Imagine walking into a warehouse for the very first time. It’s jarring! The fast-paced, hectic working environment can be nerve-wracking. When it comes to warehouse training, it’s important to make new hires feel supported from the start.
Without effective training, new hires slow down warehouse production and become walking liabilities. Putting unprepared people to work on the warehouse floor can demolish the company budget, and your existing workforce won’t appreciate it either.
Prone to injury and turnover, warehouse employees aren’t afraid to cut ties. We know you’ve seen it time and time again – the new hire walks out mid-shift and becomes another statistic. With other competition just down the street, it’s easy to jump ship. It’s time for warehousing organizations to think about what sets them apart.
Warehouses are all challenged by the same organizational issue – keeping enough skilled people to manage the flow of products. Warehouse employees are met with today’s thriving e-commerce world that challenges the industry with a new level of demand. However, warehouses aren’t sitting around waiting for automation alone to speed up production – they are investing in the future workforce.
According to the PwC 2022 US Metaverse Survey, 82% of executives expect the metaverse to be part of their business plans within three years as a new approach to business sustainability. For warehouses, all future signs point to VR. They also mention that 42% of businesses plan to use immersive technology to provide onboarding and training. And this is only the beginning!
What will be the impact of integrating more technology into the warehouse space? Rather than replacing workers, immersive technology is being used to upskill and onboard employees, all while making their safety a priority. Virtual reality (VR) training delivers immersive learning experiences that familiarize learners with the warehouse environment and allow them to practice new skills in a life-like simulation.
VR and the Future of Warehouse Training
As the youngest workforce enters the warehousing industry, organizations are beginning to recognize them as digital natives. Not only has their education been centered around digital learning, but technology has influenced their entire lives. Because technology is their learning preference, VR training attracts the Gen-Z workforce. Plus, VR is a fun and engaging way to onboard new employees and improve their retention.
The opportunity to learn through extended reality (XR) training sends a clear message that there’s been a true investment in employee skills. In VR, immersive warehouse simulations improve things like spatial awareness and technical skills. For example, learning how to locate products or rehearsing safe lifting practices in a VR headset prepares hires to walk onto the warehouse floor with confidence and competence. The development of these abilities through modern training is pushing the manufacturing industry forward.
The demands in warehousing have seen a big shift since the lightning growth of e-commerce. It seems as though an Amazon warehouse is popping up in every neighborhood, and our favorite stores are offering new convenient ways to purchase products. With the increase in consumer spending, warehouse efficiency means something entirely different today. The surge in products and the necessity to move them faster centers around customer satisfaction.
Thanks to the pandemic-driven boom in online shopping, the country's fulfillment and distribution centers continued to staff up at a furious pace. Today they employ 1.8 million Americans — up 37% since January 2020 and up 183% from January 2010.
While big-box stores are giving us exactly what we want during this season of change, keeping up with the high demand of our fast-paced lives comes with a huge learning curve. With a booming warehouse industry, employers have a laser focus on retention. How will they ever keep up with demand if they don’t have a dependable workforce?
Here’s an easy formula to help explain. There are three aspects that every warehousing operations team should examine with a fine-tooth comb when solving for retention:
- Turnover: Is my team happy with their work enough to stay?
- Safety: Am I providing a healthy environment for my team?
- Skills: Does my team have the desire and capacity to learn and grow with us?
It all points back to you. Did you set your team up for success on day one? Are you fostering a safe environment? Do you provide a clear career path for each team member? Let’s see.
The onboarding process can make or break an employee’s work habits. There’s a lot of information to take in, and depending on who they’ve been trained by – a new warehouse employee could start their first day with skills guided by years or just a few weeks’ worth of experience. VR eliminates inconsistent training and provides an opportunity to:
Turnover is a huge pain point for organizations in any industry, but in warehousing – turnover rates are exhaustingly high.
How does this tie to VR? All the learning benefits of VR onboarding increase retention. VR programs allow employees to earn their sea legs through an accessible, tactile training experience. By closing the training gaps and reinforcing standard work practices, new hires begin their employment at the same starting point and benefit from the security of having the right knowledge to perform their jobs.
Any worksite, especially those where manual labor is involved, must ensure a safe environment and safety procedures. VR training allows warehouse employees to learn by doing before they ever enter a real warehouse.
No one wants people or equipment damaged in the process of building new skills. Warehouse VR training prevents future incidents while providing a safe space for workers to identify hazards and practice mitigating risk while on the job.
Upskilling is becoming a top priority for warehouse employees as the landscape of manufacturing evolves, which is a huge benefit to organizations. The more people looking for opportunities with upskilling and longevity, the greater the opportunity for organizational growth and retention.
High turnover, safety incidents, and skill gaps that continue to plague the warehouse make it clear that training and onboarding practices must cater to the evolving demands of the industry while empowering the people behind the production.
Easy Ways to Get Started
It’s no surprise that VR has made a business case for itself has being the safest and most effective training modality for different learning experiences across the board, so what’s next? As the Fortune 100 continue to pave the way for smaller organizations to adopt virtual reality into their business strategies, the future of learning offers options for companies of all shapes and sizes.
Looking Towards the Future
It’s no surprise that warehouse employees are in high demand. In order to streamline efficiency, you have to meet people where they’re at. There’s an amazing opportunity to do that with VR training.
VR warehouse training allows onboarding to rehearse their roles in a safe environment to reduce injuries in the real world. Immersive learning gets new employees where they need to be at a faster rate by providing experiential learning that transforms performance.
VR Warehouse training equips workers with the skills and knowledge they need to perform tasks and job functions in the real world. Want to read more from Roundtable? Check out more warehousing articles like this: How To Use Technology For Warehouse Training: 5 Examples
Roundtable Learning creates virtual reality warehouse environments that immerse learners and maximize their best skill sets. Train your employees more efficiently while creating a safer work environment.
Learn more by taking a look at our VR Warehouse Training Demo.