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Enhancing frontline worker integration with the use of technology

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By David Rogers
Vice-President of Sales (EMEA) at
WorkJam

Frontline workers have always been something of the odd man out in business infrastructure. Without dedicated workspaces or connection to the company intranet, they can feel cast adrift from the upper tiers of a business. Dictated to by managers, but voiceless and undervalued. This makes loyalty and engagement difficult to foster, and a sense of companywide cohesion nigh on impossible. And yet, as the first point of contact for your customers, your frontline workers play an integral role. Without them, your business simply couldn’t function. So, finding ways to build that connection, to enhance integration, is becoming an increasingly important priority for all businesses reliant upon a frontline workforce. And surprisingly, technology could provide the answer.

Understanding the disengagement of the frontline workforce

Most board members will admit to having viewed the frontline workforce as disposable at one time or another. While some key workers stand out from the crowd and are worth training and retaining, the rest have traditionally been viewed as replaceable. And it is this that leads to disengagement and high employee churn. A scenario that is no longer sustainable in the light of the global talent shortage. 

If a business does not invest in making its frontline workers feel valued, it cannot expect to retain them. And while employee attrition happens for various reasons – boredom, poor remuneration, disengagement, low sense of value, lack of autonomy, burnout – they can all be addressed through the application of technology.

How technology can be used to support frontline worker integration

While technology is commonly viewed as a divider, something that reduces interaction and social contact, in the workplace it has the power to bring people together. Informing, engaging, and empowering employees, bringing a sense of value to individuals. While building a sense of greater cohesion and integration within a business. And it can do this is a variety of ways.

Providing a voice

One of the first things you lose when you take on a frontline, deskless position, is the ability to have your say. There is only so much information that can be conveyed in team briefings, and most of it is rushed and highly edited. Notice boards rarely get read – or updated. Which means that staff members are left ill-informed and with little ability to respond to updates and changes, to ask questions, or to share an opinion. More than almost anything else, this lack of voice can feel like a lack of value. Because if the company you work for doesn’t care about your opinions, why should you care about the company?

Technology is one of the easiest ways to get information in front of the right people. And to provide those people with a means to respond to it. Through the provision of an employee portal that each team member can access through their smartphone, you are empowering each worker with the tools and information they need to stay informed, stay involved, and to share their views. Workers can provide feedback and ask questions quickly and simply. Managers can acknowledge good work, answer questions, or provide congratulations. All of which holds the potential to instil a sense of worth amongst team members.

Career development

Not everyone wants to advance in the workplace. Many are happy to just do their job and go home. But for around half of the workforce, career development opportunities are a significant factor in deciding loyalty. If an individual wants to advance their career, but feels that there is no real opportunity for them to do so, they will look elsewhere.

With the right technology, you can not only ensure that all training opportunities are put in front of every employee. You can allow each worker to take control of their own training experience. With an easily accessible interface, employees can choose the modules they with to work through and when. While it’s a good idea for businesses to allocated learning and development (L&D) time in their schedule, with the right tech, employees can add to their studies at home – if they wish. Managing their own L&D and taking control of their own career path. At the same time as feeding your business with the new talent it needs to grow.

Putting the employee in control

All frontline workers will be familiar with the experience of having shifts dictated and the need to make any changes through managers. It’s frustrating and often time-consuming.

With Open Shift Management technology, employees have the ability to manage their own shift patterns, submit holiday requests, change days off, or take on extra shifts. Independently. Without need for management input. They can also manage their payment schedule. Enabling weekly, fortnightly, or monthly remuneration, according to their needs. 

The frontline workforce is really important. But their value has been overlooked for far too long. Technology provides the opportunity to maximise the potential of this vital resource. While helping to provide workers with the tools, acknowledgement, and autonomy they deserve.

David Rogers, Vice-President of Sales (EMEA) at WorkJam. WorkJam was founded in 2014 to improve the lives of frontline workers. As the world’s leading digital frontline workplace, WorkJam combines communication, task management, flexible scheduling modules, learning and more – all on one app. It is the only complete and unified system designed to revolutionise the way HQs and their frontline work together, boosting efficiencies and productivity.

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