How To Better Engage Your Frontline Employees

6 minute read

According to a 2018 Gallup survey, 53% of workers are in the "not engaged" category. They may be generally satisfied, though, they are not connected to their work and workplace, cognitively and emotionally. They will do the minimum required, but will quickly leave for a slightly better offer.

If you are working in HR, you probably know from experience that there is a lot of truth in the phrase “Engagement starts at the top”. Organizations tend to have highly engaged executives. However, as you go down the hierarchy, the less engaged employees are on average.

Blog article image 5

Unfortunately, this means your least engaged employees are typically the ones on the front line - people who interact directly with customers, shape brand perceptions and influence purchase decisions.

Only 10% of these significant brand ambassadors feel connected to the company that employs them, according to a Tribe survey.

The main reason for this is that frontline employees are often “disconnected” from the rest of the organization. They feel they do not get the information they need to do a good job. And likewise, they observe that their voice is not heard higher up in the organization.

This lack of engagement harms the overall performance of a company and can cost a lot of money. Thus, frontline engagement is probably the most complicated aspect of workforce management.

How do you engage your hard-to-reach workers, who only feel connected with their team, in your company culture and shared values?

That is the million-dollar question. Here are some possible answers.

Establish a clear vision.

Frontline employees often feel disconnected from headquarters, reducing their self-confidence. Ensure that your frontline workers are passionate about your brand and empowered to engage with customers. Millennials, especially, are not satisfied with snippets of information. They want to see the full picture, be kept in the loop with company news, sales targets and performance data. They want to understand what their team is working towards.

Keep your two-way communication targeted.

Personalize your communications to different teams. If employees feel noticed, and receive the kind of information they are looking for in their job, they will be more engaged and motivated. And do listen to their suggestions. Frontline employees have valuable insights on customer experience, and nothing is more demotivating than not being heard. Make it a habit to ask for their opinion. They can bring you great ideas for improvement.

Show your appreciation.

“Most employees will be motivated to perform better if their managers praise and commend them more often. Sixty-seven percent of workers believe that this is a top motivator compared to financial and non-cash incentives.” This is one of the statistics that underline one of our articles The Power of Compliments. For your frontline workers, appreciation and recognition may even be more crucial, as they often feel left out. A simple “thank you” can make a huge difference – especially when done publicly.

Streamline your onboarding process.

The onboarding process should make employees feel appreciated and welcome. Introduce new hires to your company culture, align them to your business goals, and provide them with tools and training. The first six months are critical to determining whether or not employees stay at an organization.

Culture Factor Download Banner

Train managers and supervisors.

Supervisors are often promoted because of frontline skills, but how about their leadership skills? They are the ones who must propagate the company values on the frontline and lead by example. Give good candidates for supervisory functions adequate training and career opportunities.

Connect mobile-first and only.

Like all desk-less workers, your frontline employees are hard to reach by email. They may not have a desktop and often no company email address. Your employees might not even be interested in computers or the company intranet, so it is necessary to incorporate a more comfortable and familiar stream of communication. If you want to connect with them, you will have to use the device they prefer: their mobile phone.

An employee app is an obvious solution for communication with your frontline employees. This communication tool is designed to connect with all your employees, wherever they work, in the fastest and most appealing way. Options such as push notifications, individual targeting, analytics, gamification and many more make an employee app a “one-stop-shop” for all the above-mentioned activities. A good employee app offers your workers the same easy and slick experience as their social media and consumer apps, tailored to your brand and company culture.

The bottom line

Frontline employees are the face of a company. If they are highly engaged and propagate the brand values, they can be your best ambassadors. But in reality, frontline workers often feel disconnected and not appreciated. For companies, there is a lot to gain by putting a special effort in the engagement of frontline staff. There are many ways to improve the connection, but you need only one tool: a good employee app.

For more information on building more lasting and loyal relationships with your employees, check out this research study!

Rob is a content writer, copywriter and novelist. His work for Apple, WWF, Mercedes-Benz and many other brands has been awarded with prestigious creative awards.

Stay in the know

Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest updates.