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The Shortage of Supply Chain Skills: Why Employee Retainment Is Key

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Over the past several years, the focus on supply chain management has shifted. 

As Baby Boomers retire, the demand for supply chain professionals is rising--and far outstripping the supply of new talent. 

At the same time, the supply chain skills that make a successful professional are changing. 

The antidote? Retaining employees that you already have. Here's why you need to strengthen your employee retention and how to do it.  

Key Challenges to the Workforce

Part of the problem has to do with challenges facing the workforce. 

DHL Supply Chain surveyed more than 350 supply chain and operations professionals in five global regions. Their findings were striking. 

For one thing, they found that the demand for supply chain professionals outstrips the supply of talent by 6:1, with some predicting it could be as drastic as 9:1. 

Worse, companies aren't doing enough to make their case. 

More than a third of companies fail to secure their future talent pipeline and fail to develop the talent they already have. This doesn't just leave them at risk of unfilled jobs--it leaves them at risk of losing employees they can't replace. 

Why Employee Retainment is Critical

This is why employee retainment is so critical to your success. 

When the talent shortage is so significant, you can't afford to have too many open positions. There aren't enough professionals to fill them, and your company will be left short-staffed and unable to meet demands and quality standards. 

Then there's the cost of replacing an employee

You see, replacing an employee isn't just about finding someone else and going through salary adjustments. 

For every employee you replace, you have to deal with the cost of recruitment, training, workplace integration, work hours that HR dedicates to bringing on new talent. 

You have to advertise the opening and sort through applications. You have to pay for background checks and drug tests. You have to do pre-employment assessments. There's the time cost of interviewing candidates and weighing the merits of each. 

And once you bring on a new employee, you have to train them to do the job right. Otherwise, you're setting them up for failure and you'll have to start the whole process over again. So you have to factor in the time and financial cost of orientation. 

Then there's the cost of workplace integration, which isn't just limited to a desk and computer. You have to get software, travel, special equipment, any necessary certifications, and other workplace-specific costs. 

The point is: when you tally it up side-by-side, it's far more cost-effective to keep the employees you have than to try to replace them. 

How to Bolster Retainment

So, if you haven't started thinking about how to boost your employee retainment, now is the time to start. 

Retaining an employee isn't just about balancing workloads or offering free coffee in the breakroom. It's about rewarding good work, incentivizing employees to stick around, and creating a workplace where employees want to stay. 

Here are a few ways to strengthen your employee retainment. 

Recognize and Develop the Talent You Have

First things first: recognize the talent that you already have. 

Every office has employees that set the bar for good performance. Employees that do more than just collect a paycheck--they rise to the challenge, consistently impress their bosses, and always deliver great work. 

They're the superstars of the office. You need to work on retaining all of your employees, but you need to go the extra mile to keep your standout talent. 

The best way to do this is to recognize their efforts and reward them for it by creating a clear career development pathway. Talented employees will stick around if they know they have promotion potential, so show them that promotion potential. 

Don't Neglect Middle Management

This is where the second step comes into play: don't neglect your middle management. 

One of the largest deficits at many supply chain companies lies in middle management, the next step up the food chain from entry-level positions. In many cases, career development is focused on the executive level, leaving many middle managers bereft and frustrated. 

But middle managers, your non-HR and non-C-suite managers, play a critical role in helping you hold onto your employees. They have significant power when it comes to employee engagement. 

They're also the next stage for entry-level employees to progress, so if employees with leadership potential don't see a road to middle management (or that middle management is stagnant) it won't be worth it for them to hang around. 

Get a Handle on Company Culture

Your company culture has a significant role in how your middle management thinks and behaves. 

Let's be honest: if you don't have a strong, positive company culture based around your mission and values, you're fighting a losing battle. 

Young workers aren't content to collect a paycheck. They want to find meaning in their work. And they know they won't be able to do that at a company that doesn't care about culture. 

Keeping Strong Supply Chain Skills in Your Workforce

At a moment when the supply chain industry is in crisis, you need to go the extra mile to attract and retain workers with outstanding supply chain skills. 

That's where we can help. 

Our supply chain recruiters aren't just headhunters--they're industry professionals who know what it takes to succeed in the industry, and they have the industry networks to find the best available talent. 

Ready to find out how we can help? Click here to find out more about our recruitment process.

 


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