The Frontline Employee Toolkit - What The Frontline Need to Succeed
80% of the global workforce are considered frontline workers. These frontline employees are often the first, last and or only, face-to-face interaction a customer has with a business.
So, they’re a pretty big deal.
Despite this, frontline workers are often overlooked. Their work is seen as ‘unskilled’, they’re underpaid, undersupported and overworked.
However, when businesses invest in the tools and technology the frontline needs to do their jobs well and to feel supported, everybody wins. Frontline employees feel good in the work they are doing, awesome customer experiences are delivered and loyalty and revenue goes through the roof.
So how do you go about empowering the frontline?
We’ve put together a toolkit that will set you up for success. In order for your frontline team to thrive, they need to:
1. Know how they fit into the big picture
Imagine playing a video game, but you’re not allowed to see the score. It wouldn’t be long before you lose motivation and ask yourself ‘what’s the point?’
Well, that’s how employees feel when they’re unaware of how they fit into the bigger picture.
When you connect your frontline to the bigger picture (that is sharing customer feedback, organisational direction, revenue etc) you give them a point. You connect them to a purpose, and give them oversight of the impacts they’re personally making and the progression opportunities they have.
2. Know what they do matters
When the frontline can see the impact they’re making and how it matters, it reinforces behaviors and motivates them to keep achieving. It demonstrates the value of their work, and empowers them to show up as the best versions of themselves.
That’s exactly why Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, shares the daily sales revenue with every frontline worker in the store that day. It gives them a direct line of sight between their role delivering customer experience (one cup at a time) and the ultimate business outcome it contributes to.
It’s also why Uber connects real-time customer feedback to their drivers. At a glance of the Uber app, drivers can see their current 5-star rating, what passengers most appreciate about travelling with them (cool car, good music, etc.) and what they need to work on based on low scores.
3. Know what good looks like
One of the main difficulties with consistently delivering on your service promise is that customer experience is inherently subjective. One person’s “helpful” is another person’s “intense”, and what we consider “friendly” might be what you consider “stalker”.
Frontline teams need a clear benchmark for what awesome customer experiences look like. When the frontline are coached, supported and provided with customer feedback, they’re able to reach a consistent level of service, delivering on the things that matter most to their customers.
4. Be recognized & appreciated
One of the main reasons employees feel disengaged in their work is that they don’t feel appreciated. Before your frontline team can go out there and achieve their goals, talk to customers and deliver awesome experiences, they need to be feeling good in themselves.
“Recognition isn’t just about implementing employee programs or distributing expensive gifts, it's about bringing out the best in people and improving your company’s bottom line. Increasingly so, employees expect their workplace to deliver a productive, engaging, enjoyable experience.” - Impraise
In a recent Gallup workplace survey, employees were asked what types of recognition they’ve found most memorable. Respondents emphasized six methods in particular — it’s worth noting money isn't the only (or the top) form of recognition.
• Public recognition or acknowledgement via an award, certificate or announcement
• Private recognition from a boss, peer or customer
• Receiving or obtaining a high level of achievement through evaluations or reviews
• Promotion or increase in the scope of work or responsibility to show trust
• Monetary awards such as a trip, prize or pay increase
• Personal satisfaction or pride in work
5. Engage with consistent coaching
We’re not talking about a performance review every six months here team, we’re talking about daily behaviour changes that can help the frontline finetune their craft to create beautiful customer experiences.
Frontline coaching boosts job satisfaction, career progression and employee retention. However, according to a recent study by Yoobic, 40% of frontline employees report being trained only once a year or less. Eeek.
The repercussions of coaching neglect are huge. The result is a working environment with stagnant growth, confusion, a lack of trust, little flexibility and an increased risk of low morale among both workers and their managers —all at a high cost to companies.
When companies do focus on coaching, particularly for small improvements, we hate to say it again, but truly, everybody wins. Trust between managers and employees increases, morale is boosted, outputs increase, customer experiences are better delivered, and loyalty flourishes.
6. Be listened to
It may seem like the most simple thing, yet across industries manager’s ears aren’t being used enough. New research from UKG found that 86% of employees, or four in five, feel colleagues at their organisation are not heard fairly or equally – with 47% of teams claiming underrepresented voices are totally undervalued by their leaders.
Not only is listening to the frontline a matter of respect, care and support for your frontline employees, but it’s a matter of improving your bottom line, too.
You can spend thousands, to hundreds of thousands of dollars on traditional research methods that aim to understand more about your customers. But no research firm will know your customers as intimately as your frontline team does.
When you listen to your frontline team, it makes them feel like the valued member of the team that they are. And don’t just take it from us. A recent study by INC found that employees who feel heard are 4.6% more likely to feel empowered to do their best work.
So, in order for your frontline team to feel empowered in their work, they need to:
- Know how they fit into the bigger picture
- Know what they do matters
- Know what good looks like
- Be recognised and appreciated
- Engage with consistent coaching
- Be listened to
We believe it is the responsibility of managers and executives to ensure their frontline teams have the tools and technologies they need to feel empowered and supported.
Looking for a tool that can help you do all of that? Learn more about AskNicely frontline here.