When a customer asks a retail associate a question, they might be surprised to see them pull out their phone. Only a few years ago, finding an answer may have required a call to a manager or flipping through an unwieldy policy binder. But forward-thinking businesses are now putting central information systems at frontline workers’ fingertips, transforming the daily experiences of employees and customers alike.
The frontline workforce is always evolving. And that transformation is happening faster than ever. Technological, economic, and cultural shifts had led to major advances in the field.
The way businesses respond to mobile workforce trends will go a long way toward determining their success. Understanding the latest trends, and knowing how to be a part of them, can separate the old school from those pushing new frontiers in the frontline workforce.
Which Mobile Workforce Trends Matter?
Smart business leaders know not to jump on a trend just because it’s trendy. The business obits are littered with companies who decided to “pivot to video” even though they sold spoons. Before getting on the bandwagon, it’s important to understand the impact trends can have and how they fit into your business.
Mobile workforce trends worth following are those that help you achieve business goals such as:
The most meaningful trends also go beyond conventional KPIs. They empower frontline employees, make tough jobs easier, and strengthen company cultures.
Top 6 Mobile Workforce Trends Moving the Frontline Forward
On the frontline, things change fast. These are some of the best mobile workforce trends that help businesses stay ahead of the curve:
1. Mobile Workforce Operating Systems
Whether employees are on different floors or in different countries, frontline workforces need to stay connected.
Our 2022 Frontline Trends Report showed that frontline workers have to deal with multiple systems to get basic communication done.
- 57% use Whatsapp or another SMS
- 41% use an employee portal
- 26% use Slack or Teams as a comms portal
- 80% use email
That’s not all. Frontline-majority businesses often use a separate system for scheduling, another for requesting time off, yet another for training, and so on.
Using so many different tools increases frustration and decreases productivity. Things slip through the cracks, and maintaining connections can feel like a burden, not a benefit.
A mobile workforce operating system changes that by bringing disparate tools into a single portal that can be accessed via employees’ own mobile devices.
The best platforms:
- Simplifies communication
- Supports collaboration
- Increase agility
- Boosts efficiency
- Reduces frustration
Ultimately, it makes the day-to-day better.
Operating systems for frontline businesses dramatically expand your capabilities. From more informed and engaged workers to managers who are freed up to focus on the big picture, integrating the right technology can make a big difference.
2. Increased Focus on Cybersecurity
Increased connectivity means increased vulnerability. Businesses must protect themselves and their employees by choosing mobile technologies with robust cybersecurity features.
- Full encryption
- Access control
- Cybersecurity training
If employees use their own devices, you also need protocols that make sure they aren’t releasing company information into the electronic wilds or opening the door to attacks.
3. Health and Safety Compliance
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everyone started talking about remote workers spending their days at home. But frontline workers didn’t have the option of retreating from the public, which meant businesses had to quickly institute health and safety protocols.
A mobile operating system is invaluable for implementing such protocols.
Built Brands, for example, tackled health and safety compliance using a multipronged approach. By partnering with Beekeeper, Built Brands was able to:
- Track employee vaccination status and stay OSHA compliant
- Create a dedicated stream for COVID-19 information
- Make COVID-19 information accessible to everyone through inline translation
Of course, the benefits of tech-driven health and safety protocols go far beyond COVID. With a frontline operating system, new regulations can be disseminated instantly, without having to round up everyone from every shift, and adoption rates can be measured.
4. Better Referral Programs
Employee referral programs are great for businesses. Workers who are referred by existing employees are faster to hire, stay longer, and usually are a better fit for the company culture. In short, they save money and do better work. But referrals aren’t always easy to come by.
Most employees don’t want to deal with HR. They might not know how the process works or who to talk to. They might not have the time or the language to make referrals. When this happens, businesses miss out on potential hires.
That’s why smart businesses are making employee referrals easy. Creating a centralized hub for referrals within your frontline operating system simplifies the process, and a solid rewards program can connect businesses to networks they would never have accessed otherwise.
5. Valuing Employee Feedback
A recent article in Forbes contained a pretty stunning stat: 21% of employees “have never reported an issue at work. Why not? Because they don’t believe it matters. They don’t think anything will be done. They don’t feel that their voices will be heard. That’s a problem.
Employees want to be heard. Everyone wants some say in their lives. Without it, they’re just going through the motions. Especially now, with a labor shortage in virtually every industry, employees want to be part of the decision-making process.
One of the most important mobile workforce trends is finding innovative ways to listen to employees. A frontline operating system makes it easy to send out surveys and request feedback, anonymous or not. If everyone has access, everyone has a voice.
The dusty suggestion box outside the manager’s office is a thing of the past. Fostering communication and generating honest feedback is how businesses learn, engage, and improve.
6. Shift Scheduling With People In Mind
Life is complicated, and it seems like it has only become more complex in the last few years. Frontline employees are trying to balance childcare, closed schools, activities, side gigs, and so much more. A transparent, accessible scheduling system makes it a little easier.
A shift scheduling app built into a frontline operating system can help frontline employees plan their lives and give them the flexibility they need.
Burnout is real. Life can get very stressful. Reducing that stress and making shift scheduling more human is one of the best ways to keep your employees in a tight labor market.
Technology to Make Work More Human
There’s no trick to treating employees like people. There’s just…doing it. It’s recognizing that they have stresses and dreams, goals inside work and life outside of it. While it might seem like a paradox, technology can make work more human.
Beekeeper’s frontline operating system is technology designed with people in mind. It serves as a central, secure hub for all things related to successful frontline work: communication, scheduling, training, and more. It empowers employees and gives businesses the ability to maximize the potential of their entire workforce to meet today’s challenges.
Most mobile workforce trends are centered around technology but based on one simple truth: people do better work when they’re given the tools and support they need. Beekeeper gives everyone the tools they need to thrive, and lets you support your employees to unlock their full potential.
Download our Frontline Future of Work eBook to see how Beekeeper helps you stay ahead of the curve, or request a demo to get started today.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
A mobile workforce is a group of staff that is not linked by a central physical location.