Non-desk workers make up 80% of the global workforce. And yet the majority of business software is made for office employees.
Here’s a typical scenario for an hourly employee:
- They don’t have a company email address or can’t access email during their shift
- They don’t have access to important documentation and company updates while they’re working
The opposite is true for most, if not all, desk-bound workers.
Here’s the good news: hourly workers can be as informed, engaged, and connected as desk-bound workers.
We’ll be looking at the top five ways organizations can leverage technology to build a non-desk workforce that’s happy, engaged, and ultimately more productive.
Tip #1: Adopt a Mobile Communication Platform
According to the State of Employee Communications Report 2021, organizations with effective employee communication reported much higher engagement levels than communication-laggard organizations.
The report found that 48% of communication-laggard organizations believed they did not have high engagement levels.
There is a strong case for improving engagement by improving internal communication. But how can organizations improve internal communication for non-desk workers, who might not benefit from traditional communication methods like email or intranets?
Adopting a mobile communication platform like Beekeeper gives non-desk workers the opportunity to:
- Receive company updates in real-time
- Access important information via digital document library
- Communicate with colleagues and managers in one, centralized app
While many frontline workers might not have a company email address or the ability to sit down in front of a computer, almost all employees have a mobile device.
By giving non-desk workers more opportunities to stay connected, companies can increase overall engagement across their workforce.
Tip #2: Prioritize Recognition
Receiving recognition for a job well done is one of the most important factors in employee happiness and engagement.
One study found that employees who believed they were recognized were 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged.
In an in-person or virtual office setting, managers can recognize employees with a “job well done.” But what about non-desk workers, who are often physically separated from managers or even colleagues?
For non-desk workers, recognition programs that utilize employee-preferred communication channels have the greatest chance of success. Think about how your non-desk workforce receives information. With a mobile platform, managers can:
- Give public shout-outs to top performers
- Recognize when an employee went above and beyond
- Celebrate individuals, teams, or the entire company
Tip #3: Make Scheduling Stress Free
According to a study of 1,500 deskless workers in the US, scheduling is one of the biggest causes of stress and dissatisfaction. Workers feel they are often pressured to take shifts they don’t want and believe that asking for a scheduling change would be viewed negatively by a manager.
72% of deskless employees reported that their employers contacted them about scheduling issues off-hours on their personal channels.
This can signal that companies:
- Don’t respect an employee’s work/life boundaries
- Expect employees to always put the needs of their company ahead of their own well-being
Last-minute scheduling changes happen. But making the scheduling process as stress-free as possible for employees can dramatically increase worker satisfaction and improve performance.
The first step is moving all communication about scheduling to a centralized company app. That way, employees know that they can access shift information and make changes on one platform that doesn’t interfere with their personal channels.
Adopting a mobile platform also:
- Allows deskless workers to see scheduling updates in real time
- Makes swapping shifts easier
- Gives workers more autonomy in seeing and reacting to scheduling
Tip #4: Ask For (And Act On) Employee Feedback
Can you really measure employee happiness and engagement?
To a certain extent, you can. Communication apps that collect employee feedback can help companies gage where their team members stand. Questions like…
- Do you feel engaged at work?
- Are there any tools/resources you’re missing?
- Would any processes be improved by a different approach?
…can all paint the larger picture of employee satisfaction. More targeted surveys can measure how well certain teams understand company messaging, for example.
The most important part of employee surveys? Analyzing and acting on the results. When employees see that their input is valued and makes a difference, they’re more likely to continue giving feedback.
Tip #5: Prioritize Employee Health
While most office-bound workers were able to work from home during the pandemic, many deskless employees were on the frontlines. They had to show up in person and as many as 65% had to go to work sick because they couldn’t afford to miss getting paid.
The pandemic shone a light on how companies could do better in terms of acknowledging and prioritizing the health of deskless employees.
For example, 39% of deskless workers prefer having a flexible schedule to getting a higher salary.
Companies can make flexible work schedules a reality, or support employee health in other ways like:
- Offer paid sick leave
- Regularly check in with employees via direct messaging or one-on-one calls
- Normalize healthy work/life balance at the leadership level
- Give managers the tools to recognize signs that an employee is struggling
The TLDR on Keeping Frontline Employees Happy
Hourly workers are constantly on the move and their needs are often very different from desk-bound employees. Keeping frontline employees happy starts with recognizing which internal communication strategy makes them the most connected and engaged.
By choosing a mobile communication platform, companies can:
- Make employees feel valued
- Analyze and act on feedback
- Prioritize health and well-being