The average U.S. warehouse worker makes about $28,000 a year. However, the total cost for warehouse labor could be around $50,000 per associate when you add up all the direct and indirect costs, including training, recruiting, onboarding, healthcare and insurance. Multiply that figure by the number of workers at your facility and you’re looking at a massive chunk of change.

As the owner or manager of a warehouse, you may not realize how much you’re spending on every single employee. That’s why it’s important to streamline the hiring and training process as much as possible so you can conserve every penny. 

Labor tends to make up anywhere between 60 percent and 65 percent of the total cost of warehouse fulfillment, not including shipping. If you want to reduce your operating expenses and increase your bottom line, use these employee training tips to start your new hires off on the right foot.

Train Your Employees Using the Latest Technology

The technology behind the warehousing industry is quickly evolving as more businesses invest in smart pickers and stockers, automated warehouse management systems and the latest order fulfillment technology. These tools will help you and your team complete routine processes as quickly as possible. Your workers can use automation to make the most of their time in the warehouse, instead of worrying whether they are lifting the package the right way. Your team can spend their time working with these machines instead of moving and handling your goods manually. 

Don’t Train Them on Outdated Technology

Consider the future of your warehouse before you start training your employees. If you plan on adopting automation in the near future, don’t waste time teaching your employees to do things the old-fashioned way. You may have to start the training process all over again, considering the nature of your operations may change dramatically in the months ahead.

Give Your Employees the Space to Complete the Task at Hand

Nothing will slow down your warehouse like a messy, disorganized workspace. Your employees should have plenty of room to move around the space and find what they need. Keep your warehouse as organized as possible to keep your workers on task. Remove debris from the floors to reduce accidents in the workplace. Keep aisles and doorways clear to keep your workers moving through the facility. Invest in proper lighting to make sure your workers can see their surroundings clearly.

To help clean up your facility, keep trash cans and recycling bins in centralized locations. Remind your employees to be considerate of their work environment. Use collapsible containers and stackable totes to get your containers out of the way when they’re not in use.

Don’t Force Your Employees to Work in Messy, Confined Spaces

Your workers could easily injure themselves or waste valuable time if they are stuck in a messy or confined space. They might cut themselves on a sharp object, slip and fall or bump their head on a piece of equipment. They may also have trouble finding what they need in your warehouse, such as tools and supplies. Your workers may decide to take a job elsewhere if they are having trouble focusing on the task at hand. 

Keep Your Inventory Organized

Efficient inventory management means keeping an eye on your inventory at all times. If you and your team can’t find the things you need in the warehouse, your workers will likely waste time searching for something that should be on the shelf. Use inventory tracking equipment and a warehouse management system to monitor your inventory levels. 

Teach your workers the importance of putting items back where they belong so they don’t end up missing down the line. Organize inventory with industrial storage bins and wire bins to keep certain items visible. Your workers will be able to identify the contents of these containers from across the room so they don’t have to waste time walking up and down different aisles. 

Don’t Teach Your Employees to Add to the Mess

Your employees largely learn by example. If they see you or another senior team member throwing trash on the ground or stuffing random items on a shelf, they will likely adopt the same behavior. Label your shelves and containers to help your employees find what they need. You can also station return bins around your facility so employees can get rid of miscellaneous items in a hurry and put them back where they belong at the end of their shift. 

Consider the Ergonomics of Your Workplace

Working in a warehouse can be a physical pain. Warehouse workers tend to suffer from arthritis, chronic pain, muscle stiffness and carpal tunnel syndrome. Consider the physical limitations of your employees before training them on certain processes. The average worker should be able to get through their shift comfortably without feeling like they’ve been hit by a truck. You can reduce the physicality of the job by investing in automation, such as lift trucks, smart pickers and stockers and conveyor belts. Your workers won’t have to physically pick up hundreds of packages throughout the day, helping them save their energy for when they really need it. 

Don’t Overlook Safety Guidelines and Protocols

Put yourself in the shoes of your employees to get a better idea of what it’s like to work a shift at your warehouse. If your workers are constantly having to bend down, pick up heavy items or work with sharp, potentially dangerous equipment, there’s a good chance one of them will injure themselves or ask for time off as their health continues to deteriorate. Teach your employees how to lift items properly so they don’t end up in the hospital with a broken back. Reduce redundant steps and utilize the latest technology to keep your workers safe. 

The reality of working in a warehouse is quickly changing as more companies invest in automation. Use these tips to make sure your workers feel safe and productive at your facility.