Thinking Outside The Box The Potential of Management Training for Reducing Turnover in Warehouse/Distribution Environments

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Avoidable turnover is a costly issue for firms, particularly in the warehousing industry. Retaining workers is an important priority which allows firms to meet complex and demanding customer service requirements. Distribution tasks such as order processing and fulfillment are highly labor intensive and further add to the cost of turnover. Increasing order volumes also tax firms operating within a growing e-commerce economy. A sustainable solution is needed for the avoidable turnover problem in such firms. By encouraging management development programs for first line managers through coaching it is expected that the avoidable turnover rates can be reduced effectively. The theory of human resource devolution links strategic policy to employee practices by using line managers as HR implementers. Through the targeted training of line managers firms will be able to reach more of their low-level employees, increasing job embedment, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and eventually retention rates. Several cases studies are reviewed, consisting of exploratory research on management training in warehouses as well as the barriers that improved human resource devolution currently faces. An applied case study from the Mayo Clinic is also referenced, concerning the implementation of a management training program in response to the high turnover rate of its medical staff. The literature review acknowledges the relatively new nature of its topic. Further research can be done, especially in the warehousing sector where there is both the potential for additional scholarship and a financial need to find cost effective solutions to the problem.

Keywords: warehouse, first line manager, management coaching, training, development, turnover, retention, distribution, logistics, HR devolution, management training program, avoidable turnover, leader member exchange, Attraction Selection Attrition Framework, strategic human resources, leadership

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Human Resources