Who are the workers that your potential customers or clients meet first? Your salespeople, or maybe a security guard at the entrance of your business. It is a fact that these people create the first impressions of your business for customers. Before customers can purchase a product or develop a thorough understanding of your brand, they meet your frontline staff. So how do you manage them?
Who are Frontline Workers?
Frontline workers are essential workers in an organization that provide some essential service to the public. For example, doctors, nurses, teachers, cashiers, salespeople, etc are all frontline workers. Most of these workers need to be present on-site and have a higher rate of face-to-face interactions than other employees. If you watched the news during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have heard about them. These frontline workers, often deemed “essential workers”, had to be present even when everyone else was working from home.
The idea of a front-line worker is not a new concept. However, it has been distinguished from other types of jobs in more detail over the past few years. The terms “frontline workers” and “essential workers” are often used in place of one another but are not necessarily the same. Both types of workers provide essential services, but front-line workers are a sub-section of essential workers.
Now the main difference comes from their interaction with the public. Frontline workers have a very high interaction with the public, but this isn’t always true for essential workers.
5 Things to Consider when Managing Frontline Workers
1. They Are the Face of Your Company
You might think that your CEO or your newest brand model is the face of your business, but that’s not true. Your frontline staff represents the face of your business, which implies that your company’s vision, goal, culture, and values are immediately reflected in the behavior of your frontline personnel.
When a customer walks into your store, whether they are new or returning, a lackluster interaction with frontline staff will produce a poor brand image. Hence when you hire your workers, learn to train them in the proper etiquette when meeting with customers.
2. They Have a One-on-One Relationship with Customers
Your company executives don’t interact with clients or walk-in customers daily. However, your grocery store saleswoman does, and she engages with customers every day.
So, gathering feedback from your frontline staff is the most innovative idea when trying to widen your clientele. No matter how much data analysis or surveys you conduct, they will never show consumer preferences as in-depth as your frontline workers can.
3. Use Bottom-Up Communication
Companies are trying to give employees a voice because, in today’s day and age, employees prefer good working conditions and a workplace with a good culture over monetary gains. This means they should feel like their voice is heard and that they have authority over decision-making. A bottom-up form of communication is when employees provide ideas to their supervisors rather than supervisors simply assigning tasks to the staff.
Validate your staff’s opinions and make them realize that their opinions or ideas can be implemented. Remember, they know the customers better than you do! They can already produce the best ideas, and you must make them happen.
4. Utilize Technology
When managing frontline workers, you should utilize technology to its fullest. Use companywide software that allows employees to view their schedules, plan allotted tasks, and review their performance. While frontline workers typically do not have direct access to a desk or computer throughout their workday. However, by utilizing an employee experience platform like iTacit, you can provide your employees access to everything they need, even when they are in the field.
5. Present a Clear Vision
Increase job happiness and buy-in by outlining a clear vision of your organization and its objectives. It is simpler to articulate an idea that is clear and concise.
Your company’s entire culture ought to be shaped by your goal. Make sure your staff members know the company’s mission and objectives so they can apply them to their work. Employee engagement is also increased by having a clear vision.
Challenges Your Frontline Workers May Face
Frontline or even essential workers don’t have a similar work schedule to other employees. As mentioned earlier, they don’t get to work through hybrid models or even have a strict daily schedule. They might have to work overtime according to company or even personal necessities.
Due to this, they may often miss out on important meetings. The rest of the office may work on a strict 9-5 schedule. So, they might not attend those meetings. They may not be aware of new programs or new policies that have been implemented in the office. Due to this, extra training efforts are needed.
For frontline employees to perform at their best under the most trying conditions, their employers must provide ongoing communication and training. But in helping the frontline workers daily, we all have a part to play. They can concentrate more on performing their jobs as securely and effectively as possible if the general public is as patient and understanding as possible.
Stephanie Caroline Snyder graduated from The University of Florida in 2018; she majored in Communications with a minor in mass media. Currently, she is an Author and a Freelance Internet Writer, and a Blogger.