Labor Shortage is More About Onboarding Than Hiring

The labor shortage isn't just about people applying for a supply chain role. It’s also just as much about those people who walk out the door shortly after starting the job.

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Driver shortage. Labor shortage. Product shortage. It’s all anyone can talk about. But, while the products and ingredients will eventually work themselves out, it’s the people shortage that really compounds the supply chain disruptions that continue to plague the industry.

Think about it.

You need people to move the product. You need people to manufacture the product. You need people to drive the product from Point A to Point B.

You need people to pretty much do anything and everything in the supply chain.

That’s why it’s of utmost importance to not only hire the right people, but also ensure that the onboarding process paints a positive, enriching picture of the company’s culture, visions and goals. Some industry experts believe that employees leave their new jobs because they see how employees and executives treat each other; they may witness a lack of respect. Maybe the training was subpar. Maybe they just weren’t being challenged enough.

There are a variety of reasons why employees walk out of their new roles during the onboarding process.

But, the labor shortage problem isn’t just about getting those people in the door; it’s also about keeping them.

Companies need to address how their onboarding/training processes operate. Do you have the right people training? Is the new employee able to meet and connect with other employees in other areas of the company? Are they given the right tools and resources to learn and understand the technology? Are executives and other C-suite employees welcoming, or are they distant?

I just experienced an onboarding process of my own, when we brought on our new associate editor. I hadn’t trained a new employee since we hired our now managing editor in February 2020. So much of our internal processes and functions have changed over the past 18 months. Some of our internal training materials were dated. Our files weren’t super organized. Some of our new processes/platforms didn’t even have guides to accompany them. It was a crash course on how to get that a new employee to return that next day (fortunately for me, she’s still showing up to work, ha).

I feel for a lot of today’s companies struggling to find the right employee for that right position. But, does that even exist? The right employee? The right position?

I have two editors working for me who started the job with zero supply chain industry knowledge; but they were skilled in other areas that I needed help, whether that be podcasts, social media and more. I onboarded both the best way I know how – head first. And, today, we learn from each other. We educate each other. We lean on each other. We make the onboarding experience everything we want it to be.

Yes, the labor shortage is about people just not applying for a supply chain role. But, it’s also just as much about those people who walk out the door shortly after starting the job. The supply chain industry is a fascinating place to be. Hopefully today’s companies take the time to showcase that.