Frontline workers have been quitting their jobs for a while now, with the plight becoming obvious to everyone after the dubious measures enforced during the latest pandemic.
Merely in the U.S., there are 11 million unfilled jobs, the majority of which are considered to be frontline work.
Customer representatives aside, not many other frontline positions can be performed remotely and, in most cases, require shift changes.
With so many work opportunities created by technology, many frontline workers are looking for different roles and better work conditions.
The U.S. and western Europe are facing a critical lack of frontline workers, notably in hospitality, manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and health care.
It’s not difficult to see how these roles are critical, so something must be done to address this issue.
Some countries have turned to the foreign workforce, notably people from countries with lower standards of living to fill in these roles. Some countries are even offering citizenship to these people after only a couple of years, which was unthinkable until only a couple of years ago.
Inequality aside, frontline workers must get better treatment, otherwise, the issue will only keep going in circles.
We’ll try to offer some ideas to help businesses employ and keep engaged frontline workers by providing them with solid work conditions and perks.
Let’s get started!
Deploy a Job Management System
According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, frontline workers usually look for better job prospects because they feel they are underpaid and have a poor work-life balance. 63% of frontline employees are looking forward to job opportunities technology creates, while 56% say they feel pressure to adapt to new technology over the fear of losing their jobs while 55% have been forced to learn new tech on their own without any training being provided or offered.
These stats show that both training and new tech are necessary but that the most important thing is to educate your frontline managers.
A good way to remedy this issue is to deploy a job management system.
Management is exactly what the term portends — managing people. Add “efficiently” to the mix and the solution will become transparent.
Educate your frontline managers by assigning them fieldwork. Usually, managers have only technical knowledge but lack practical knowledge and this practice will help them achieve the latter.
Management is, after all, a set of clearly outlined steps, as follows:
· Customer acquisition –marketing, advertising and promotion
· Estimating and quoting – estimating a cost and asking for customer feedback
· Task outlining – dividing the job into smaller tasks
· Scheduling – allocating the necessary resources and staffing
· Timesheeting –recording employees’ working hours
· Emailing and document exchange – dispatching documents relevant to the job to stakeholders
· Cost management
· Work-in-progress management
· Reporting – collecting the data for further reference
Implement Field Service Best Practices
Field workers are in a dire need of assistance. If you don’t know how to get started, consider deploying field service best practices.
Service Best Practices
1. Schedule services at the right time and place. Always take into account the day-to-day workflow. If you do this, you’ll be able to dispatch the employees when and where they are needed at any given moment.
2. Track the costs and ensuring that they include job costs, contractor and equipment costs.
3. Track job progress by enabling better communication
Project Best Practices
1. Organize project phases
2. Manage project phases
3. Track costs and budgets in real-time
4. Manage billing and invoicing
Maintenance Best Practices
1. Test your assets in the field
2. Keep your assets organized
3. Plan asset servicing in the field
Minimize Time Wasted
Too much time is wasted on manual, repetitive tasks that can be streamlined with a little help from new tech. Clocking in and out, for example, can be rather efficiently dealt with in this manner. For some reason, many businesses still insist on obsolete practices.
Studies show that frontline managers spend up to 60% of their time on administrative tasks. What can be gathered about frontline workers, then?
Of course, the first step here is to identify the cause of this waste of time, and what can make things more efficient. As mentioned above, new tech is capable of dealing with a great many issues in this matter. For others, rely on anonymous feedback.
Effective communication is one of the most important factors that determine any business’ success.
In the case of frontline workers, an extra effort is in order.
First of all, keep in mind that these people are often office workers so don’t complicate their daily routine by enforcing unnecessary communication channels.
So much time is wasted on endless (and, often, useless) daily meet-ups, not to mention online sessions that aren’t necessary.
Communication must be accessible to everyone and it should be easy and personalized. Ask frontline employees for their ideas and provide training to help them reach their goals. Check in on a regular basis and establish an anonymous feedback system.
Locate Problems and Address Them Promptly and Efficiently
For any progress to take place, issues must be defined first. Approaches may vary but the goal should be the same – an engaged workforce.
It is entirely upon managers to perform this task and they should be equipped with the knowledge, latest tech, and soft skills that will enable them to solve such complex issues efficiently.
Talk to Your Frontline Workers
This terrible state of affairs must end ASAP. An efficient approach to help frontline workers integrate and get access to the latest tech should be the top priority of any business. Discuss safety with construction workers or customer appreciation with desk clerks. What’s crucial is that you keep the conversation going.
Frontline employees are the first people customers get to interact with and they are, as such, the first impression your company leaves… and we all know how important first impressions are.
For frontline workers that don’t have to waste their time in the office, offer flexible work models. Streamline manual tasks. Use apps and tools where they can be helpful. Listen to employee feedback. Talk to people. Put yourself in their shoes.
The healthier communication is, the faster your business will integrate frontline workers and actually make them happy about their work.