Did You Know That Ineffective Communication is the #1 Productivity Killer for Frontline Teams?

Question for you: What do you think is the #1 productivity blocker for frontline teams? Is it a lack of training? Unclear goals? Inefficient processes?

While these are all valid concerns, a hidden culprit is lurking behind many frontline productivity challenges: ineffective communication. In this blog, we will be diving deep into how ineffective communication hinders frontline teams' productivity. We'll explore the root causes, their impact, and most importantly, actionable strategies to break the cycle and empower your workforce.

The Problem: Noise, not clarity

Ineffective communication creates a roadblock for frontline workers.  According to a study by Fierce Inc., a whopping 86% of employees believe unclear communication is the underlying reason for workplace failures and low productivity. Imagine constantly sifting through a barrage of emails, text messages, flyers, and outdated bulletin board notices – that's the reality for many frontline workers. This information overload creates noise, not clarity, leading to a cascade of negative effects:

  • Missed deadlines: 44% of employees report missing deadlines due to unclear communication.
  • Low morale: When employees don't feel informed or valued, morale suffers. 31% of employees report feeling low morale due to ineffective communication.
  • Lost sales: Frontline teams are often the face of the company, and unclear communication can lead to missed opportunities and lost sales. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that ineffective communication costs businesses 18% in lost sales.
  • Employee turnover: Disengaged and uninformed employees are more likely to leave. A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that ineffective communication contributes to 12% of employee turnover.
  • The cost of ineffective communication is staggering. According to Axios HQ, it amounts to a jaw-dropping $2 trillion annually in the US alone. That's a lot of money wasted due to something entirely preventable!

Additionally, lengthy emails or newsletters filled with jargon go unread, while a lack of two-way communication stifles employee participation and does the opposite of encourage them to share feedback.



of employees believe unclear communication is the underlying reason for workplace failures and low productivity.


Question for you: How many communications channels does your team currently manage? Chances are, it's a lot. The average company uses approximately 16 different communication channels. This creates a chaotic environment for everyone, especially frontline workers who juggle multiple responsibilities and may not have time to constantly check every channel.

Breaking the cycle: simplifying communication

So, how do we fix this? Here are key steps to simplifying comms with the goal of improving employee productivity:

#1Reduce channels & target your comms

Stop blasting the same message everywhere. Identify your audiences and tailor messages to their preferred channels.

#2Understand your audience

Conduct communication audits or focus groups to understand your frontline's needs. Don't make assumptions! What information do they need most? How do they prefer to receive it? Surveys can be challenging with frontline teams due to time constraints, but consider targeting frontline leaders and support teams like safety, training, and HR.

#3Provide one place for tools

Consolidate access to key tools within an employee app or a central platform. Fewer logins mean more focus on work.

#4Use exclusive comms – but strategically

Reserve repetitive messages for critical announcements. Day-to-day communication should reside in a single channel.

#5Democratize communication

Empower team leaders to share local and functional updates through a designated platform.

#6Implement change management

Support your team during the transition. Offer training, resources, and ongoing reinforcement.

#7Get back to basics for content creation

Write simply, avoid jargon, and keep it concise. Embrace short videos for quick information bursts.

#8Welcome employee voices

Create safe spaces for feedback and ideas. Foster a culture of open communication.

Webinar: Enhancing productivity for frontline workers starts with simplicity in communications

Video has become the undisputed king of content.  That's why we're excited to share this webinar recording featuring Tobi Anderson & Daren Jennings on the topic of simplifying comms to improve frontline worker productivity.   In this webinar, Tobi and Daren discuss:

  • Why simplicity in communication matters especially for the frontline employees
  • The intricate relationship between simplicity in comms and employee productivity
  • Strategies to ensure simplicity in communication
  • Real-world examples of how successful organizations are embracing simplicity in frontline communication

Watch the recording below:


Putting it into action: What our customers do

Speakap is the award-winning employee communications platform intentionally built to overcome internal communication challenges, productivity, and employee experience with your frontline workforce. Whether your goals are seamless employee communication or improving employee satisfaction and productivity, Speakap ensures that your corporate news travels from headquarters to the production floor easily and efficiently via one social platform. Here are some ways our customers improve employee productivity by simplifying internal comms:

  • A hospitality company uses QR codes on event posters to direct employees to the RSVP function within the communication app. This eliminates time spent searching for details or waiting for responses, allowing employees to RSVP quickly and efficiently.
  • A UK entertainment company empowers team leads to send targeted messages to their teams through the communication platform. This ensures critical information reaches everyone on the team quickly, without needing to track down individuals or wade through irrelevant messages. Team leads save time, and team members receive information faster, allowing them to act on it promptly.
  • A large US hospitality company optimizes data syncing with onboarding sessions to ensure a positive first experience for new hires. This eliminates wasted time re-entering data and creates a smoother onboarding experience. New hires can focus on learning their roles and responsibilities instead of dealing with administrative tasks.

P.S.  For confidentiality purposes, specific company names have been omitted. 

Key takeaways:

Simplifying communication empowers your frontline. Remember:

  1. Reduce & target communication channels.
  2. Understand your audience's needs.
  3. Provide a central hub for tools.
  4. Use exclusive communication strategically.
  5. Empower teams to share updates.
  6. Implement change management effectively.
  7. Create clear and concise content.
  8. Encourage employee feedback.

Bonus tip: Measure your success! Track key internal communications metrics such as employee engagement, task completion rates, and error reduction after implementing your new communication strategy. This will help you demonstrate the positive impact of clear and streamlined communication on your frontline team's performance.