Frontline or essential workers are – literally – essential to our daily lives. Nearly 90% of all companies rely on frontline workers and 82% of workers in the U.S. are in frontline roles.
At Beekeeper, we’ve worked with many frontline organizations and see the massive disconnect between what frontline workers need and what upper management leaders think is important. This failure to fully understand the frontline experience and adjust policies accordingly has created long-standing issues like high turnover, burnout, and low levels of engagement.
But don’t take it from us. Here are 25 stats about the impact of frontline disconnect and just how expensive it can be for organizations.
1. 92% of frontline leaders cited the frontline experience as important to achieving their organization’s goals, but only 36% ranked it as one of their top three goals.
Despite how important the frontline experience is to an organization’s success, many leaders do not prioritize it in their goals. This often leads to what we at Beekeeper call the Great Frontline Disconnect between corporate HQ and frontline workers.
2. Almost 3/4 of frontline corporate leaders believe that their organization invests in new tech for frontline employees, yet only 39% of workers agree.
The Frontline Disconnect often shows up when leadership teams overestimate how much effort they’re putting into improving the frontline experience. Employers can work on bridging this gap between perception and reality by not only listening to their workers but adopting technology tools that allow for feedback and bottom-up communication.
3. While 65% of frontline corporate leaders believe their communication strategy is effective, only 35% of workers feel heard.
Leaders may also overestimate the effectiveness of their communication strategy, causing to workers to feel unheard. Organizations can improve communication by implementing mobile-first platforms aligned with the reality of frontline work.
4. Within the retail industry, 73% of decision-makers say that digital transformation initiatives haven’t reached the frontline.
The retail industry may be lagging behind in digital transformation efforts, potentially putting them at a disadvantage compared to competitors. Decision-makers can stay ahead of the curve by prioritizing digital transformation initiatives.
5. A survey of frontline leaders, deskless workers, and managers found that only 39% of frontline workers feel heard.
Feeling unheard is widespread among frontline workers and can have a negative effect on employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Frontline organizations are stepping up when it comes to offering better communication and support from leadership, but there is still work to be done.
6. Support from managers can improve a frontline worker’s likelihood to stay with an organization by 300%. Among workers who say they don’t feel supported by their manager consistently, only 20% are happy in their current role.
Managerial support is crucial to retaining frontline workers, but distributed teams and language barriers can make providing that support more challenging. By prioritizing better communication tools and strategies that connect managers and employees, frontline organizations can improve employee retention and satisfaction.
7. Frontline employees who don’t feel supported are 4X more likely to leave than those who do.
Lack of support from leadership and managers is one of the main reasons for high turnover rates among frontline workers. Organizations that acknowledge the challenges and stressors their workers face on a daily basis and actively create solutions that alleviate them are on their way to a more supported workforce.
8. Frontline workers are speaking up more than ever: 74% of frontline decision-makers say that employees are rejecting conditions that would have gone unchallenged a few years ago.
Frontline workers are becoming more vocal about their concerns and expectations. And that’s a good thing! Employers that use employee feedback to improve the frontline experience can reduce turnover and improve productivity.
9. 42% of frontline workers were considering quitting their job in 2022, up from 36% the previous year.
The number of frontline workers considering leaving their jobs is increasing, highlighting the need for employers to address retention issues. Some ways to improve employee retention include providing growth opportunities, supportive leadership, and open communication channels.
10. While adequate training is among the top three factors affecting employee happiness and success, 43% of frontline managers say that the lack of training affects their day-to-day work.
Lack of training can have a significant impact on frontline workers’ job satisfaction and performance, but in-person training can be time consuming and expensive, especially for a distributed workforce with high turnover. That’s why Beekeeper partnered with MobieTrain to create micro-learning opportunities for frontline workers.
11. 62% of frontline organizations are currently using 4-6 different frontline employee apps, leading to siloed and inefficient distribution of information.
The use of multiple apps can lead to confusion, overwhelm, and inefficiency. Frontline organizations can work to streamline communication by adopting a single, centralized platform.
12. 56% of frontline operations leaders said concern over career path/growth was the top reason employees leave.
The lack of career growth opportunities can cause employees to feel stagnant and unfulfilled in their roles. To help change that, frontline organizations can offer training and development programs, mentorship, and clearly defined career paths.
