- Communication between front-line employees and their managers may be lacking, according to a recent survey of U.S., U.K. and Australia frontline workers by operations technology platform SafetyCulture. The firm found 40% of workers said that communications from management revealed management is “out of touch.”
- Additionally, 42% of respondents said that communications from their organizations’ headquarters were often irrelevant. This negative sentiment extended to internal communications more broadly; 30% of workers said that internal comms got in the way of performing their roles.
- Even important updates may slip past frontline workers, SafetyCulture found. More than 1 in 4 respondents said their organizations did not have a “go-to” channel for such updates, while 32% said that if there was such a channel, it did not work for someone in their roles.
The Great Resignation impacted many occupational categories, but those sectors with large shares of frontline workers — such as accommodation, food services and transportation — were especially vulnerable.
Pay, benefits and the impacts of COVID-19 did play a role in frontline workers’ voluntary departures since March 2020, according to researchers at Boston Consulting Group, but others have cited poor relationships with management, lack of flexibility and a lack of appreciation as causes. Voluntary attrition further pressured employees who chose to remain at their jobs, according to an April survey by Eagle Hill Consulting.
This dynamic has played out in different ways across organizations, but one notable consequence has been an increasingly vocal labor force. Waves of strikes and near-strikes popped up across the U.S. in late 2021, many of them organized by frontline workers. Such efforts have continued in the first half of 2022, with unionization taking hold in some companies.
Though there are a number of potential ways in which employers may connect with frontline workers, training and career development continue to be emphasized. Vendor company Axonify found that frontline workers were particularly active in seeking upskilling and training content in the early phase of the pandemic. In succeeding years, employers have responded to that demand by lowering cost barriers to learning opportunities, among other strategies.