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How to Motivate Frontline Employees

Frontline Trends Report

Motivation is the desire to do something. In the workplace, leaders need to find creative ways to elevate that desire to create a thriving, high-performing workforce, especially for their frontline employees. These workers have the highest turnover rate and lowest employee engagement of any workforce population. Finding innovative ways to motivate frontline employees is essential to the success of your business. 

Want more insight on what the future of frontline work will look like? Download our 2022 Trends Report.

By creating communication strategies that include them, frontline workers will be happier, and they will have that extra incentive to go above and beyond in their work.

Motivating Employees in the Age of COVID

During the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping up motivation and morale in the workplace was a serious challenge. Many were worried about the stability of the job market, dealing with distractions while working from home, and adjusting to new collaboration and communication systems.

A study found that 44% of employees under the age of 35 felt that a lack of motivation was hindering their performance at work since the start of the pandemic.

For frontline workers, job stress and burnout related to the pandemic has had some of the most severe negative effects. A study of 7,000 healthcare workers found that they had the largest decrease in motivation of any industry.

As we’re living in a post-COVID world, frontline industries are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic. While frontline workers have stepped up during the pandemic, it’s time for companies to step up in their efforts to motivate and support their employees.

The #1 way to motivate and support frontline employees right now is to provide a centralized, mobile-first platform that allows them to give and receive regular feedback. That way, managers can diagnose and fix lagging motivation and morale, while employees can communicate their struggles more frequently. 

Now let’s look at five more ways to motivate frontline employees in your company:

1. Motivate Frontline Employees Through Recognition

motivating employees through recognition with Beekeeper

To give you a real-world example, my partner, Will Silver, makes motivation a priority of his leadership strategy. As the Manager of Building Services and Grounds at the California Academy of Sciences, Will saw the custodial team needed a morale boost. The frontline crew keeps the 400,000-square-foot museum clean for over 500 employees and thousands of daily visitors.

To recognize the team’s hard work, Will started a Gratitude Gathering. Over a catered lunch, executives and managers told the custodial staff how their contributions positively impact specific departments and the museum’s mission.

This recognition resulted in higher employee engagement, a more productive team, and earned the custodians the highest scores in customer satisfaction in the museum’s history.

According to one survey, 72% of employees are more engaged when their work is recognized. Find ways to motivate employees by acknowledging the value they add to your organization.

2. Motivate Employees From Day One

Beekeeper's guide to motivating employees from day one

Most companies miss a great window of opportunity for energizing new hires. Onboarding should be more than just learning the ropes. Motivate employees from day one. Stress the importance of their role and the value it brings to the team. Let them know about their room for growth within the company.

50% of all hourly workers leave their job within the first four months. To overcome those dismal retention odds, make sure there are policies in place to increase retention. One idea is to provide a mentor for each new hire. This will solidify their attachment to the job and give them a support network during these important first months.

3. Connect, Engage, and Motivate Through Internal Communication

connecting employees through internal communication with Beekeeper

Mobile employees are hard to keep up with. Technology can keep them connected. A mobile-first, team app like Beekeeper facilitates open and transparent internal communication between all levels of a company.

Frontline employees are often overlooked in corporate communications. The simple act of including them is the first step to engagement. Use targeted messaging to motivate them. Some ideas include:

Introduce new hires and recognize employees for hard work.

Encourage feedback from the frontlines for bottom-up communication that will give you insight into your customer-facing team and new ideas that can highlight future leaders.

Offer opportunities for growth with video training over the team app.

With a team app like Beekeeper, you can track the progress of employee engagement through a customized analytics dashboard. If a motivational strategy isn’t making that needle jump, try a new approach.

4. Emphasize the Perks of Being a Frontline Employee

emphasizing perks with Beekeeper

With more than 24,000 coffee shops worldwide, Starbucks has a lot of mobile employees — 291,000, to be exact. They call their employees ‘partners’ and offer health insurance to both their part-time and full-time workers, as well as tuition assistance for those still in school. Needless to say, they have a reputable employer brand and have no trouble filling job openings.

While motivation and inspiration will be led by philosophy, values, and culture, think of perks you can offer to your employees to help their work-life balance and add extra encouragement, like travel allowances, cell phone coverage, or subsidizing a fitness membership.

5. Huddle Up!

Beekeeper's guide to huddling up to motivate employees

Watch any organized sporting event and you’ll see the coach gather the team around throughout the game. These huddles are motivational talks, a moment to reconnect as a team, refocus the energy, and win the game.

At 1 Hotels, the housekeeping team has morning rallies, the equivalent of a team huddle. They sync up the day’s missions to their Beekeeper team app so they’re aligned, working together towards the same goal. As they check off items from their ‘to-do’ list they can send each other messages of encouragement and strengthen their teamwork.

So huddle up to motivate frontline employees!