The global pandemic has caused a seismic shift to the way the logistics and supply chain sector responds to worker supply and demand. This, along with the enforcement of the Brexit migration policy has exposed the value in people resources and shone a stronger spotlight on the skills gap. With the transition to third country EU status, the impact of freedom of movement on goods, services and people has been felt across Europe. The industry has had to adapt quickly to new process and paperwork requirements that must now be completed to the new standard so that service and delivery can still resume.
However, as lockdowns around Europe continue to be eased in some places and fully lifted in others, businesses across the logistics and supply chain sector must turn their attention back to the critical issue of accessing and retaining talent, whilst also considering the personal needs of employees.
In the elastic world of work, the boundaries between personal and professional life are blurred and the need for advanced technology that encompasses both work and home requirements is more vital than ever.
Increasing and gaining flexibility, visibility, and control for supply chain businesses has never been more important. This is a sector that must empower its workforce with digital HR tools that empower employees to take greater control of their work-life balance. Now is the time for organisations to put employee retention efforts at the top of their agendas, invest in re-skilling and multiskilling workers, as well as increase personalisation of the employee experience.
Leveraging technology to put the right people, in the right place, at the right time
The UK’s supply chain industry is one of the hardest hit industries by new legislation brought on by Brexit, impacting freedom of movement on goods, services, and people. The Road Haulage Association estimates that there is currently a shortage of over 100,000 drivers and media reports of delays at borders have been widespread.
Accurate staffing is therefore critical in the supply chain sector for workflows to move along, orders to be filled, and customers to be served. Organisations should therefore leverage modern workforce management, human capital management (HCM) and HR service delivery (HRSD) solutions such as UKG, complete with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for accurate staffing, improved customer service, and excellent employee engagement and experience.
These technologies can also speed up the hiring process by automatically generating contracts of employment with electronic signatures through to creating shift patterns that work for both the business and employees and supporting payroll accuracy by capturing the correct hours worked and rates of pay.
Considering the skills shortages, a modern workforce management solution can identify visibility of available resources and skills to staff a particular role at a certain time while considering the employees scheduling preferences and hours worked. The system can then offer that shift to the employee for them to accept – giving the power to employee and freeing up managerial approval and review.
Oftentimes, HR teams and people managers are faced with a heavy load of repetitive, labour-intensive administration which can distract them from more strategic, business-critical projects. Leveraging modern HR service delivery technology to automate common paper-based workflows can allow HR teams and employees alike to focus on the critical work that gives them a greater sense of accomplishment and belonging to the organisation, boosting engagement and more productive employees. Empowering employees through the use of self-service access via mobile devices to request shift changes, holiday requests, and recorded work hours will also help to alleviate workload for those in managerial positions.
Investing in people
People are the greatest asset to any organisation, especially within the logistics and supply chain sector. Digitalisation of all things HR can create a frictionless employee experience and support increased HR efficiency.
Businesses should now be looking for new ways to innovate and improve the employee experience with the goal of achieving greater staff retention. Organisations that work to make their employees feel valued as we move out of the pandemic and into the future of work will define their own future success.
Now, with a much smaller pool of talent to tap into, it is vital that the logistics and supply chain sector continue to invest in retaining their employees if they are to navigate the consequences of the Brexit migration policy. This includes investments in proper training and clear career advancement to give employees up-to-date skills and broaden their capabilities, or are reskilled and redeployed in areas that best serve their interests and that of the business.
Amidst the most challenging time facing HR teams and business leaders in recent history, HR has an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of what they do. It must now capitalise on the opportunity to reimagine the HR function and firmly secure its place in the boardroom as a key decision maker.
As many businesses have begun their staggered return to work, employers have turned their attention to reboarding staff and adjusting to the new state of play. Increased utilisation of technology in businesses has brought with it the new hybrid way of working and in terms of retaining staff, organisations now have new issues to support their teams on. These include supporting the mental wellbeing of employees as a result of isolation or additional life dynamic stressors and adapting to a new working model.
In fact, research from the workforce institute found that only 53% of U.K. workers believe that their organisation went above and beyond expectations during the pandemic, leaving quite a lot of room for improvement. If business leaders fail to put processes in place to combat sentiments such as these, they’ll soon feel the effects of the migration policy and worker shortage.
In the modern world of work, organisations must build a culture that places employees at the centre of important decisions. Those who do not adhere to this will face a difficult road ahead as employees and temporary workers may seek new opportunities where they feel valued and listened too.
With legislation becoming even more complex, delivering HR processes in a consistent and compliant manner from both an employment law and GDPR perspective will allow HR to remain part of the solution and not the problem.
It is the organisations that have prepared for this smaller pool of talent by implementing the latest workforce management, HR service delivery and human capital management technologies that will be best placed to survive this challenging period. Historically, organisations that have embraced HR digitalisation have had the agility to adapt the quickest over the past 18 months, and most importantly they have not just put themselves in a position to survive but thrive. Investing time and effort into current employees through UKG products can have a positive and lasting effect on staff retention and future recruitment.