The summer months are peak season in the electronics recycling industry and Shift Recycling is busier than ever. As we reflect on our growth, it’s a great time to think about where we’ve come from.
Much has happened at Shift Recycling over the past 12 months. The amount of volume we’ve processed is up. We are more skilled than we have ever been. Our team is aligned towards common goals. There is a lot of good stuff happening. The road to success is not an easy one and we still have a long way to go.
In 2017/2018 , our workforce grew by about 13%. Injecting new people into the organization introduces new ideas and philosophies for us to capture and utilize. New team members also bring challenges as they acclimatize to our culture and work processes.
One of our main objectives over the past 12 months was to increase retention and engagement among our warehouse associates. Our attrition numbers (resignations of staff with over 1 year seniority) have always been good (<1%) and remain as such but our probation turnover (resignations within the first three months) is still a challenge. Last year, we lost about 25% of new hires within their first 3 months of employment. That number has improved but is still not where we want to be. Compared to our attrition rate, this tells us at face value that people are leaving the job, not the company.
Creating value in the lives of our employees is about more than paying them well
The warehouse associate job is a difficult one. Our staff is de-manufacturing electronic equipment which entails heavy lifting and physical labour during the entire shift. Those that embrace and enjoy the work rarely leave.
Over the past year, much was done to try and improve the pre-probation turnover while continuing to improve retention and our culture overall. Our strategy revolved around career-building, training, development and communication. We introduced job ladders and career paths that helped our employees plan their future with us. It encouraged our associates to think about their careers with Shift over the next one, three, five-plus years and develop the skills necessary to achieve their career goals. These new jobs required our associates to develop their communication, leadership and organization skills. There are skills that help develop our people not only professionally but personally as well.
Our industry is still new and is growing and changing every day. We tell our people all the time that they are the top experts in the field and possess the knowledge that will help shape the industry for years to come. Communication is important for sharing and developing new ideas that will drive innovation for Shift and our industry as a whole. Roundtables, communication meetings, think tanks and open-door policies are the tools we use to ensure that everyone has a voice and we are harnessing the knowledge of our population in a way that drives continuous improvement.
Our competitive advantage are our people. Our success relies on retaining our talent and attracting the best and brightest. We are lucky to have a leadership team that realizes this and goes above and beyond to ensure that the Shift experience is a positive and rewarding one. Our people are not only responsible for the success and well-being of our organization, but also for the success and well-being of our planet.