Do your frontline workers have access to the necessary technology and tools that help them be as productive as possible? Your frontline workers are the first to engage your customers, the first to represent your company’s brand, and the first to see your products or services in action. They’re your nurses, flight attendants, teachers, electricians, construction workers, sales associates or store managers, first responders, personal trainers, etc.
From the feedback we have received from many organizations, we understand that these frontline workers are often not as digitally equipped and empowered as knowledge workers (office workers) are. But, because they form the backbone of your organization, and because frontline workers ensure that your organization’s ambitions are brought to life, they do need to be as digitally empowered. This increases their productivity, which will, in turn, increase your organization’s productivity.
6 Primary Drivers for Creating a Digitally-Empowered Frontline Workforce
The Harvard Business Review recently engaged in a study that was sponsored by Microsoft to explore how building up frontline workers could promote growth, spark innovation, and accelerate an organization’s success in the digital age. 78% of respondents said that connecting and empowering frontline workers is critical. In the study, they outlined the following 6 primary drivers for creating more digitally connected and empowered frontline workers:
- Increased productivity and efficiency.
- Enhanced customer engagement and satisfaction.
- Improved quality of your product/service.
- Greater marketing intelligence or customer understanding.
- An increase in innovation by engaging those who are closest to the product/customer.
- Employee engagement and/or satisfaction.
Why is Frontline Worker Engagement Important?
The cost of disengaged employees is not only in worker morale. Disengaged employees can cost a company more than $2,200 USD per year. Are your retail workers tired of having to check their shift schedules in person? Can your floor workers who spot a problem easily get in touch with a supervisor to report it? Are your managers getting frustrated that they spend several hours putting shifts together and think their time could be better spent elsewhere? Employees who are put in these kinds of scenarios can easily become disengaged from their jobs.
#DidYouKnow that disengaged employees can cost a company more than $2,200 USD per year? #FrontlineWorkers can be among the most disengaged, because they’re often not as digitally equipped as other employees.
In Microsoft’s recent Firstline Employee Engagement: Why it Matters, What You Can Do study, suggests that by focusing on four main areas of your business (scheduling and task management, communication and community, training and onboarding, and identity and access management), you can unlock your frontline workers’ potential and create a much more engaged workforce. This leads to positive changes, like more commitment, less absenteeism, lower turnover rates, fewer safety incidents, and higher sales.
So, What Can You Do to Empower Your Frontline Workers?
Just as your knowledge workers need a content hub to share information, documents, and notes, your frontline workers do as well. OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online provide solutions that help frontline workers to manage and share work files, collaborate from any device, and empowers employees to share the latest training and onboarding resources. Teams, Skype for Business, and Yammer provides opportunities for frontline workers to share best practices across their organization and collaborate in real time, from their mobile phones if necessary.
One of the unique asks that frontline workers have, that your knowledge workers may not need, is a more efficient shift management tool, including creating, updating, and managing their schedules and tasks. StaffHub gives frontline workers the chance to create and update shift schedules, access tools and information from their mobile devices, and share new policies, training videos or important documents that they need to be aware of.
#StaffHub gives your #FrontlineWorkers the chance to create and update shift schedules, access tools and info from any device, and share documents with colleagues.
These applications are mobile-enabled, or mobile-based. Most frontline workers have limited access to a computer or laptop in their jobs. But almost everyone has a smartphone. By ensuring that frontline workers can access these tools on the device they’re most likely to use, it’s one more way to make frontline workers feel more connected to the rest of the organization.
How Goodlife Fitness Empowered Their Frontline Workers [Case Study]
ProServeIT is no stranger to helping organizations empower their frontline workers, and their experience with Goodlife Fitness illustrates this point. Goodlife Fitness had almost 13,000 personal trainers working in their fitness centres across Canada. As frontline workers, these personal trainers were using Google apps to communicate and schedule appointments, while the rest of the organization’s corporate workers were on Microsoft tools, like Exchange and Office.
This led to problems, not only because of the excessive costs of maintaining two separate technology systems, but equally important is the fact that it created a major disconnect in the way that the corporate employees interacted with the frontline workers. The breakdown in communication and the inability to securely share documents with ease led to friction between these two groups of employees.
With the goal of bringing all employees into the same culture and providing a common platform with which to communicate and securely share information, ProServeIT suggested that Goodlife Fitness migrate all of their frontline workers over to Microsoft platform. The migration meant all Goodlife employees, both corporate employees and frontline workers, reside on the same platform (i.e. use Microsoft tools). This provided Goodlife Fitness with many operational benefits, a cost-effective licensing model, reduced management costs, and many security benefits. However, the most important benefit that this migration provided was helping the personal trainers feel like they were truly a part of the company.
Do you want to explore your options to empower your frontline workers, so that you can reap the benefits like Goodlife experienced? See the special programs designed for your frontline workers and contact us if you have any questions!