According to an alarming recent report from Talent for Logistics, only 8% of young people view logistics as an appealing career prospect. Are flexible working hours the solution to this crisis of perception?
The recent report supports what many in the industry have long suspected: logistics has an image problem. Talent for Logistics’ findings also revealed that only 18% of young people had been approached about a career in logistics. A shocking 42% had never even heard of the sector. But could flexible working hours help defuse the ticking timebomb of a logistics talent deficit?
What are the benefits of flexible working hours?
- Attract top talent – flexible working hours are trending among millennials, as well as the wider workforce. A report from Timewise shows that 9 out of 10 people now want to work flexibly; however, only 1 in 10 jobs advertised offer flexible hours. Presenting candidates with the opportunity to work flexibly could give your organisation a competitive edge when it comes to recruitment.
- Encourage employee loyalty – flexible working hours allow employees to make better memories both in and out of work. For example, flexible hours can give working parents the opportunity to be more present for their children during after-school hours. Logistics is a sector where long and demanding shifts are sometimes necessary. By giving recruits the option to prioritise external commitments alongside work, organisations can encourage a culture of give-and-take. Those same employees will be more obliged to step up when the workload increases; for example, logistics workers in the retail sector will inevitably have more demanding shifts during the Christmas rush.
- Improve diversity – a lack of flexible working hours is an oft-cited reason for the diminishing presence of women in senior roles. The incompatibility of balancing childcare with rigid working hours presents an obstacle to many women aspiring for senior management positions. By abandoning stubborn old work practices, you can encourage more diversity at all levels in your organisation.
- Boost productivity & profitability – according to a survey of 8000 organisations and employees by Vodafone UK, 61% respondents said that their organisation’s profits increased while 83% saw a rise in productivity after adopting flexible work hours.
How can you incorporate flexible hours in your logistics operations?
- Accommodating childcare needs – one popular way to incorporate flexible work patterns in your logistics operation is by allowing parents to leave at a set time to collect their children from school or nursery. This can be negotiated without decreasing their work hours; for example, if they wish, employees can take shorter lunches or choose an earlier start time.
- Adapting to transport timetables – inconvenient bus and train timetables combined with an inflexible start time can lead to relatively short commutes taking much longer than necessary. Over time, this can be a root cause of fatigue, low productivity and even high staff attrition rates.
- Make use of cloud-based software – this will allow for an increasingly mobile workforce to work at home or on-the-go.
- Consider offering early starts and finishes where necessary – as long as core hours are covered.
Although the benefits of flexible working hours are clear, when it comes to work practices old habits die hard. According to the Vodafone study, a third of respondents said that adopting flexible work hours would not suit the culture of your organisation. But logistics is a rapidly evolving sector. With increasing omni-channel consumer demand, fast-improving technology and a growing workforce, now more than ever is the time to embrace change in logistics recruitment. Flexible work hours are becoming more desirable with higher adoption rates – and they just may pave the way for the future of logistics recruitment.