When we think of employee engagement, many think of corporate culture– the 9-5 grind. But the fact is, most employees are deskless, with 80% of the entire global workforce being mobile. Most employees are frontline, dealing directly with the customer, product, or infrastructure. As a leader, you might not regularly interact with these mobile workers as they will be out there doing what they do best. The frontline duties are a critical part of the organization, and these workers are often directly responsible for the customer experience.
Many companies are continuing to struggle when it comes to employee engagement among mobile and deskless workers. Engaging these workers is critical. A happy worker is more productive and will go above and beyond for their company. There are an estimated 2.4 billion employees worldwide that make up the deskless workforce. At the height of the global pandemic, we saw just how critical the frontline workers were. From nurses, restaurant workers, grocery store workers to janitorial, cleaning staff, and manufacturing workers – these roles are essential and need to be a top priority for organizations.
APPrise mobile conducted a study and interviewed over 1,000 employees that make up this workforce. The results were astounding – 44% of employees were disengaged and did not feel their employers were making efforts to engage them actively. 84% of deskless workers felt management did not communicate sufficiently with them.
If we know how critical the deskless workforce is, why are they often forgotten regarding employee engagement initiatives?
Why Does It Matter?
Engaged workers are more productive, have better attendance, and produce better results for the organization they work for. The best way to address performance concerns is to find ways to engage the team actively. In today’s economic climate, companies need to set themselves apart and maintain a competitive edge; worker engagement is the key to get there. The global pandemic placed a spotlight on deskless, often frontline, essential workers. With cuts in nearly every industry, there are significantly reduced-sized teams. Companies must actively look for ways to engage their existing workers, retain talent, and maximize productivity for the ones that remain. All of this has to be done while maintaining worker happiness.
How to Engage the Deskless Workforce
The research shows companies are dropping the ball when it comes to employee engagement and frontline workers. For years, technology was lagging. Many Silicon Valley tech start-ups have focused on office workers, optimizing their working environment and style to promote and maximize work-from-home productivity. We are now seeing technology improve to tap into the deskless workforce. Millennials made up most of the workforce in 2020, and there is increased demand for new technology in their workplace. The good news is that technology has levelled up to meet the demand for tools that increase employee engagement in this workforce.
Real-time feedback tools allow organizations to gather feedback from deskless workers. Gathering feedback this way helps with engagement because workers need to feel heard and valued. If no one bothers to ask them how things are going, how can they feel heard? By collecting feedback in a way that meets them where they are, it sends a strong message that the organization cares and is willing to improve the worker experience.
Many organizations have implemented technology-enhanced continuous worker feedback systems to improve engagement for their deskless workforce. This technology goes far beyond sending out an e-mail survey and hoping workers respond. After all, we are not working with employees that are sitting at their computers. They are active, on the floor and on the move, which means the feedback collection mechanism needs to work with them and be convenient for them.
How Our Solution Works
Press’nXPress is a perfect example of this technology. Using impressive AI technology software, Press’nXPress allows business leaders to set up physical terminals at the workplace to collect daily feedback from workers in a plant or on the frontlines. When the smiley-face technology is installed beside the clock, workers will answer a question and send their feedback when they want to clock in or clock-out. This real-time feedback is essential for many reasons, but the fact it is captured in real-time means the results are more accurate and can effectively depict worker engagement. Innovative solutions like this will help businesses measure and understand their employees and make improvements that matter.
Deskless workers are critical, and it’s time to provide valuable tools that increase their work satisfaction. The frontline workers are forgotten too often when it comes to employee engagement. It’s a huge mistake that can lend itself to reduced revenue, poor customer experiences, and low retention rates. Companies that practice continuous employee feedback in the workplace report 14.9% less turnover. The cost savings in hiring and training alone make an investment in feedback technology worth it. When workers are able to express their feedback continuously in a convenient method, as we mentioned above, it increases motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction.
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