Your company is about to open a company-owned and-operated regional distribution center (rather than hiring a third-party logistics provider to run the facility). The team has selected the site, and preparations have begun for filling the building with equipment, racking, conveyors and systems. The carriers have been chosen and are ready to go. Next up are the people.
One of the biggest tasks the Human Resources (HR) department performs is that of human resource planning—the process of creating a logistics staffing plan. The entire procedure, which can be summarized in the following steps, is focused on deploying human resources as effectively as possible, where and when they are needed.
Step one: Employee forecasting
When moving into a new area, the first step is to evaluate the marketplace. Also referred to as employment forecasting, this process calls for a detailed analysis of factors like the availability of skilled and knowledgeable workers—from managers to laborers; economic and seasonal trends; area salary/benefits trends; and union/non-union status.
At the same time, existing company facilities should begin preparing so they will be in a position to lend management personnel to the new facility during the ramp-up period if needed.
Step two: In-house or outsource or both?
Once your company has identified the available pool of workers, it's time to create the staffing plan. Some questions to consider include the following:
Step three: Recruiting
The team assigned to staffing the new center must create a marketing plan for the openings. Complete job descriptions for all vacancies should be posted internally through the company Web site, the company news letter, HR departments at all company locations, and in break rooms and common areas throughout the organization. Offering referral bonuses encourages current employees to recommend family and friends.
Externally, you'll want to find ways to promote the opening of the new center and the positions to be filled throughout the distribution center's new community. Job fairs, local newspaper advertising, and local temp-to-perm agencies are excellent places to begin. If the company is seasonal, look for counter-cyclical companies in the area that may provide a resource with trained personnel who could now be employed year round (half a year at company A and half a year at company B).
Step four: Selection
Comprehensive candidate profiles (mandatory for management openings, recommended for positions such as forklift opera tors or pickers) should be devel oped . These go beyond routine job descriptions showing the standard list of primary duties and responsibilities. Profiles should also include the knowledge, experience and skills required along with a wish list of qualities associated with the ideal candidate.
In preparation for the interviews, you'll need to make some decisions regarding the interview process. Will acceptable candidates work their way up through a sequence of interviews or will the outsourced team and/or HR narrow the selection list to a small number to be interviewed by department heads and/or upper management? Establish a list of legally acceptable interview questions a round the identified selection criteria and determine which elements might be résumé red flags.
Adding a numerical rating schedule to the questions will provide an objective formula for determining the best candidate for the job.
Step five: Verification and the offer
Immediately prior to the job offer, perform a complete background check on the applicant. In addition, consider making negative drug tests a condition of employment for all prospective employees, regardless of their rank. These are protective actions, used to assure all workers of a safe and pleasant place to work . An employee with a background of violent criminal behavior might present a threat of bodily injury to all who work with him. A staff member addicted to drugs may, at the very least, not pull his/her own weight,and at the worst, lie, steal or endanger a co-worker's personal safety. When viewed as the company's responsibilities to safeguard its staff and property, these pre-employent screenings become trust builders between staff and management. This is especially true if you are going to have a shift operation.
Careful preparation of the offer, especially for management candidates, will ensure that it is specific and all encompassing. Align the agreement with the elements of the candidate profile and have the legal department review it to assure that all bases are being covered to protect the company.