The Holy Grail of Logistics: How to Fight Burnout & Stop Turnover

Understanding the costs associated with burnout and turnover and practicing some simple skills to cultivate a culture that’s ready to combat those threats, is the best way to create a sustainable and profitable company going forward.

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Reports have been swirling with trends towards employee burnout in the past few years. We can see these statistics playing out in almost every department across the country. The logistics industry is charged with solving complex problems in a fast paced, diverse landscape that never sleeps. It’s not easy, and it takes a toll on the people who step up to keep things moving.

Unfortunately, that part of the puzzle isn’t going to change. It will most likely only accelerate as ecommerce and digital solutions multiply.

But as leaders in this space, there still are things we can do to help. No matter the external factors plaguing our teams or the industry, we still have the opportunity and the ability to make a positive difference. And for all their hard work, we owe our teams so much more than hopelessness and endless job searches.

As leaders, it’s our responsibility to bring out the best in them, so they can provide the best possible experience for our customers.

Here’s how:

Be Accountable

Too often leaders think of accountability as a one-way street. Our teams are accountable to meet their duties and deadlines, yes. But we as leaders are also equally accountable to meet the needs of our teams.

Some of the largest contributing factors to the burnout and turnover rates mentioned in the study above were career stagnation and the perception that management was disinterested in employee growth.

These are telling stats. They indicate that burnt out and disengaged workers are not people looking to avoid work ... quite the opposite. They are employees actively looking to get better and take on more responsibility. It’s the denial of that opportunity that’s the problem.

So, let’s help them.

Instead of further contributing to turnover by continually hiring out, let’s invest in the people we have today. As leaders, we need to hold ourselves accountable to put time, energy, and resources into upskilling. We need to sit down with our teams and help them plan out the next steps in their growth journeys, and make sure they see a clear path forward.

Accountability starts at the top. Successfully setting this standard and modeling this behavior helps teams stay engaged and motivated. It’s the quickest and most sure-fire way to drive growth for the entire company.  


If accountability is key to retention and growth, communication is the foundation that they are built on. Effective communication between team members and leadership is critical to a company’s success in so many ways:

  • Increases engagement with long term vision and strategies
  • Allows departments to efficiently pivot when disruptions hit (this is logistics, so basically all the time)
  • Improves employee psychological safety and creative problem-solving abilities

These are just the tip of the iceberg. There is no piece of modern business that does not involve either digital or in-person communication. Taking these interactions, and the skills required to optimize them, for granted will only serve to create burnout and drive valuable team members to quit.

Pro Tip: digital communication is only becoming more important. Efficiently managing your universe of inputs and effectively prioritizing your inbox is quickly becoming a differentiator for logistics leaders looking to level up and raise their game.

Practice Empathy

This may be the most difficult tactic to master, but it’s also the most important. The numbers behind turnover and employee attrition speak for themselves. The costs associated with an endless sequence of hiring, training, and off-boarding are brutal. And that’s before we even factor in the lost productivity due to disengagement during the employee’s timespan with the company.

But the human costs brought about by this vicious cycle are even harder to bear. It’s easy to forget, but our jobs allow us the opportunity to show up and make a positive impact in other people’s lives. Many times, that’s all our team members are looking for: the chance for their work to matter. Denying them that opportunity, either with poor leadership or apathy, is not only unprofitable, but downright cruel.

Practicing empathy towards our teams and understanding that there are real people behind these roles and responsibilities matrices is the best way to retain and develop talent within our organizations. It’s also true that it’s the best way to spread a little more joy throughout the world, which is really fun too.

Burnout and employee turnover are serious threats to the financial and emotional health of any organization. Resisting these outcomes is not easy, but there are some simple steps leaders can take to help their teams in the fight:

  • Be Accountable
  • Communicate
  • Practice Empathy

In the end, people stay with companies and remain engaged on projects where they believe their work matters. And at the most basic level, that’s what the task of any leader boils down to: creating environments for their teams to do important work and helping their team members understand that mission.

It’s not an easy job by any stretch. But understanding the costs associated with burnout and turnover and practicing some simple skills to cultivate a culture that’s ready to combat those threats, is the best way to create a sustainable and profitable company going forward.