Industry Insights

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10 ways to engage and retain the front-liners

Front-line workers are the backbone of an organisation, which is why top management should ensure a better employee experience.

Retaining and engaging front-line workers is crucial for the success of any organisation.

Front-line employees are the human interface between the customer and the company in a lot of business sectors.

However, the current experience for front-line workers is challenged, particularly concerning their social capital—the presence of relationships, shared norms, and trust among individuals, teams, and leaders. According to а McKinsey & Company research more than half of the front-line workers are not satisfied with the relationships within their professional networks.

In the end, it comes as no surprise that a lot of front-line workers plan to leave their job in the next 3-6 months.

How can leaders increase front-line employee engagement, help strengthen networks, and ultimately retain their workforce?

According to McKinsey & Company research, 80 per cent of front-line employees say that their company provides few connection opportunities at work. Despite this lack of engagement, there are two critical groups with whom front-line employees frequently connect, albeit for work-related reasons: their direct supervisor and coworkers on their team.

Here are some strategies which could be used to strengthen the relationships between management and front-line workers:

  • Competitive Compensation: Offer a competitive salary and benefits package to ensure that your front-line workers feel valued and adequately rewarded for their contributions. Conduct market research to stay updated on industry standards and adjust compensation accordingly.
  • Recognition and Appreciation: Regularly recognise and appreciate the efforts of your front-line workers. Express gratitude for their hard work and provide specific feedback on their achievements. Consider implementing an employee recognition program or creating opportunities for peer-to-peer recognition.
  • Opportunities for Growth and Development: Provide opportunities for professional growth and development to keep your front-line workers engaged. Offer training programs, workshops, and mentorship opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge. This will demonstrate your commitment to their long-term success and encourage them to stay with the organisation.
  • Clear Career Path: Establish a clear career path for your front-line workers, showing them the potential for advancement within the organisation. Offer promotions and internal job postings to allow them to progress in their careers and avoid feeling stagnant in their roles.
  • Open Communication Channels: Create an environment that encourages open communication. Ensure that your front-line workers feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and suggestions. Implement regular feedback sessions and consider conducting surveys to gather their input on various aspects of their work environment.
  • Work-Life Balance: Recognise the importance of work-life balance and support your front-line workers in achieving it. Provide flexible scheduling options whenever possible and be mindful of their personal needs and obligations.
  • Team Building and Social Events: Foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging among your front-line workers through team-building activities and social events. This can help create a positive work culture and strengthen relationships among team members.
  • Empowerment and Autonomy: Give your front-line workers the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Empower them to solve problems and provide opportunities for them to contribute their ideas and expertise.
  • Safe and Supportive Work Environment: Ensure that your front-line workers have a safe and supportive work environment. Provide the necessary tools, resources, and training to perform their tasks efficiently and safely. Address any concerns or issues promptly and respond appropriately to maintain their well-being.
  • Employee Benefits and Perks: Offer additional employee benefits and rewards that cater to the needs and preferences of your front-line workers. This could include healthcare benefits, wellness programs, employee discounts, or incentives tied to performance.

Front-line employees drive significant value for organisations, but our research suggests they are struggling—in terms of engagement and building and maintaining networks at work—more than others. Leaders who effectively support these employees can see tremendous improvement in their ability to attract, mobilise, and retain their front-line talent.

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