how onboarding helps overcome talent and safety challenges (2024)

The start of summer often brings an influx of new employees to the production floor. With many companies preparing for their peak season and ramping up their temporary staff, effectively onboarding new employees is more important than ever. Between newly graduated students entering the workforce, navigating alternative summer schedules, and other environmental challenges, it is crucial to make sure your workforce is educated and engaged in up-to-date safety practices.

Onboarding is certainly not the most exciting topic in the world, but for many manufacturing and logistics companies it can be the secret sauce for improving key metrics around safety while improving employee engagement and retention. One recent survey found that17 percent of workers would sacrifice pay for safety, with 39 percent stating that they have declined a job because of safety concerns. If you are struggling to attract and retain top talent, it may be time totake a hard look at your safety coaching and onboarding practices.

how onboarding helps overcome talent and safety challenges (1)
how onboarding helps overcome talent and safety challenges (2)

breaking down the data: the state of safety today

Before laying out practical suggestions for improvements, let’s examine the current state of occupational safety. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a total of5,486 fatal work injuries in 2022, a staggering 5.7 percent increase from the previous year. Nonfatal injuries also increased 7.5 percent over the previous year, with a total of2.8 million injuries and illnesses reported. When you consider the cost of a workplace injury the numbers add up. Not only does a strong safety program reduce your financial risk, but it is also proven to increase engagement, productivity, and retention. It is important to include a robust safety onboarding program to get your new employees up to speed. Some of the most common onboarding practices used at manufacturing and logistics companies include:

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where onboarding goes awry

One Randstad survey suggests that manufacturing and logistics companies are investing in new onboarding tools and continually upgrading and improving their offerings.

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how onboarding helps overcome talent and safety challenges (6)

Equally encouraging are the 69 percent of managers who say their companies either “always” or “very often” provide training or development opportunities for employees to learn new skills specific to their roles. That’s good news, given thatrole-specific training is an OSHA-recommended safety practice, as well as a key part of any effective safety program. And in a seemingly related finding, managers in manufacturing and logistics are more inclined than their counterparts in all other industries to describe employees as “continuously” taking advantage of opportunities to gain new skills at work. That’s a great sign of alignment between what manufacturing and logistics companies are offering and what their employees want.

Less encouraging, on the other hand, is that a whopping 32% of talent surveyed revealed they received no onboarding at all. Given that only about half of our clients, according to our research, are utilizing the most basic of onboarding tools, a new hire checklist, it’s clear that there’s plenty of room for improvement. Formalizing new hire onboarding with a checklist not only helps managers and HR streamline and standardize the process but also sets the stage for better relationships between coworkers. After all, the first few days of employment are a critical period and can be a deciding factor in whether the investment in a new hire ultimately pays off.

These checklists serve as key risk management tools, too, enabling employers to systematically set and manage expectations on all things safety, such as machine-specific training. Without them, how can you ensure that you deliver a standardized onboarding experience and create a common knowledge base around safety and operations for all new hires?

The simple answer is: You can’t.

Moreover, new-hire checklists have been shown to help get new hires up to speed as much as25 percent faster, so the business case for implementing them at your worksite should be fairly cut and dry. And as an added bonus, by implementing checklists you’ll also be able to review processes far more objectively when things go wrong.

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how onboarding helps overcome talent and safety challenges (8)

Finally, the fact that “self-directed research” is a component of onboarding at more than a quarter of manufacturing and logistics companies right now should raise some eyebrows. Whatever form this research takes, it can’t be effectively or safely applied to day-to-day operations on the floor unless everyone else on the team is in the loop. In light of the close connection between onboarding and on-the-job safety, which is more pronounced in manufacturing and logistics than in most other industries, this is a worrying finding, indeed.

onboarding for the ages

With more and more companies looking tofill their open positions with Gen Z workers newly entering the market, it is important to consider a variety of onboarding methods. Additionally, research from the US Department of Labor shows thatone in four workers is 55 or older. Consider implementing a variety of delivery methods tobuild an inclusive onboarding experience. For example, many Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) may prefer a highly structured program whereas Millenials (born between 1981 and 1996) may find a gamified or more interactive structure more engaging. One way to gauge whether or not you’re onboarding is successful is to gather feedback via interviews, dashboards, or any other reporting. Making sure that your employees - no matter their generation - are able to understand and retain your onboarding curriculum is an important step to keeping your entire workforce safe.

key takeaways

Onboarding is about more than just what happens when new hires show up at your plant or warehouse. That’s when the process formally kicks into gear, of course, but ultimately, the scope and goals of your onboarding process should be much broader, with downstream impacts across the full employee lifecycle.

As you prepare for your seasonal hiring, it is important to build in time to onboard your new hires effectively. Additionally, when you consider ongoing talent and skill shortages in the manufacturing and logistics space, better onboarding processes set the stage for anchoring so-called “boomerang” employees — employees who return to your company after stints elsewhere — down the line. A survey from Randstad found that 80 percent of employees indicated that they were either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to return to former employers in the future.

For manufacturing and logistics companies, better onboarding has the potential to move the needle on key metrics related to both talent and safety, all in one fell swoop. Ready to access the talent you need to move your business forward? To do so, you’ll need to act strategically and make changes today. It all starts with onboarding — and Randstad can help. Download our guide to take the first steps in empowering employees for a safer workplace.

download our guide on empowering employees for a safer workplace.


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how onboarding helps overcome talent and safety challenges (2024)


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