Logistics sector in need of overhauling for employee wellbeing
Imagine driving for 10 hours straight or always being under pressure to make a delivery on time. Irrespective of how the weather might be, rainy, snowy, or gusty, logistics companies are always running to make on-time deliveries. But who takes the most pressure in the logistics sector? Operators, warehouse staff, supervisors? No! It's the drivers who carry the maximum weight on their shoulders. With the world experiencing a grave labor shortage, it has become all the more important to work for health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Considering the U.K.'s freight industry, a study by Haulage Exchange, the country's largest freight exchange platform, highlighted the rising employee stress levels.
It revealed that 50 percent of employees in logistics companies surveyed are experiencing high stress and anxiety levels and other mental health issues triggered by the indirect impacts of Brexit.
In December 2021, the U.K. alone experienced a shortage of 100,000 drivers during a pre-Christmas surge in demand for goods.
This figure not only highlights the shortage experienced in the U.K. but also gives an idea of the competition and challenges waiting ahead. Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers are under greater pressure than ever, putting their mental wellbeing at grave risk.
Is the trend of "Great Attrition" going to persist?
Speaking of the U.S., structural shifts in the U.S. labor market have left companies toiling to both recruit and retain employees. A report by McKinsey reveals that since April 2021, over 19 million workers in the U.S. have quit their jobs. Though some concrete actions can help address this imbalance across value chains in the haulage industry.
But what are the companies doing? To cover the labor shortage, to retain employees, they are resorting to providing their workers with financial benefits. Employee reward is lucrative and can work to some extent, but not if employees start feeling it as a transaction relationship. This is what exactly is happening! Despite giving financial perks, employees are quitting at a much faster rate than ever before.
As per the report, “The Great Attrition,” or as some call “The Great Resignation,” is most likely to persist if not accelerate. The reason being companies are making their efforts based on faulty assumptions. But if companies make a concentrated effort, retaining workers can become possible. If companies invest more in finding the cause behind the poor staff mental health and wellbeing and do not rely on assumptions, there can be a ray of hope in the future.
Why are truck drivers in the logistics industry more prone to mental health issues?
More research by Australia’s Monash University revealed that half of all truckers in the country are in psychological distress. This is not all! Drivers under 39 are committing suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in the country in the logistics sector.
Due to long working hours, unsatisfactory pay, and large time spent away from home and family, drivers are taking the toll of poor mental health. Hence, no wonder the sector is facing a mental health crisis.
The need of the hour!
The logistics sector is a completely different zone. From operators to warehouse workers, the work pressure is at an unprecedented level. Unlike other job spheres, in logistics, establishing social interactions is not so easy. Either an employee is busy attending calls and taking freight orders or working long shifts for their bread and butter.
"Thank you" bonuses will not solve the problem; logistics companies need policies that ensure health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Meaningful "interactions" and not just "transactions" should be a focal point for employee wellbeing if companies want to retain workers. There is a need for wellness programs that ensure employee and organizational wellbeing. A complete overhaul of policies that fulfill the needs of employees can save the sector from the ongoing mental health crisis.
If they change their policies, logistics companies can save a handsome sum of money spent on injury, sick leaves, costs to cover absenteeism and health insurance. The need of the hour is to construct employee-centric strategies and wellbeing programs. Know your employees well to retain top talent and curb absenteeism!