Supply chain operations typically involve a lot of long hours and repetitive work. That can make it difficult for employees to feel invested in their jobs, leading to errors, lower productivity and burnout.
If supply chains want to optimize their operations, they can’t overlook employee investment. Here are eight ways that management can encourage their employees to invest more in their work.
1. Help Workers Reach Their Own Goals
One of the best ways to get workers invested in the company is to invest in them first. Management should start by helping employees define and pursue their personal professional goals. This will show that the company cares about their development and is willing to put effort into it, encouraging reciprocation.
This process starts with talking with individual employees to help quantify their specific goals. Studies show that those with defined goals are ten times more likely to succeed than those without them. After that, management can create progress charts to monitor growth, encouraging hard work from employees and pushing them to their full potential.
As workers strive toward their individual goals, they’ll become more invested in their day-to-day work. The company as a whole will benefit as a result.
2. Provide Paths for Upward Mobility
Another crucial factor for employee investment is career advancement opportunities. Just 29% of surveyed employees say they’re satisfied with their workplace’s opportunities for career advancement. If workers don’t have anything more to reach for, there’s not much reason for them to invest heavily in their performance.
By contrast, if there are plenty of paths for upward mobility, employees will have the motivation to work harder. Supply chain organizations can promote from within rather than finding outside hires for upper-level positions. That way, workers will know that they can work their way up, encouraging them to invest in the business.
3. Enable Lateral Movement
In that same vein, supply chain organizations should also enable lateral movement. In addition to being able to move upward, workers should be able to change areas or departments. This will help keep satisfied, productive employees if they decide they want a career change or to apply new skills.
Some workers may start to feel burned out in their current role but have skills and interests that apply to another. Letting them change jobs to work in another department could help them find work within the company that compels them. When employees can find the role that fits them the best, they’ll invest more in their job.
4. Reward Investment
Some strategies to help supply chain employees feel more invested are remarkably straightforward. By rewarding those who invest more heavily in their work, employers can motivate employees to do so. Management should establish a system for rewarding hard work, such as productivity bonuses or an employee of the month scheme.
Monetary incentives are particularly powerful, but they’re not necessary if they’re outside a company’s budget. In one survey, 37% of workers said that more personal recognition would drive them to produce better work more often. Recognizing professional and personal achievements, especially in front of others, can provide the encouragement employees need to feel invested.
5. Be Charitable
Another way to help employees feel more invested is to create a company spirit that they want to invest in. If employees can see how their work contributes to a cause they care about, they’ll be more willing to put more into it. Supply chain businesses can foster this by donating to charities or helping local organizations provide community services.
It’s important to ensure these efforts go beyond one-time actions. They should be ongoing, in-depth initiatives so workers know they’re contributing to meaningful change, not just a publicity stunt. For example, some organizations donate profits to education departments, as well as partner with education organizations. This broader but still unified scope helps make a more substantial impact.
6. Be Sustainable
Another way that companies can help employees contribute to things they care about is through sustainability. Since transportation is responsible for almost a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, supply chains often have considerable carbon footprints. Embracing sustainability initiatives can help make up for this and encourage more investment from employees.
Investing in electric vehicles or renewable energy infrastructure can help supply chain companies become more sustainable. As these efforts grow, workers will see that their efforts within the company contribute to a greener future. Publishing sustainability goals and achievements will help raise awareness and drive further investment from employees.
If possible, try to tie these directly to workers’ achievements. That way, employees will have more concrete encouragement that their actions lead to more eco-friendliness.
7. Organize Team Building Events
Even if companies follow other steps, employees will struggle to feel invested if they feel distant from their coworkers. Businesses can fix that issue by planning regular social events to help build a more communal spirit. When employees feel closer to their coworkers, they’ll feel more engaged at work, driving more investment.
These activities don’t have to look like traditional corporate team-building exercises. They can be as simple as an after-hours party where management provides food, drinks and activities. The more casual and less work-related these feel, the better, as that will help develop closer, friendlier relationships.
8. Listen to Employees
Finally, supply chain organizations should seek employees’ advice on what would help them feel more invested. If management doesn’t take the time to listen to workers’ feedback, the employees will feel undervalued and won’t put in as much effort. Employees may also have good insider advice for the company, so regular surveys can fuel ongoing improvements.
Workers should have an accessible, always available means of giving feedback. While 64% of HR leaders think such a tool is essential, only 20% have one in place. Creating an HR chatbot or comment box is a simple fix that will help employees feel valued.
It’s important to follow up on these comments, too. Asking for feedback won’t lead to any meaningful change if management doesn’t also act on it.
An Invested Workforce Will Drive Success
When supply chain workers feel more invested, they’ll give more to the company. They’ll be more productive, produce higher-quality work and foster more positive workplace relationships. In an industry that can easily become dull and disenchanting, those benefits are impossible to ignore.
These eight steps can help any supply chain business motivate and encourage its employees. They’ll invest more heavily in their work as a result.
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