Warehouses have a reputation for running employees ragged in the interest of efficiency. Too many people acquire horror stories there that they tell long after they leave. Your own warehouse doesn’t have to follow that same pattern. To learn how to change your warehouse culture, consider these three general pointers.
Set the Tone
A culture shift starts with your leadership. While it’s easier to view an ailing culture as outside of yourself, it’s important to do some introspection regarding your role in it. Consider how you model (or don’t model) company values in your conversations, supervision, and vision-casting. Rather than falling into the trap of viewing people as means to an end, take time during your day to pour into them as people. This may require you to entirely reframe what you view as a valuable use of time during the workday. These kinds of re-conceptions are the starting point of a new culture.
Plan Regular Culture “Temperature Checks”
As you work to change your warehouse culture, commit to hearing employees out and checking in with them on a regular schedule. Voicing their input allows staff to take ownership of their workplace. It’s then your responsibility to take their suggestions and find ways to bring them to fruition, within reason, of course. Don’t elicit their opinions but fail to make subsequent changes—this demoralizes people quickly.
Holding regular temperature checks also breaks down barriers between staff and management. They democratize communication and demystify the company’s inner workings for employees who may feel shielded from such processes.
Prioritize Safety Above All Else
Given the wide range of products they handle, warehouses are at a higher risk of accidents. There are, for one example, tons of common mistakes forklift drivers make that can lead to injury and damages. When you instill a culture of safety and caution, these and other accidents become rarer and rarer. Practically, this looks like providing personal protective equipment, creating signage aligned with OSHA standards, and being consistent about adhering to safety regulations. This consistency should go beyond just being careful when you have an inspection.
Also, when you advocate for safety, you’re accomplishing dual goals by promoting workers’ health and protecting customers’ products. That’s a no-brainer for a positive warehouse culture.