training-warehouse-pickers (1)

Hiring and Training Warehouse Pickers

3 minute read

Order pickers are the backbone of a warehouse. The front office handles sales, the shipping department gets the orders out, but in between everything rides on getting that pick done quickly and accurately.

It’s hard because of privacy laws and so forth to get a previous employer to be forthcoming about an individual’s work history, so let’s cover some basic hiring tips for staffing up.

Basic Hiring Tips for Warehouses and Distribution Centers

  1. When placing ads or dealing with an agency, be very specific as to what you’re looking for in a new hire. Make clear that order pickers will be on their feet a lot, whether or not they will be pushing a cart or using a self-propelling cart.
  2. Specify the type of equipment that they will be expected to use beyond carts. Equipment can include loaders, stackers, positioning equipment, pallet jacks, and forklifts. Certain equipment like forklifts requires certification of training and OSHA compliance. Do not hire untrained personnel to operate equipment that they are not familiar with unless you are going to provide training.
  3. Specify what personal safety gear you provide, such as hard hats and high visibility vests.
  4. Provide a comprehensive job description. This is a document in plain language that explains the tasks and duties associated with the position, as well as the hours to be worked, vacation and sick day policies, the pay per hour or salary when performance reviews will take place, and any bonus structure. It’s also smart to put in place procedures for filing a grievance to head off workplace conflicts. The grounds for dismissal should also be clearly outlined.
  5. Drug tests are a contentious matter in modern labor law. In places where medical or recreational use marijuana is law, it has to be clearly stated that no worker can come to work impaired. This policy goes for opiates and benzodiazepines that might be described by a doctor.
  6.  Background checks and ban the box. Some states and localities have laws against asking if a candidate has a conviction or a criminal record. While a company can conduct a background check, using the results of that background check to deny employment can be legally risky. The general rule of thumb is that the type of offense, the years passed since the arrest, successful completion of parole or probation, and how these factors weigh against the position being filled.
  7. Taking the application is the time to screen out applicants who would not be a good fit for the job. The biggest red flag is a high number of jobs in a short time, followed with vague reasons for leaving those jobs and incomplete contact information. Other warning signs include a long period between jobs that are unexplained and that can’t be documented.
  8. References should be a part of any application, and you should be able to get three non-family references if hiring anyone not fresh out of high school. Cross check names and telephone numbers in Google and be wary when the contacts don’t answer or don’t seem to be who they are claiming to be.

If you can’t outsource your applicant interviews by hiring an HR interviewer, then learn how to interview effectively.


Technology for Warehouse Workers

Despite the widespread availability of warehouse management hardware, not many candidates have experience with it. There’s a learning curve when it comes to working with pick-by-light systems, RF scanners, wrist scanners, tablets, and so on. Designate a “training buddy” who has been using the tools successfully, and assign them to the same picking area. Doing is the fastest method for learning when it comes to picking technology, with pick-by-light or put-by-light guiding the picker to the SKU, then scanning the item from the bin to the pick cart.

The difference is especially obvious when using Voodoo Robotics Cloud Display Devices, a unique new type of wireless, wifi-enabled pick-to-light that has 140 characters of useful information. For example, it can exhibit the picker’s name and the order number, and address the picker directly with a ringtone assigned to the picker. Deployment needs only a screwdriver or velcro tape and a pair of AA batteries to put the device anywhere it’s needed. Picking is faster and more accurate, and warehouse staff has time to fill more orders. Call today and get a live demo and see what this unique and budget-friendly technology can do your operation.