Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine exploring innovations in the industrial sector.

The logistics industry continues to grapple with the impact that COVID-19 had on the global supply chain. New consumer preferences and ongoing disruptions pose major challenges for the industry.

As a result, hiring practices in logistics have also started to shift. New HR trends are emerging as businesses reconsider how they should hire and manage workers two years into the pandemic.

These X trends are some of the most important for the industry, and likely show where HR in logistics is headed.

1. More Competitive Compensation Packages

Often, the most straightforward way to attract workers in a tight labour market is to increase salaries. While many businesses are reluctant to rethink payment in such an unpredictable market, increasing salaries may be one of the best ways to hire and retain talent right now.

Additional benefits are also helping businesses retain workers. Companies are leveraging both benefits like insurance and PTO as well as new bereavement policies and financial wellness benefits to retain employees.

As inflation increases and drives up the cost of essential goods around the country, financial wellness benefits may become a valuable strategy for encouraging workers to stay with a company.

Fortunately for businesses, it’s often possible to increase salaries or offer new benefits without necessarily driving up operational expenses. Higher wages can discourage absenteeism and reduce turnover, heading off expensive recruitment processes and certain training expenses.

In addition to rethinking compensation, companies are also considering new perks for their logistics workers. Work from home policies, for example, along with technologies that streamline the onboarding of new employees, are helping companies offer their workers more flexibility.

Across the industry, new technology and technology policies, in particular, are helping businesses adapt and make workplaces more attractive to new hires or drive engagement. Robotic process automation and other automation solutions, for example, can simplify many different types of work, both reducing staff workload and improving business efficiency.

2. New Talent Pipelines and Reskilling

Businesses and their partners are also rethinking how they’ll attract and retain full-time talent over the next few years.

In the UK, for example, a number of organizations are working to build stronger talent pipelines — like the Universities of Warwick and Newcastle, which recently came together to launch a new initiative for training logistics professionals to support the industry’s electrification.

According to the universities, “the effort will identify the people, skills and facilities needed across a range of academic disciplines and levels” to facilitate the British transportation industry’s transition to electric vehicles and logistics equipment.

Talent pipelines like these will help the logistics industry grow a pool of workers who can perform essential tasks like driving trucks or longshore work. They can also help the logistics industry prepare for upcoming market shifts and transitions — like the industry’s pivot away from fossil fuels.

Some of these businesses redeveloping their talent pipelines are also eyeing international workers as a way to offset tight local labour markets. While international hiring comes with its unique challenges and certain compliance mistakes are common, like global tax errors, there are significant benefits to going global during a talent search.

In some cases, businesses are also rethinking position requirements in addition to investing in stronger talent pipelines. They may be relaxing requirements for specific roles or opening up certain positions to people with a criminal record. Not every position can be opened up to people with criminal records — reckless driving charges, for example, will bar a person from filling certain transportation roles.

However, “second-chance” hiring may be an excellent way to expand the talent pool for other roles, like administrative, customer service and janitorial positions.

3. Workforce Scalability

In an unpredictable market, a flexible workforce can be an invaluable asset. Many businesses, as a result, are adopting a scalable approach to workforce management.

Businesses are increasing the number of part-time and temporary workers that they hire. These workers fill in the gaps left behind by absent full-time employees and, like cross-training, make it easier to manage turnover and absenteeism.

A scalable approach to hiring, along with work-from-home policies, can also provide businesses with access to a larger talent pool.

While part-time and temp workers cannot fully replace full-time workers in every situation, they often provide valuable support to core staff when hiring additional full-time workers is challenging.

In addition to hiring new workers, businesses are also cross-training current workers to ensure that they can perform critical tasks outside of their roles as needed.

Cross-training workers to handle key functions can help businesses ensure that important tasks can be done, even when workers are absent.

Businesses can also manage some of the limitations of this scalable approach with improved workforce analytics and management tools. A platform that can predict the labour needs of a logistics business will make it much easier to depend on part-time and temporary workers to support core, full-time staff.
HR Trends May Make It Easy to Recruit Logistics Workers

As with most sectors of the economy, logistics is facing a major labour shortage right now. Absenteeism and turnover are elevated, and businesses that need new workers are finding it harder to hire the right talent.

New HR trends may help businesses of all kinds navigate this labour shortage. Changes to compensation and benefits, new talent pipelines and the scalable approach to workforce management may all help companies adapt to a changing labour market.

In the near future, these new workforce management techniques could reshape logistics. Remote work, flexible working arrangements and new perks or benefits may all become more common in the industry over the next few years.