With unfilled job vacancies at an all-time high, it’s never been more important to engage your frontline workers.
Between October and December 2021, the Office for National Statistics notes that UK vacancies leapt to a new all-time record of 1,247,000 – an increase of 11.4% on the quarter. Lack of employees to fill vacancies has been an issue for employers throughout the pandemic; one which shows little sign of disappearing in 2022.
(Change in open vacancies over time. Source: ons.gov.uk)
In many cases, it’s the frontline where this gap is most keenly felt. Often overlooked by employee engagement teams for a ‘churn and burn’ approach to hiring, frontline workers have had little reason to stay in their roles beyond a pay cheque. With wages rising due to demand, that isn’t enough anymore.
Employee engagement is therefore now a crucial part of running effective frontline teams that create great customer experiences, no matter the industry. Fortunately, your intranet is an ideal tool to boost frontline employees engagement.
Here are four ways to ensure your employee intranet app is frontline friendly.
Make your frontline apps mobile friendly
Your frontline employees don’t have 24/7 access to a desktop computer.
The solution? Make sure your intranet is easily accessible via mobile phone.
Technically, any website is accessible via a web browser. However, a static, non-responsive intranet website is difficult to use on mobile, so will likely be avoided by time-poor workers for whom efficiency is essential.
Instead, your intranet should be a mobile responsive web app – and if you can find an intranet delivered by native mobile app, even better. This is the baseline for your frontline teams engaging with your intranet – they need to be able to access it on the go, without needing a desktop.
Maintain a frontline education mobile app
What differentiates a great workplace from a good, or average, workplace?
In many cases, the answer is a sense of purpose. Recently, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation warned that 41% of British workers were considering quitting their jobs for more meaningful employment.
We know that career development contributes hugely to employees’ sense of purpose. Employees with access to professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged, which leads to a 34% higher retention rate.
(The benefits of employee engagement. Source: leancxscore.com)
We also know that, as they have seen your organisation from the ground up, frontline workers that progress through your organisation can make fantastic managers.
Whilst you’ll need a good structure in place to support this, your mobile intranet app is a great starting point. Incorporating a frontline education mobile app allows you to offer a range of learning and development opportunities to your frontline team.
Being able to access learning on the go or between shifts is incredibly useful for frontline teams, who often have strict timetables and shift patterns.
Share your frontline workers’ achievements
Employee engagement starts with feeling included, recognised and supported by the organisation. That’s as true for your frontline workers as it is for your salaried and office-based staff. Encourage and reward your staff for hard work and significantly higher retention rates will follow.
Line managers can use your intranet app to share great frontline performance with the wider organisation. It’s sometimes difficult to show senior managers how well your frontline teams are working, particularly on a store or location level. Your intranet app can be a real asset here – use social feeds to broadcast just how hard your teams are working to a wider audience and help them build bridges across the organisation.
Your intranet app is also useful for sharing your frontline employees’ knowledge, which is often siloed in one specific location. Your frontline is the face of your business – they interact with customers or service users the most. Why not encourage them to share the insights they gain from doing so with the wider company?
Use your intranet app to make your teams’ lives easier
Sometimes, frontline processes can differ slightly from those of your salaried employees – leave balances might be calculated differently, for example
It’s vital that your intranet app supports these functions as easily as the business processes your salaried employees follow. Otherwise, your intranet app won’t save time for on-the-ground teams – it may even suggest that you don’t value them as ‘real’ members of your organisation.
On the other hand, by providing software that offers a quick and easy way to check leave balances, report and create absences, receive web alerts for rota changes and other frontline processes, you show that you respect their needs and respect their time.
The ramifications of this are twofold:
- You reduce inefficiencies created by paper-based processes among your frontline – as your intranet app offers an effective way of completing operational tasks, your employees check it regularly.
- Because the intranet is used to complete admin tasks and share useful information, frontline workers check it more. This means that they’re more likely to benefit from the features that encourage engagement like social feeds, knowledge sharing tools and company updates.
Ultimately, this helps achieve an upward spiral.
Your frontline appreciates the tools that make their jobs easier. As they spend less time completing time-heavy admin tasks, your workforce becomes more efficient and productivity increases. Morale also increases as a result of good performance being recognised and your employees start to see their workplace as a viable, long-term prospect worth putting effort into.