Why Frontline Employees Need Task Management and Training in One Place

25 May 2021

Operations | Training & learning

Frontline employees have kept their industries afloat for over a year now, but their workplace tech (or lack thereof) is far from seaworthy. 

We surveyed 1000 frontline employees and found that a whopping 73% are still using paper to complete tasks and processes, and 40% are trained only once a year or less. 

Most frontline employees don’t have the tech they need to manage their myriad of tasks and learn at the speed their industries and customers demand. 

The best way to solve this problem is to give frontline teams one unified platform for managing tasks and completing training. 

 

What do we mean by a unified platform? 

A unified platform gives frontline employees everything they need to receive and complete tasks as well as complete onboarding, training and continuous learning, all in one tool  - ideally an app. 

For example, with a unified platform, employees receive task instructions along with a training video on successfully completing the task. Employees can also find training content on tasks and processes without having to switch to a different application or platform. 

Frontline employees need the core functions of task management and training in one unified platform. Here are 6 reasons why. 

 

1) A unified platform makes perfect execution easy. 

No one jumps out of bed in the morning with a yawn, a stretch and an intent to make all the mistakes as they tick off their daily to-dos at work. So why do mistakes happen? 

Unclear instructions and expectations. 

Only 28% of frontline millennial employees think it’s easy to understand whether or not their work meets company expectations. 

Managers don’t set out to give unclear instructions, or set their teams up for failure by not thoroughly explaining what a job well done actually looks like. But when you’re not there in-person, there’s only so much detail you can give. 

Add in the extremely limited time frontline employees have to decipher task instructions, individual differences in processing information and even different age ranges, and you have a recipe for a limited company-wide understanding of how to complete tasks perfectly. And that means errors in execution that soak up even more limited time when they have to be fixed later on, or even worse - not at all. 

But by combining task instructions and training in the same place, you’re showing employees how to do something, rather than just telling them. That makes instructions crystal clear. And since training’s purpose is to show employees the right way to do things, combining tasks and training clarifies expectations that would be foggy otherwise. 

The result? It’s now much easier for frontline teams to execute tasks and processes perfectly the first time. Quality of execution improves, along with productivity, compliance and even customer experience. 

 

2) A unified platform makes training relevant. 

Training doesn’t help frontline employees retain the information they need and improve their performance for 3 main reasons. 

Firstly, training is infrequent. Our frontline employee survey found that 40% of frontline employees are training only once per year or less. 

Secondly, training is inaccessible. When a store associate has to step off the shop floor to flick through a binder, it disrupts their flow of work. 

And finally, training isn’t relevant to what frontline employees do every day. It’s either an information dump or not enough information at all. 

When frontline employees can find tasks and training in one app, not only is learning more frequent and accessible, it’s also more relevant. That’s because when combined, tasks and training help employees learn by doing instead of learning hypothetically. Giving employees the right knowledge at the right time, in their flow of work, facilitates the transfer of knowledge into working memory so it can be quickly recalled later on.

For example, watching a training video on how to complete a product recall as you’re completing that product recall will make what you’ve learned stick, because you’ve applied that knowledge hands on.



3) A unified platform makes employees more productive 

Even with two top-of-the-line platforms for task management and training, jumping back and forth between them makes employees less productive. 

Looking in two places for information soaks up a lot of time, especially when you consider how many tasks frontline employees complete and how much information they need. What’s more, refocusing afterwards takes time too - up to 25 minutes, according to a study from the University of California. 

Recovering from disruptions to your flow of work soaks up 2 hours per day. Imagine how much lost productivity this adds up to every week, month and year. 

And for frontline employees responsible for delivering a brand’s promise every day, it’s a productivity destroyer that takes away from spending time on higher-value activities, like helping customers. 

Frontline employees on their feet or on the road all day don’t have to spend time looking for task instructions and product knowledge when everything is combined in one app. That makes them more productive, with more time and energy to spend on core revenue-driving activities. 

 

4) A unified platform makes the frontline employee experience more fulfilling. 

Those core revenue-driving activities we just mentioned? Most of the time they’re the most fulfilling parts of frontline employee work that give their work meaning and improve their employee experience. 

This could be spending more time with customers, or spending more time coaching teams at each location in your territory. Disrupting the flow of work to complete tasks and training gives frontline employees less time for this fulfilling, impactful work that improves employee experience, employer branding and career prospects in frontline industries like retail and hospitality. 

Additionally, frontline employees haven’t been the first priority for investments in workplace tech, despite making up the majority of the workforce globally. So when employers invest in the frontline employee experience with tech that helps them work and learn with minimal disruptions, employees will feel more valued. 

What’s more, younger generations of employees, especially Gen Z, expect to be equipped with tech they actually want to use.

80% of Gen Z want to work somewhere with cutting edge technology, and 91% say workplace tech would influence their choice of job. Younger frontline employees who haven’t been equipped with tech to help them do their jobs better will automatically have an unsatisfactory employee experience. Cutting edge workplace tech isn’t just a nice-to-have anymore - it’s an expectation. 

 

5) A unified platform drives higher adoption.

When something makes you better at your job, saves you time and has all the information you need in one place, you’re more likely to use it. 

Adoption of new tech will be high when the tech is so convenient and easy to use that it becomes an extension of their work, rather than another new tool they’ll have to learn how to master. 

Consolidating core functions goes a long way to achieve this and turn a tool from something frontline employees have to use into something they want to use. This makes new tech part of the flow of work and keeps adoption high both medium and long term. 

Related: 5 Best Practices for Boosting Adoption of New Tech for Retail and Hospitality Employees

 

5) A unified platform makes it easier to measure and improve performance. 

Higher adoption rates mean more employees using the platform. More employees using the platform means more data to analyze. 

And by consolidating task management and training in one app, you can pull more data from the two different functions and then correlate them to see what actually drives better performance. 

This helps to solve one of the biggest challenges of an L&D professional - demonstrating that investments in training actually drive tangible results. 

For example, by comparing course completion rates with average time to complete tasks and compliance with brand guidelines, you’ll get more insights into whether or not training is helping employees improve process execution. 

Correlating task and training data also helps identify which training formats (e.g. video, infographics, flashcards) drive the best performance. Plus, it makes it easy to identify top performing locations and employees, understand what they all have in common, and then replicate success on a wider scale. 

 

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YOOBIC’s digital workplace helps frontline employees manage tasks, train, and communicate in one app that’s as easy to use as social media. With YOOBIC, frontline teams spend 40% less time executing tasks and processes, with adoption rates of 100%

YOOBIC helps us attain near-perfect operational execution in-store, as well as train and engage with our teams."

Camille Kreiss, Director of Retail @Adore Me

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