Deskless Not Voiceless 2021
Our new global survey of frontline employees and C-suite leaders reveals that deskless workers are at risk of leaving their jobs unless companies focus on improving the employee experience. Read on to discover what’s happening and how to take action.
Since 2019, Workplace has surveyed frontline workers about their experiences, and compared the views of line managers and leaders to the reality on the ground.
We consistently found that there is a disconnect between frontline and HQ, driven by poor communication and misalignment. It’s past time that something was done about it.
That’s why we’ve created the annual Deskless Not Voiceless: Frontline Barometer – to track four key pillars of frontline life during this tumultuous time.
The four pillars of frontline employee experience
1. Fulfilment and Empowerment
This tells us how happy frontline workers are in their current role, whether their individual contribution supports the organisation’s purpose, and the extent to which they have the autonomy to make decisions and recommend new ideas or ways of working.
2. Trust in Leadership
This pillar reveals the degree to which frontline workers feel their leadership teams listen to and respect them, and the trust the frontline has in leadership in return.
3. Learning and Growth
In this pillar, we look at the training and career development opportunities provided to frontline workers, and whether the education and skills provided by employers are relevant and sufficient.
4. Wellbeing and Safety
This pillar gives us a holistic view of frontline employees’ wellbeing, including how employers support their physical health, mental health, psychological safety and physical safety.
Deskless Not Voiceless 2021: "The Frontline Barometer" by Coleman Parkes (Workplace from Facebook commissioned study of 7,000 frontline workers and 1,350 C-suite leaders in the UK, the USA, Canada, Brazil, France, Mexico and Australia), September-October 2021
What have we learned in 2021?
For our 2021 Frontline Barometer, we spoke to 7,000 frontline workers and 1,350 C-suite leaders across the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Brazil, Mexico and Australia.
The good news is that we found reasons to be optimistic about the future for frontline employees across these seven countries.
It’s clear that frontline workers matter to their leaders, especially after the experiences of the pandemic. In fact, the frontline was a strategic priority at every organisation we surveyed – a 20% increase since 2019*.
But there are warning signs, too. Dissatisfied employees are more than ready to vote with their feet. Fifty-seven percent of frontline workers surveyed are planning to leave for a better paid role, while 45% are considering leaving the frontline altogether.
The Great Frontline Resignation is a very real threat. But leaders still have an opportunity to put the frontline employee experience front and centre. That starts with developing an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day reality facing their frontline workforce.
Understanding the frontline experience at Virgin Atlantic
When it comes to understanding the day-to-day reality of the frontline workforce, few CEOs are prepared to go as far as Virgin Atlantic’s Shai Weiss. Virgin Atlantic employees have been using Workplace for several years, so we followed Shai over 24 hours as he rolled up his sleeves to reunite with cabin crew, airport staff and engineers as they return from furlough to get a taste of daily life on the frontline.
Three areas for immediate action
What can businesses do today to improve things for the frontline and hold on to their top talent? It starts with these three steps.
Improve the employee experience
Fundamental problems across all four of the pillars in our Frontline Barometer point to a need to overhaul the employee experience for deskless workers. Today, only 55% of respondents feel connected to HQ, while 43% say they don’t have the autonomy they need to share new ideas or ways of working.
Despite a lot of positive talk, there is still a perception that frontline employees get a raw deal compared to other areas of the business. In fact, 48% of frontline workers surveyed believe that HQ colleagues get better perks and benefits. More training and better healthcare benefits are the top two requests to address this.
Invest in technology
Technology is a critical component of connecting frontline workers. Ninety-four percent of leaders surveyed plan to prioritise frontline tech. That’s good news because 57% of frontline employees surveyed say that keeping in touch with their colleagues via communication and collaboration tools is good for their mental health.
Inspiring moments that matter at Royal Ambulance
If you want to know what it means to really care about the day-to-day experiences of frontline employees, just take a look at Eve Grau, VP of Human Resources at Royal Ambulance, a California-based medical transportation provider and Workplace customer. Ride along with Eve as she joins the first responders who are passionate about caring for patients during the good times and the bad.
Connecting the unconnected with Workplace and WhatsApp
At Workplace, we’ve always believed that just because some employees are deskless, it doesn’t mean they should also be voiceless.
That’s why our familiar, mobile-friendly tools connect frontline employees to their manager and HQ so they can receive information, find resources and work together.
In 2022, we are expecting to extend those connections even further by enabling companies to share posts from Workplace directly to WhatsApp, which means frontline employees will have even more opportunities to engage with company announcements.
Take a look at the video to see exactly how Workplace’s tools and features come together to make it easier for frontline workers to connect, communicate and feel like part of a community.
*Deskless Not Voiceless: Communication Works, Workplace from Facebook, 2019
2019 Deskless not Voiceless Research Methodology
This survey comprised 2,000 frontline managers and 2,000 HQ managers across the UK and US and was conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by Workplace from Facebook. The survey was conducted during April and May 2019.
Get in touch
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