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How to Support Your Frontline Workers in 2023

By: Angela Ash

 

Customer pays by cashier or customer card at cashier supermarket checkout

Frontline teams directly influence business success through their activities. After all, these are the people who customers interact with first. If you believe that first impressions matter (and you should!), you’ll easily understand why an engaged frontline team is crucial for every business.

Truly, frontline employees come from all walks of life: from healthcare to manufacturing to hospitality to warehousing. This is to say that these people have different backgrounds and, consequentially, different professional expectations, so there isn’t a universal checklist to observe when hiring new personnel.

Tragically, even though the importance of frontline teams is evident to all business owners, nothing seems to be going the right way. Frontline employees keep leaving their employers in droves, which has resulted in a critical lack of the workforce.

A casual glance should give you an idea of how many frontline employees are missing literally wherever you look.

The Plight of Frontline Employees

The plight is not novel, yet not much has been done to address it properly. In 2022, there were some 11 million unfilled jobs in the USA alone, 8 million of which are frontline jobs. Did you know that frontline workers make up 80% of the global workforce?

The statistics are alarming, mildly put, so the matter requires careful consideration. We’d argue that the best point to start is helpful trends in operations management, as poor relationships with the management are the chief reason why frontline workers are unsatisfied.

The next huge issue is that with the rise of remote work, the frontline department seems to be lagging behind, especially in terms of new tech. Of course, different frontline roles call for different requirements, but addressing everyday manual tasks, at least, can easily be simplified.

Simple time tracking for small businesses, for example, is simple and inexpensive. There’s nothing wrong with starting small, especially since there are many complex issues that require more time to be solved. To create a successful and motivated frontline staff, it is crucial to generate ideas and develop a long-term strategy.

In this article, we’ll present a couple of tips that can contribute to a far-reaching, thorough approach to making your frontline teams happier and more engaged.

Let’s get started!

Polish Communication

Everyone who has ever tried to manage a team should be well aware of how important good communication is.

As already mentioned, frontline teams frequently lack access to new technologies, including practical communication tools.

This point shouldn’t be too difficult to handle. There are numerous free or low-cost communication apps that are user-friendly to boot.

However, simply installing an app won’t solve the underlying issue: communication breakdown. Therefore, you should carefully consider how to promote communication and only then proceed to establish appropriate channels.

A culture-first workplace is an ideal solution, so include your HR teams in the process.

Consider Job Management Systems

The vast majority of frontline employees seeking alternative employment report that a strained relationship with the management is the main culprit.

To address this critical issue, a sustainable approach would be to set up a job management system.

Firstly, although management appears to be a complex undertaking, it is still a set of clearly defined procedures, as follows:

  • Customer acquisition – Use marketing, advertising, and promotion
  • Estimating and quoting – Estimate a cost and ask for customer feedback
  • Task outlining – divide the job into smaller tasks
  • Scheduling – Allocate the necessary resources and staffing
  • Timesheeting –Record employees’ working hours
  • Emailing and document exchange – Dispatch documents relevant to the job to stakeholders
  • Cost management
  • Work-in-progress management
  • Invoicing
  • Reporting – Collect the data for further reference

Secondly, frontline managers customarily lack practical expertise. Managing a team of office workers is never the same thing as managing a frontline team. Simply put, a diploma won’t make a manager good at their job. They need to get in the field and observe the actual tasks of the frontline team.

Offer New Tech

Providing cutting-edge technology should be a priority.

Frontline employees frequently search for better employment opportunities because they believe they are underpaid and have a bad work-life balance, according to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index. These people, who make up 63% of the population, are excited about the new job opportunities that technology will bring about. However, 56% of them claim that they feel pressured to adopt new technology out of fear of losing their jobs, and 55% have been forced to pick up new skills on their own.

These statistics make it evident that investing in new technology is essential, but appropriate training programs also must be developed.

Consider Knowledge Management Systems

Knowledge management systems can help businesses manage their front-line teams while also facilitating their work.

A knowledge management system (KMS) is a platform made up of a number of different individuals and processes that stores data in one centralized place. The primary goal of a KMS is to facilitate information sharing and ensure its circulation.

Contemporary knowledge management systems interact with current procedures and gather information from various sources, allowing momentary access to knowledge.

It is a great opportunity to assist your frontline teams and help them adapt faster.

Other ideas may come to mind. We hope these tips will help you come up with a viable strategy for your frontline teams.

Published: March 22, 2023
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