Employee well-being: what levers within the supply chain?

The days when employees had to put up with the working conditions offered by the employer, sometimes at the risk of their health and safety, are over. Between awareness, legal obligations and economic issues, well-being at work is now an integral part of the company’s global strategy.

In this respect, the Supply Chain, which crystallises the difficulty of operational jobs, forecast stress and the race for productivity, is particularly concerned. It is “enough” to activate a few good strategic levers to see a significant improvement in the well-being of employees and benefits for the entire business. Here’s a look at what Colibri has to say…

Employee well-being: a necessary investment… and one that pays off!

In recent years, employee well-being at work has gained momentum. As proof, companies are pursuing CSR policies – real opportunities in terms of differentiation, attractiveness, or competitive advantage – with great vigour. It must also be acknowledged that the health crisis has shifted the balance. The demands of employees and their requirements regarding their working environment have changed priorities somewhat. And even if remuneration remains a significant criterion of attractiveness, well-being in the workplace – through the technologies and tools that allow access to it – is favoured by[1] 70% of candidates as a parameter influencing the choice of their future employer.

Moreover, the context, the changing needs and expectations of workers, and the results of the first initiatives show that investing in well-being at work also has significant benefits for companies:

  • Less absenteeism due to occupational diseases and accidents.
  • More loyalty and consequently less turnover: recruitment and training are a real problem in the supply chain. 14% of the workforce has less than one year’s seniority, reaching 37% for packaging and handling employees!

This is an ideal basis for improving efficiency and quality, but also for reducing costs for the company and, therefore, for meeting the productivity challenge many organisations are subject to.

Employee well-being: 7 levers to deploy in the supply chain

1.      Provide a pleasant and ergonomic working environment

Offices, workshops, warehouses… Whatever the job, it is important that employees feel comfortable in their workspace. The first things that come to mind are pleasant lighting, little noise, regular breaks, places that are conducive to discussion, and a temperature that is “just right”, but that’s not all. The ergonomics of workstations are also a significant factor in the well-being of employees and must be adapted to the activity.

Offices will be provided with ergonomic furniture (chairs, second screens, etc.) and tools to enhance communication, collaboration, and creativity. For operational staff, such as order pickers who travel up to 15 km per day or handlers who lift between 1 and 10 tonnes daily, safety and respect for physical health are the basis of well-being. It is, therefore, a question of reducing the workload using high-performance equipment (manual lifting, voice-controlled machines, lifts, racks, packaging machines, etc.) to limit the risk of MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders), which are the real scourge of the operational professions in logistics.

Especially since the company has everything to gain in terms of competitive advantages, human resources, and productivity!

2.      Focus on flexibility

When possible and desired, the introduction or reinforcement of flexibility is a factor of well-being for the employee. Indeed, the Covid crisis has changed how employees view their work: a third of them, having tried teleworking, only want to return to the office part-time. There is a growing demand for flexible working hours and schedules that can be adapted to personal constraints.

Heresy, anarchy?

On the contrary! With the individualised design of the now hybrid work environments (furniture, tools and technologies appropriate to evolving and movable work modes, access to collaborative applications, etc.), combined with flexible working hours, employees are less subject to stress in reconciling their personal and professional lives. A new way of working that brings them more satisfaction and improves their morale, confidence, and motivation: the best assets for performance!

3.      Supporting professional development

An HR policy in favour of professional development and the support of employees by their managers constitute the winning duo to help each individual grow within the company with “faith”. As supply chain jobs are increasingly segmented, the hyper-specialisation of tasks offers internal career opportunities. In this respect, the manager must listen to the expectations of his teams to detect their precise needs: training to move to another position, coaching to progress in his current mission, skills assessment, mentoring, peer learning, etc.

In all cases, the training policy must be based on regular exchanges with the employee, tools, and an organisation that promotes a learning culture that opens the field of possibilities for all.

Employees are valued, understood, and involved in their development and are more likely to give their best. In the end, all parties win.

4.      Rewarding employees

Let’s stay with the theme of valorisation. The difficulty in logistics jobs, especially in warehouses and preparation platforms, is a factor in staff turnover and absenteeism that is damaging to productivity. Thus, recognition, financial compensation, promotion, or the allocation of new responsibilities are welcome when teams’ performance is good. “Recognition gives meaning to the efforts made and increases motivation to perform one’s work efficiently and with quality… in short, well-being at the company’s service!

5.      Encourage and facilitate collaboration

Cross-functional or vertical exchanges are the key to company well-being, whether in the office, the warehouse, the workshop, or external players. They allow silos to be broken down and synergies to be developed. Therefore, collaboration between teams, departments and the various stakeholders in the company’s activity is essential. By working together, employees have a global vision of the business and can more easily assert their position. Each person can enrich the joint reflection, and strategic decisions are better understood and applied more easily… which creates social ties and a feeling of belonging, fertile ground for well-being!

6.      Make communication easier

To ensure the continuity of the supply chain, it is crucial to know how to coordinate all the players. We mean planners, sales, purchasing and marketing departments, production… To achieve this, COMMUNICATION is not an option! And this is true no matter where the employees are located.

Everyone must have access to a single piece of correct information at the right time so that everyone is working in the same direction: time-consuming trips back and forth between departments are limited, errors are avoided, and, as a result, emergency management is reduced, stress is reduced… efficiency, peace of mind and time are gained!  

7.      Technology for the employee well-being

Technology now plays a central role in well-being at work. It promotes performance by reducing the drudgery of tasks while increasing their value. In the supply chain, S&OP software embodies a way of well-being at work: it reduces inter-organisational conflicts, stress, urgency, and repetitive work for planners.


The principle of an S&OP solution consists of centralising data from the Demand Planning, Supply Planning and Strategic Planning departments, making sales, supply, or production forecasts more reliable and providing access to information in real-time, on a single reference tool. The objective? To facilitate tasks and enable the organisation to react fluidly and quickly to market fluctuations, the emergence of a new player, or customer requirements on a given project. These constraints are no more and no less than the performance challenges that the supply chain professions must meet. To avoid urgency, stress, disorganisation, and loss of efficiency, it is better to say yes to technology! 

But which one?

COLIBRI is a 100% Cloud-native solution specialised in Demand and Supply planning and is entirely in line with this transition towards the well-being of employees at work. Designed for the user, in a spirit of communication and collaboration, this multi-module S&OP software is a formidable weapon for optimising supply chain processes and ensuring the continuity of the value chain. By improving the working conditions of employees, Colibri stimulates commitment to the shared mission and contributes to the performance of the company’s global strategy and productivity gains. An essential competitive advantage: peace of mind and zero stress! Want to know more? Contact us for more information!

[1] Ergotron Europe  2021 study “The Future of Office” by Opinion Matters

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