Unifying the Workforce: An Effective Communication Strategy for Frontline Employees
60% of businesses don’t have a long-term internal communication strategy in place and, of the remaining 40%, only 12% measure their comms strategy effectiveness.
Poor internal communication not only results in a loss of productivity for businesses but can hurt a company’s bottom line. Companies may find themselves losing their established competitive advantage due to lacklustre employee engagement that results from poor and ineffective workplace communication.
Understanding Frontline Employee Communication Needs
Frontline workers have very specific requirements when it comes to their communication needs. Without access to a dynamic channel like a smartphone, work email address, kiosk, computer or the intranet, how they receive important information is a vital consideration for communication leaders.
Furthermore, in a 2021 study researchers found that, on average, frontline employees have limited formal qualifications and are also comprised of diverse groups. As such, it’s important, when it comes to developing a frontline communication strategy, that there is clarity in information sharing as well as possible language barriers between employees.
Per the same study, organisations also need to be aware and considerate of cultural differences amongst frontline employees.
Key Elements of an Effective Communication Strategy
This remains a crucial factor throughout all aspects of frontline communication. Even outside of cultural and diversity considerations, organisations need to strive to create parity between frontline staff and their desk-based counterparts, when it comes to how, when and why they communicate, which includes both broadcasts, receiving feedback and listening, and acting upon the feedback. Failure to incorporate this into an internal strategy could lead to frontline employees feeling disconnected. This disconnection can in turn lead to poor productivity.
- Method of Delivery
With limited access to traditional means of communication, leaders must consider how they deliver communication to their frontline workforces. Thanks to available technology, such as employee engagement platforms, frontline workers no longer need to be left behind. Using their own mobile devices or company sponsored one’s, employers can empower frontline workers by providing them with the necessary tools to stay connected and informed.
- Relevant and targeted communication
Frontline workers frequently find that corporate communications are often irrelevant to their duties. Consequently, management and communication teams need to consider the audience and personalise or hyper-target information relevant for its audience.
Additionally, businesses must ensure that their communication promotes clear, relevant dialogues between leaders and the frontline.
- Building Trust and Engagement through Communication
Frontline employee engagement is a challenge many organisations struggle with, as McKinsey & Company found in a 2022 survey. They discovered frontline staff view forming and maintaining networks as a key priority to enable them to improve their work performance and enhance their understanding of their employer’s expectations of them.
These are some steps internal communication managers can take to revitalise both employee engagement and networking:
- encouraging open and honest communication
- surveying frontline workers and implementing their suggestions
- recognising and rewarding employee achievements and empowering them
Frontline employees are essentially the heartbeat of many organisations and as such, steps should be taken to recognise their value.
Overcoming Barriers and Challenges
There are two key challenges that prevent effective frontline communication and employee engagement:
- Limited access to information and resources: Frontline employees often face challenges in accessing the necessary information and resources to perform their jobs effectively. They may not have direct access to relevant data, updates, or training materials, making it difficult for them to stay informed and aligned with the objectives of the business. Without access to timely information and resources, employees may experience frustration, disengagement, and reduced motivation. Moreover, a lack of access to necessary tools and resources can hinder their ability to provide quality service or meet customer expectations, further impacting their engagement.
- Disconnect between management and frontline workers: The disconnect between management and frontline workers hinders effective internal communications due to limited information flow, misalignment of goals and priorities, and a lack of feedback and employee involvement. This barrier can lead to decreased engagement, reduced productivity, and a breakdown in trust between the two groups. To overcome these challenges, companies should foster open communication, establish two-way dialogue channels, and promote transparency and trust throughout the organisation.
Open, two-way communication is vital. Organisations benefit greatly from employee feedback and listening to the insights of their frontline workers. By valuing their perspectives, companies are able to tap into valuable knowledge and expertise from those on the front lines of operations. This leads to operational improvements, increased employee engagement, and higher job satisfaction. Additionally, diverse perspectives foster innovation and collaboration, ultimately creating a more inclusive and efficient work environment. When workers can openly communicate and interact with managers, the existing disconnect felt by many frontline staff is combated. By making themselves both accessible and approachable, organisational leaders can boost employee engagement.