13. The cost of losing an employee is high and can range anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2x the employee’s salary.
Recruiting, onboarding, and training new hires all takes money, time, and effort. While employee turnover is inevitable, frontline organizations can avoid unnecessary costs by improving retention. That includes creating a positive work environment, offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, and providing opportunities for career growth.
14. The average cost of losing a frontline worker is $12,876 and can exceed $45,000 for skilled roles.
Retention is crucial for frontline organizations as it reduces the cost of hiring and training new employees, maintains consistency in the quality of service provided, and promotes a positive reputation in the industry. Retaining skilled and experienced employees helps in improving customer satisfaction, which, in turn, leads to higher revenue and profitability.
15. A study of more than 18,000 frontline workers found that the #1 reason for leaving an organization is the lack of opportunity to grow their careers.
Offering performance-based promotions and empowering employees to take on additional responsibilities can provide growth opportunities for frontline workers, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention. Access to training and development resources can also help employees develop new skills and advance their careers within the organization.
16. 55% of frontline workers in the U.S. aren’t satisfied with their professional network, with 69% reporting low mentorship.
Frontline organizations can provide more mentorship to their workers by pairing them with more experienced employees who can guide them and provide valuable feedback. Mentorship programs that pair experienced employees with newer hires during the onboarding process can set new employees up for success, while continued mentorship can improve retention.
17. 89% of frontline workers say they’re more likely to stay with their current employer if they feel like the company they work for listens to their feedback.
Listening to employee feedback is crucial to retaining frontline workers because it helps organizations identify and address issues that may be causing low morale or high turnover. It also shows employees that their opinions and perspectives are valued, which can boost their engagement and motivation to stay with the organization.
18. 41% of frontline workers say that management never seeks feedback, and of the employees that do provide feedback, 70% say that their voices aren’t being heard.
Providing opportunities for employees to share their thoughts and ideas with management can foster a culture of open communication and continuous improvement. By actively listening to and addressing employee feedback, frontline organizations can increase engagement and retention.
19. Lack of employee engagement costs U.S. employers $500 billion in lost productivity.
When employees are disengaged, they are more likely to miss work, make errors, and lack motivation to complete tasks efficiently, which can ultimately affect the bottom line of the organization. Disengaged employees are also more likely to leave their jobs, leading to increased turnover costs and decreased morale among remaining employees.
20. 75% of frontline employees don’t trust that their organization communicates transparently.
Establishing clear and open lines of communication between management and employees is one way to start building that trust. This can be done by providing regular updates on company policies, goals, and performance metrics, as well as encouraging feedback from employees.
21. 45% of more than 7,000 frontline employees surveyed in 2021 said that they were planning on leaving frontline work altogether.
Improving retention rates involves improving the frontline experience at all points during the employee life cycle, from onboarding to long-term employment. Offering opportunities for career advancement, skill development, and training can help to increase job satisfaction and loyalty.
22. While 55% of frontline workers feel connected to HQ, 51% believe that they are perceived as less important than their HQ colleagues.
Frontline organizations can make their workers feel valued and important by recognizing their contributions and achievements regularly. Giving employees autonomy and decision making power in their roles can also help them feel trusted and respected. Providing opportunities for development shows employees that the organization values their skills and is invested in their future success.
23. 1 out of 3 frontline workers feel like they don’t have the right technological tools to do their job effectively.
Giving frontline workers the right technological tools to do their job effectively starts with understanding their needs and workflows. For communication, many technological tools are designed for desk workers and don’t provide adequate support for frontline teams. That’s why, at Beekeeper, we designed our platform to enable mobile-first, real-time communication that’s aligned with the reality of frontline work.
24. 73% of corporate employees believe their company invests in new technology for frontline workers, while only 39% of frontline workers agree.
New tools and technology can help workers perform their tasks more accurately and quickly, reduce errors and delays, and streamline workflows. This can ultimately lead to increased customer satisfaction, better business outcomes, and a competitive advantage for frontline organizations.
25. 87% of frontline workers believe that their employer should do more to listen to the needs of their workforce.
Frontline organizations can listen more to the needs of their workforce by implementing regular feedback mechanisms, as well as fostering open communication and a culture of transparency to encourage employees to express their opinions and share their experiences.