There’s a question that all frontline businesses should ask themselves about how they train new hires: Are we trying to get them started, or are we trying to get them ready to work?
There’s a difference.
Getting started means giving new employees the bare minimum resources to get put out on the floor or behind the counter. But getting ready to work? That means providing the tools, the training, and the time needed to handle whatever challenges may come.
Frontline training is unique because frontline employees don’t have the luxury of trial and error. Quality control and customer satisfaction depend on their job performance. Training needs to be hands-on, thorough, yet fast, without sacrificing quality. Creating a frontline employee training program that starts new hires off on the right foot can help prepare your business for success.
Why Frontline Employee Training Is Different
Training office workers tends to involve a lot of paperwork, emails, and meetings. But these methods don’t translate to frontline workers.
First, very few frontline workers have a company email account.
As many as 83% of frontline workers don’t have a corporate email address, and nearly 45% have no access to the company intranet.
That lack of connection can make it more difficult to ensure new hires have access to training materials and a simple way to communicate with their team.
Additionally, frontline workers often don’t have time to meet many different team members before starting work. Their training tends to be fast-paced, and they are often subject to a “sink or swim” training method and thrown into the job quickly.
That approach makes sense. Staffing shortages have to be filled ASAP. Managers are stretched thin. And shift work makes it hard to get everyone together. Unfortunately, this often means frontline workers are thrown into situations they aren’t prepared to handle. That’s costly, inefficient, and can damage employee confidence.
Good training empowers employees and ensures they have the skills to be successful. It also boosts your bottom line. In retail, for example, a positive, continuous training program can increase sales by 50%.
More than 2.7 billion of the world’s workforce are frontline workers. It’s time to give them the training they deserve.
How to Transform Frontline Employee Training
Effective frontline employee training rests on one simple principle: understanding. Knowing what new hires need and tailoring a training program to meet those needs is the best way to succeed.
Make Training Accessible Anywhere, Anytime
Frontline workers have to absorb a lot of information quickly, and they largely have to do so in real time while on the job. Give them the ability to learn at a time and place that’s more convenient.
Savvy frontline-majority businesses are turning to mobile-friendly frontline operating systems to give new hires (and all employees) access to training materials anytime, anywhere. These platforms replace unwieldy training binders and remove the need for email, intranet access, or even a laptop. Instead, employees can get the information they need right on their smartphone or tablet — whether they’re behind the counter, on the factory floor, or on the road.
Automate, Automate, Automate
A platform that automatically gives new employees the information they need, assigns them tasks to complete, and notifies their managers when they’re finished makes onboarding and training more efficient than ever before.
The benefits of automating onboarding and training include:
- Reduces time to productivity
- Reduce new hire turnover
- Improves training completion rate
Ultimately, automation helps new hires ramp up faster and more effectively.
Use Multimedia Tools
Seeing how trained, skilled, and experienced workers use their tools, interact with customers, and respond to stressful situations is one of the best ways to learn. That’s why videos, slideshows, and other multimedia tools that walk workers through the day-to-day provide powerful training opportunities.
When these tools are integrated within the digital workplace, they are not only a vital part of the training experience, they can also be an ongoing resource that employees can refer back to as needed.
Support Employee Engagement Initiatives
Only 31% of employees are engaged in their workplaces, and that can take a big toll on business. Unengaged workers are less productive, have higher rates of absenteeism, and have higher turnover rates. The good news is that employee engagement can start from day 1, and it can be built into the frontline employee training process.
Training new hires on how to use workplace technology to access resources and connect with other employees lays the foundation for ongoing engagement.
The best frontline-focused solutions allow businesses to:
- Improve safety
- Share tips and advice
- Instantly translate text into your employees’ preferred language
- Facilitate internal communication
- Share training materials
- Celebrate achievements
- Foster a sense of community
Make sure that frontline employees know how to participate in and benefit from their digital workplace to set them up for success.
Being a frontline manager isn’t easy. Managers have to juggle demands from up-top with the needs of workers on the ground. They have to talk about new policies while learning the policies themselves. They have to train, schedule, coach, mentor, console, mediate, and fill in when needed. That explains why nearly 2/3rds of managers are disengaged.
By giving managers better ways to facilitate scheduling, automate processes, and answer questions, they can focus on helping employees and planning for long term success. When managers have tools that make their lives easier, they can be more present for new hires and make more meaningful contributions to frontline employee training.
Beekeeper Makes Frontline Employee Training Better
It’s impossible to train frontline workers the same way you would train office employees. What works is planning via empathy and implementing via technology. Beekeeper is that technology.
Beekeeper helps frontline businesses create innovative, efficient, and positive onboarding and training processes. We ensure frontline employees have the information they need when they need it and take the burden off of management so that they can more effectively guide new hires. With Beekeeper, new hires aren’t just starting to work. They are starting to succeed.
Want to learn more about how Beekeeper can transform frontline employee training? Request a demo today.