Implementing and Evaluating the Internal Communication Strategy
Many businesses still heavily rely on manual and administrative methods for internal communications for frontline workers. This approach often leads to information gaps, miscommunication, and reduced engagement among these employees. By adopting a more strategic approach to internal communications businesses can ensure better outcomes. This transformation will enable blue-collar workers to stay informed, collaborate effectively, and become engaged and productive contributors, ultimately driving the business agenda and financial success.
Research undertaken by Gartner found that an effective communication strategy that boosts employee engagement consists of several aspects.
Internal Communication Strategy Steps:
- Engage frontline workers in different ways
- Gain insights into frontline worker challenges
- Implement new solutions to combat issues
- Work with leaders to improve their communication
- Review and renew plans accordingly
It is high time that organisations looked at new ways of doing things rather than relying on antiquated methods and strategies that are no longer relevant in the workplaces of today. It is vital that organisation really connect with their frontline employees on the ground to gain insights that they otherwise would be oblivious too sitting behind a desk at Head Office.
By supporting and communicating with frontline employees, organisations will gain insights into issues that prevent their workers from reaching their full potential. And under issues that are limiting success within the business. As a result, management is then able to implement solutions that help to combat these challenges, extending beyond the human element.
One such solution is a digital employee engagement platform. Accessible on both feature and smart phones, Wyetalk’s platform creates meaningful connection through the power of communication. With a team of industry experts to guide the process from strategy to analysis, as well as content creation and management, Wyzetalk has enabled businesses to connect with over 700,000 employees across the world. Investing in a digital communication solution not only improves employee satisfaction and engagement but also contributes to overall organisiational success. By recognising the value and importance of effective communication with frontline employees, organiations can create a thriving workplace where every employee feels valued, heard, and empowered to contribute their best.
Internal Communication and Organisational Health
Effective communication plays a crucial role in the overall health and success of a business. It serves as the foundation for collaboration, coordination, and the exchange of information within the workplace. It supports the efficient functioning of teams, departments, and the organisation as a whole, contributing to long-term success and sustainability.
Here are some key aspects highlighting the role of communication in organisational health:
- Enhancing Employee Engagement: Clear and open communication fosters employee engagement by keeping employees informed about organisational goals, strategies, and changes.
- Building Trust and Relationships: Transparent and honest communication helps establish credibility, encourages open dialogue, and creates a positive work environment. When trust is present, employees are more likely to collaborate, share ideas, and work together effectively.
- Facilitating Effective Decision-Making: When employees have access to relevant information and are encouraged to provide input, decisions can be more well-rounded and informed. Effective communication also ensures that decisions are communicated clearly to all relevant parties, reducing ambiguity and misunderstandings.
- Managing Conflict and Resolving Issues: When problems arise, open and respectful communication allows for early identification, effective dialogue, and collaborative problem-solving. Clear communication channels can prevent conflicts from escalating and promote healthy conflict resolution.
- Supporting Change Management: During times of change, effective communication becomes even more critical. Transparent and timely communication helps manage uncertainty, addresses concerns, and provides clarity about the reasons behind the change
- Strengthening Organisational Culture: When communication aligns with the desired culture, it creates a shared sense of purpose and a cohesive work environment.
Overall, effective communication promotes a healthy organisational climate, improves employee satisfaction, and enhances productivity.
The successful implementation of an effective internal communication strategy is vital for engaging frontline employees and fostering a connected workforce. Tailoring the strategy to address the unique challenges and barriers faced by these employees is essential. Organisations should emphasise empathy, cultural sensitivity, and inclusivity throughout their communication efforts. By implementing clear and consistent messaging, utilising a single communication channel, fostering trust and engagement, companies can break down communication barriers and create a more connected and productive frontline workforce.
To ensure that you reach your frontline workforce with important company information, talk to an expert.