Managing a large and diverse frontline workforce is difficult, especially if organisations lack a clear and consistent internal communication strategy. The larger the workforce, the more disconnected it is likely to be.
Ensuring a positive employee experience for frontline workers is good for business and often means a positive experience for potential and current customers. This is emphasised by a report published by PwC that indicates that 73% of customers regard customer service as the main driving force behind purchasing a product, more so than advertising.
Despite their importance, frontline workers are often left out when it comes to communication strategies and internal company messaging. This is primarily due to this workforce being harder to reach than desk-bound employees. But, poor communication has been shown to result in disconnected and disengaged employees and lower productivity, which in turn leads to reduced revenue.
There is, however, a solution at hand.
This article explores how digital solutions can improve the employee experience for frontline workers, the challenges involved in implementing such technologies and how to overcome them.
Why Use Technology To Enhance The Frontline Employee Experience?
It can help make data-driven decisions
Using technology to provide an open line of communication between frontline employees and management can help companies make data-driven decisions. Successful businesses know that data is an important part of making business-critical decisions – whether it be streamlining operations, improving customer service or launching a new product.
Frontline workers are at the forefront of businesses and can provide valuable insights to assist in decision making. When businesses fail to utilise the best decision-making resource at their disposal – their employees – they miss out on valuable opportunities.
It can increase employee productivity
When compared to their highly engaged counterparts, disengaged employees reduce productivity by 14%, increase quality defects by 41%, and increase the number of workplace accidents by 64%, according to a study by Gallup. But this can be rectified, in part, by ensuring that employees have the digital tools necessary, as well as the blueprint, to be able to make informed decisions in the moment.
According to a research report by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 72% of businesses say that employee productivity has increased by equipping frontline workers with the digital tools necessary for engagement. Empowering employees with the right data, insight, and technology, has been shown to result in faster, higher-quality decision making.
It allows for instant communication for on-call employees
Technology allows frontline workers to communicate with the company around the clock, without relying on infrastructure that can be hard to find in remote areas.
Digital technology also enables a more transparent and consistent internal communication strategy by allowing for easy management of communication content and strategy when all communication is consolidated in one dedicated app, for instance. This real-time access to information can be even more critical for those workers who need access to information on demand.
It enhances customer service
As mentioned above, equipping your frontline staff with the right tools and information is beneficial to productivity and can improve customer service. When employees can solve problems and make important decisions on the spot, it can help them better manage customer expectations.
Frontline workers are the faces of their organisations and the first port of call for customers when something goes wrong. If frontline staff have been included in internal communications, they are more likely to understand company policy in emergencies and what the best method is for dealing with tricky situations.
What are the challenges of implementing digital employee experience solutions and how do you overcome them?
Using outdated means of communication
One of the biggest challenges companies face, when adopting a digital approach to communication, is redesigning existing outdated organisational structures to accommodate a new cross-functional way of working.
Using email as the primary form of communication amongst employees can be cumbersome and inefficient. The majority of frontline workers don’t have ready access to the internet or email, and if they do, mailboxes often become cluttered and important messages get lost.
Try to focus on a mobile-first approach instead.
This enables faster, on-the-go communication, where frontline workers can use their mobile devices to easily access the information they need when they need it.
Having a dedicated employee engagement app tailored to an organisation’s communication needs can help significantly with this. This gives frontline workers self-service options that they can access from right in the palm of their hands.
Not having a communications strategy in place
Sometimes companies provide a platform for employee communications but fail to plan and execute a communications strategy. Handing employees the digital tools without the blueprint is a recipe for disaster.
To help formulate a well-thought-out communication plan, consider the following questions:
- Does your company have a clear brand voice and has it got communication guidelines in place?
- Has your company segmented its internal audience and tailored communication for each segment?
- Does your company have effective mechanisms to communicate with frontline employees in the event of a disaster or crisis?
- What metrics does your company want to track through internal communication?
If your answer to any of these questions was “no” then you may still have some work to do in order to develop and implement a clear digital communication strategy.
Companies that invest in their workforces’ digital capabilities not only improve productivity, decision-making, and customer service, they also make an investment that boosts their bottom line.
Are you looking to find out more about how technology can enhance your frontline workforce? Talk to an employee engagement expert to get in touch with one of our experts.