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2023 Frontline Trends Report: Effects of the Labor Shortage

Frontline Trends Report
Beekeeper's guide to 2022 frontline trends

As 2023 gets underway, one of the main frontline trends we’re seeing is that companies are facing an unprecedented labor shortage of frontline workers that has led to fierce competition for talent. And it’s forcing companies to rethink and redesign the frontline experience, starting with the first touchpoint—recruitment.  

Download our 2023 Frontline Trends Report to see how the labor shortage is permanently changing the employee experience.

This labor shortage is fueled by pandemic fatigue and rampant burnout across frontline industries. Millions of workers are quitting their jobs in what’s being dubbed the Great Resignation. A few of the reasons workers are leaving?

  • Almost 1.4 million women left the labor force in order to take care of their families
  • Retirement rates for older workers ramped up due to the pandemic
  • Employees know they can make more money by switching jobs
  • Also, people are just plain burnt out

This Great Resignation is changing the Future of Frontline Work for good.

As the economy and the workforce transition into the new normal with fewer staff, businesses must prioritize their frontline employees’ needs.

Frontline workers and the challenges they face continue to dominate news headlines, so we wanted to make sure we had our finger on the pulse of what they want at work. 

That’s why we asked our frontline users and managers:

  • What they wanted
  • What they worry about
  • What motivates them
  • What they love/hate about their frontline work apps

What our survey revealed was that frontline workers want predictable shifts, opportunities for professional development, and positive feedback from customers and their managers

  • Frontliners are most highly motivated the satisfaction of a job done well and on time, and the praise this earns from colleagues
  • Frontliners are highly stressed by external pressures like inflation and keeping themselves and their families safe
  • Compared to Managers, Frontliners are significantly less motivated by having a clear organizational ‘purpose’ and ‘mission’
frontline trends survey results

Our findings revealed important frontline trends businesses must prepare for in 2023. Download our 2023 Frontline Trends Report for our full report!

Keep reading to get a head start in understanding how trends transforming frontline operations will impact your workplace. 

1. Frontline Workers Expect Higher Wages – And Quicker Access To Them

It’s no surprise that compensation remains one of the top frontline trends going into 2023. Frontliners know it’s a worker’s market. This means that the steep competition for talent is increasing hourly wages.

Massive corporations like Amazon and Walmart are increasing their hourly wages. And Starbucks is even offering signing bonuses. 

In addition to increased compensation, frontline workers are getting access to their earned wages faster. Businesses are partnering with apps that offer next- or same-day pay to frontline employees so they can access their earnings when they need it. 

This is a game-changer attraction and retention approach, especially for frontline employees the need to be paid quicker to stay afloat. 

2. Employee Recruitment Gets A Creative Overhaul

Help Wanted signs? LinkedIn posting? Job fairs? This traditional candidate sourcing and recruitment channels are no match for today’s tech-savvy workforce.  

The labor market is fierce right now, and businesses are pulling out all the stops. Here are a few examples:

  • McDonald’s turned to Snapchat to bring in over 3,000 job applications in just 23 hours
  • Companies like Chipotle and Shopify turned to TikTok to attract Gen Z workers
  • BestBuy introduced better child-care benefits to entice working parents
  • Target announced it would cover 100% of college tuition and textbook for part- and full-time workers

While some of these new schemes have fizzled out, others are here to stay. And they each show employers are willing to go to new lengths in the fight for frontline talent. 

3. Working Conditions Matter – So Does Context

Our Frontline Worker Survey found that working conditions for hourly workers can be a big problem. For example, manufacturing work usually means repetitive motions, long hours, and minimal personal space. And retail or hospitality jobs can consist of hours of standing or working in 100-degree kitchens.

Our Frontline Worker Survey revealed that physical discomfort remains a major issue for frontline workers. 

And, it’s not just the physical conditions. Understaffing is a top stressor for frontline workers, and unpredictable shift scheduling can make matters worse. 

Frontline employees working on understaffed teams are likely picking up the slack. But, they’d like to be supported by having better-staffed teams and more stable schedules. 

Context is also critical to frontline worker happiness. They don’t want to work in a silo. Instead, they want:

  • A better understanding of why and when things change
  • Clearer goals and objectives
  • Closer insight into the bigger picture for the business

In 2023, businesses will do well to incorporate important changes to their workplace, such as:

  • Prioritizing adequately staffed teams
  • Communicating the broader vision of the company 
  • Explaining the rationale behind big changes 
  • Designing more predictable frontline work schedules
  • Addressing any physical discomfort their frontline workers experience

4. Less Is More: Time To Adopt A Central Frontline Work Hub

Beekeeper's frontline optimized platform- frontline trends
Beekeeper’s all-in-one platform is optimized to meet the unique needs of frontline teams

The frontline digital revolution is finally here. It’s exciting, but it’s also challenging to navigate. 

The global pandemic accelerated digital workplaces overnight. So, it’s unsurprising that there is an overwhelming amount of workplace technology at our fingertips. Businesses that adopt a complex patchwork of solutions unintentionally make frontline work harder for frontline employees. 

Think about it this way: you’re turning over a hotel room. However, new cleaning protocols were just introduced last night – and you noticed a leak in the bathroom. You now have to navigate three different workplace apps to:

  • Download the updated SOP
  • Submit a maintenance request
  • Mark the room as completed

In 2023, frontline workers need a seamless, centralized platform where they can get all their work done in one place. Mobile tools like Beekeeper ensure frontline employees can access everything they need no matter their location. It not only makes their work lives easier, but it helps them combat app fatigue.

5. Frontline Manager Empowerment Is a Priority

Frontline managers are critical to any business. They are often the bridge between the head office and frontline employees. They’re also key players in creating a positive work experience that keeps team members motivated and productive. 

In recent years, businesses have been focusing on frontline employees – and rightly so. But, 2023 is the year for frontline manager empowerment. 

Investing in communication and leadership training for frontline managers can pay off in spades by creating a more engaged, motivated, and happier frontline workforce.