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Leading from the Frontlines: How to Create a Digital Workplace That’s Still Human

Frontline. noun “The most advanced, responsible, or visible position in a field or activity.”

That definition is an accurate description of your company’s most valuable asset: frontline employees. They’re on the ground, leading the charge, and have the most interaction with your customers. But this workforce is often left unattended and, as a result, is left feeling disconnected from the company. Only 13% of them are engaged at work. As a result, they’re more likely to leave for another company with a more inclusive approach and a digital workplace.

It’s important to understand why frontline employees need to be included in your business strategies. They are the backbone of many industries, making up 80% of the world’s workforce. They often have external-facing jobs that directly impact customer experience. Their engagement and productivity are directly linked to your bottom line. And as a leader, it’s important to create an inclusive environment for every employee.

According to Sarah Deane, Founder of EffectUX, leadership for frontline employees is “inspiring them and empowering them to be the best they can.” There are two primary leadership strategies that prioritize, strengthen, and connect with your non-desk workers.

  • A mobile-first digital workplace that prioritizes distributed workforces
  • Regular face-to-face contact with your frontline employees

Lead to Align with a Digital Workplace

The rise of the digital workplace is happening quickly. But most companies don’t think to include their distributed workforce in that transformation. In fact, only 1% of digital workplace spending includes them. With a mobile-first solution, like Beekeeper’s team app, this population is no longer disenfranchised. It’s an employee-centric strategy to reach your non-desk workforce, and share information equally to all employees.

Connecting with your frontline employees over a team app they can use on their own mobile devices reflects the way people communicate today, making it easier to get employee buy-in.

Find out how Kanika Verma, Assistant HR Director at the renowned Watergate Hotel, used Beekeeper to update their communications channels and become a more modern, digital workforce.

Lead from the Frontlines to Build Trust

Don’t lead from a distance. Get out from behind your desk and spend time with your frontline employees. A digital workplace is a great start to boosting employee engagement. Complement this initiative with in-person time on their turf.

At 1 Hotel Central Park and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, managers have morning meetings with their teams to align employees both in person and on their Beekeeper team app. This face time builds connections between managers, employees, and colleagues, which encourages collaboration and cooperation among staff.

Find out why hotel employees love Beekeeper

It’s essential to see your company from every angle. Get to know employees, learn what they do, and ask them what they need to perform their jobs better. Workforce feedback will help you implement strategies to improve operations. And your presence will build their connection, and inspire your frontline employees to go above and beyond for the company.

The Ritz Carlton is one of the world’s most prominent hotel brands, with 97 locations and 40,000 employees across 30 countries. They have a Leadership Center dedicated to internal strategies and success that enables them to deliver the top-rated customer service they’re known for.

“There is a difference between Management and Leadership: ‘Things’ (budgets, invoices, scheduling, reports) are managed behind a desk in an office. People are led,” says Jeff Hargett, Senior Corporate Director, Culture Transformation in a company blog post. “Therefore, in order for leaders to best connect with their staff, they need to be in the mix with their team.”

An in-person leadership approach drives employee engagement by cultivating:

  • Purpose: Align employees’ with the broader mission.
  • Culture of Belonging: Your workforce feels valued. They realize their role is important to that mission and the company.
  • Connection: Shake hands with your team and get to know who they are. Listen to their needs and share your vision. You’ll create a connection that will deliver results like improved productivity, deeper engagement, and higher retention rates.

To be an effective leader, learn to merge these two strategies. Implement a digital workplace, but supplement it with in-person team building. Leading from the frontlines means making investing in your workforce. Your regular presence will inspire your employees to contribute on the team app, and further the success of your business.

Are you ready to build a digital workplace for your team? Request a free demo of Beekeeper today!