse employee takes, on average, 6-8 weeks to get them up to speed, which means warehouses are spending thousands of dollars on onboarding costs per new hire. With labor at its highest cost ever, warehouse picking accounts for 60 percent of operational costs - millions of dollars per year, per warehouse.

The good news is, there are ways to drastically reduce onboarding time of new employees.

Why is Good Training so Important?

Fast and efficient onboarding and training of new employees is important for several reasons.

It reduces time-to-productivity, which is a good way to measure the strength of your onboarding process. It measures the time required for an employee to meet productivity (like picker per hour), safety, and quality standards. 

It reduces turnover, so you aren’t constantly having to spend time, money, and energy training new employees. Proper training will set expectations with new employees, reduce frustration and confusion long-term, and, subsequently, reduce the chances of them rage-quitting from your warehouse. 

It reduces safety-related accidents. Safety training is incredibly important in warehouses where loud, heavy equipment is weaving around aisles alongside human pickers. Communicating safety compliance measures early on will help reduce these incidents. Warehouses should also consider incorporating hands-free picking technology that increases onboarding speed and safety by allowing pickers to focus on the task at hand. 

Best Practices for Onboarding Your Supply Chain Workforce

The average tenure of an Amazon warehouse employee is 9 to 12 months. In fact, warehouses have some of the highest turnover of any industry - at a whopping 37 percent. For context, the average turnover rate is 3.6 percent.

While you still won’t be able to keep every employee, good training will help in producing and keeping an efficient workforce. 

Let’s take a look at ways you can achieve that.

Outline Clear Onboarding Goals and Role Expectations

The first step of setting any employee up for success is setting clear goals and expectations so there’s no confusion or disparity between what their role entails and what they’re responsible for. 

Friction and turnover happens when someone’s role and expectations aren’t clearly defined. When managers and employees have different ideas of what’s expected, it’s a recipe for disaster - and frustration. The best way to avoid this is to clearly define both and ensure the employee understands what’s expected. 

Some good onboarding goals include:

  • Ensure the employee is familiar with safety protocols
  • Outline and review role expectations clearly with the employee
  • Train the employee on any job-related tools and equipment
  • Verify with the employee that they understand and is able to uphold quality standards 
  • Set goals and milestones for employee achievement and review progress with them regularly

Use Customized Training Portals

One of the most important aspects of the onboarding workflow is teaching new employees about the warehouse layout, products, and tools they’ll be using on the job. Training portals can help associates get acclimated faster than setting them free in your warehouse - employees with zero picking experience.

A good training portal will include information about how to use on-the-job technology like a barcode scanner. Of course, if you’re using a hands-free picking technology - like Ox’s - you can cut that part of the training manual out completely because your employees will immediately understand the intuitive workflow and universal iconography and colors that come standard. More on this in the next section.

How to Reduce Warehouse Employee Training Time

The key to reducing onboarding time for your warehouse and supply chain employees is to set them up for success from the start with clear goals and expectations plus a familiarity of their new space using training modules. 

Onboarding employees with hands-free order picking tech (like Ox’s) is up to 37% faster than traditional methods and can increase workforce efficiency and accuracy by 25%. Ox’s hands-free picking technology takes the guesswork and inconsistency out of fulfillment by equipping your team with:

  • Smart out-of-stock substitutions
  • Real-time messaging with team and customers
  • Product information at their fingertips
  • Visibility into product availability
  • Product locating and verification
  • Associate training
  • Fully customizable to your workflow and needs

Get in touch with Ox to learn how we can help operationalize your employee onboarding and increase order fulfillment.