3 Benefits of Connected Frontline Employees

3 Benefits of Connected Frontline Employees

07 April 2021

Internal communications

When employees are connected to the rest of their organization, they’re connected to a purpose, vision and sense of community. Without this connection, employee empowerment is a tall order. 

But with frontline employees, creating and maintaining this connection comes with its own set of challenges. Failing to overcome them and connect frontline teams to the rest of the organization has severe consequences in 2021, when frontline employees are the ones who make everything happen. 

Related: 6 ways to support frontline employees with internal communications

And with 34% of frontline employees feeling disconnected from the rest of the organization according to our 2021 State of the Frontline Employee Workplace Survey it’s obvious that employers have a lot of work to do. 

Frontline employees are far more prone to feeling disconnected from the rest of the organization because: 

  • They’re deskless workers who spend the day on their feet, without a company computer or even a company email address in many cases 

  • They work across locations that could be hundreds of miles apart and may never meet most of their peers. For many frontline employees, internal communications is the way they find out what the rest of the company is up to. 

  • Organizations use outdated tools - like email - to reach them, that don’t fit into the workflow of a frontline employee’s day. 

 

54% of frontline employees receive company communications via email.

 

  • Since frontline employees work in high-turnover industries like retail and hospitality, investing in solutions that connect them to the rest of the company is still perceived as a wasted investment

Internal communications is how you connect your frontline employees to the rest of the organization. To pull it off, internal communications need to be tailored around the realities of the frontline employee role. 

Here are 3 benefits of the connected frontline employees that top-knotch internal communications creates. 

 

1) Connected frontline employees are ready for change.

Frontline employees don’t have a company watercooler to gather around. You can’t get them all in a Zoom call for company updates because they’re all working different shifts. 

And using email to reach them isn’t effective either, because while it might do an ok job of getting information to employees, it doesn’t close the feedback loop and give insight into whether or not employees are engaging with company news and updates. This lack of insight is a huge problem when news is urgent - as many updates have been over the last year. 

But with the right strategy, HQ can push out company news and updates to every frontline employee in a flash, so it’s effortless for employees to stay connected. 

And that means employees are ready for change, whether it’s a reopening, new operating policies or the rollout of new tech. And if we’ve learned anything from the last year, it’s that agile organizations who adapt quickly to change are the most successful ones. 

Related: How BurgerFi used internal communications and team training to keep their frontline employees engaged during the pandemic

 

2) Connected employees are more knowledgeable.

After a year of varying degrees of social isolation, knowledgeable frontline employees are a huge differentiator for any brand. 

Knowledge should reach frontline employees without them having to spend time looking for it. And that’s what effective internal communications does. Not only that, but effective internal communications also democratizes the process of knowledge sharing, so it’s something every employee can do instead of being a trickle from the top down. 

Think of it this way - who knows the ins and outs of being a frontline employee better than frontline employees? No matter what their role or industry, frontline employees have specialized knowledge that the rest of the organization doesn’t. 

Sharing that knowledge with their peers is a lot more cost-effective than any other kind of  training. And since frontline employees are interacting with each other, it builds community and makes employees faster and more autonomous. 

Related: How to create a knowledge sharing culture for frontline employees 

 

3) Connected employees perform better. 

 There are 3 main reasons for this. 

Firstly, connected employees have all the information they need and spend 35% less time looking for things. This also makes them 25% more productive.

Secondly, connected employees make fewer mistakes. Disconnected employees operate in silos, but connected employees have visibility into what their peers are doing. That means there’s less likely to be accidental duplication of tasks because people are doing the same thing without knowing it. 

And finally, because connected employees have a line of sight into how the work they do impacts the bigger picture and the company’s bottom line. Connected employees are more likely to go above and beyond.  

Related: 3 Examples of outstanding internal communications for frontline employees 

 

What’s the right way to connect frontline employees to their company and peers? 

Frontline teams already know the answer. 

76% would feel more connected to the rest of the company if they received company communications on a mobile device. 

That’s because while frontline employees rarely have access to a computer or even a company email address, they’ll usually have a personal or company phone or tablet on them at all times. Instead of busy frontline employees having to take the time to check email or run to the back office - or worst of all, not check anything at all - company info comes right to them. 

And since mobile supports features like push notifications, read receipts and interactive newsfeeds, companies can actually measure how connected their frontline teams are, so they can consistently make improvements. 

But despite how easy, scalable and measurable mobile devices make frontline employee communications, just a little over half of employees are currently using them in the workplace, according to our Frontline Employee Workplace Survey

 

Only 59% of frontline employees use mobile devices at work. 

There's no better way to connect your frontline teams, wherever they are, than to use mobile tech as the delivery mechanism for internal communications. 

But mobile does far more than just connect your frontline teams - it has a plethora of other benefits too!

To find out what they are, download the full 2021 State of the Frontline Employee Workplace Survey

2021 State of the Frontline Employee Workplace Survey Download

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