Employee Experience Takes Center Stage for Frontline Workers

79% of Frontline Workers Who Feel a Sense of Belonging at Work Have No Plans to Leave Their Employer Frontline Workers Cite Belonging, Technology, and Supportive Managers as Critical Retention Factors; Highlights Need for Organizations to Prioritize Employee Experiences

Frontline Workers

NRF 2023 (Booth #5957) — Workday, Inc. (NASDAQ: WDAY), a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, today published the results of its latest survey, which defines the critical areas and elements of the employee experience through the eyes of frontline workers.

Workday surveyed 3,000 global workers in frontline positions – across industries including construction, energy, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, and transportation – to understand the sentiment, needs, and priorities of today’s frontline workforce and to uncover how employers can support, empower, and retain these workers. This is especially critical, as a majority (56%) of senior executives are facing frontline employee turnover that is higher than the historical average.

Keys to Engaging and Retaining Today’s Frontline Workers
The findings revealed that employee experience plays a critical role in frontline worker retention – across all industries surveyed. Today’s frontline workers want access to the right tools and technology, to feel a sense of belonging, and to be supported by their managers. It also found that despite 20% of frontline workers planning to leave their jobs within the next three to six months, 79% of workers who feel a sense of belonging at work have no plans to leave their employer, underlining the need for employers to better engage with and retain this essential segment of the workforce.

The survey identified three key factors to delivering positive, connected, and supportive experiences for frontline workers:

  • Workplace Belonging is Critical for Frontline Worker Wellbeing and Retention.
    When frontline workers feel connected with their managers, it significantly impacts their sense of belonging, intent to stay, and sentiment towards the organization. Workers who feel a sense of belonging at work are nine times more likely to have a supportive manager, and 79% of them have no plans to leave their employer. Conversely, those workers who do not feel a sense of workplace belonging are four times more likely to say their mental health and wellbeing has declined in the last year, and just 33% intend to stay with their current employer.
  • The Role of Technology on Employer Perception.
    Having the right tools and technology play a critical part in how frontline workers experience and perceive work overall. According to the survey, workers who have flexible scheduling tools – i.e., tools that enable them to manage their schedules and adjust and add shifts – are 71% more likely to say their company is open and transparent. However, if frontline workers don’t have access to the right technologies to do their work, they are 20 times more likely to say their employer is not open and transparent.
  • Supportive People Leaders and Opportunities to Share.
    To deliver experiences that matter, people leaders need to understand the evolving preferences and needs of employees, and make sure their voices are heard. The findings show that 80% of workers who say their manager understands and regularly supports them indicate they are happy in their job with no plans to leave. Yet, for workers who say their manager doesn’t consistently support them, only 20% say they are happy in their current role. In fact, a supportive manager can improve a frontline worker’s likelihood of retention by 300%.

    Additionally, frontline workers want to be recognized for their work and have opportunities to share feedback. According to the survey, 79% of workers want to share feedback with their organization monthly or more frequently, yet only 55% of employers give them a chance to. This directly impacts retention, as only 15% of frontline workers who want – and receive – daily or weekly feedback have plans to quit their job.

The Path Forward for Employee Experiences for the New Front Line
To keep frontline workers engaged and empowered during changing workforce dynamics, organizations need a unified view of their workforce in order to understand and respond to their unique needs. Workday helps organizations support frontline workers and managers with Workday Scheduling and Labor Optimization, a worker-first scheduling solution that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to match labor demands with worker preferences and enables workers to manage their schedules, adjust and add shifts, and more on a mobile device.

As the survey revealed, frontline workers want a voice, and they want to be heard. Organizations are using Workday Peakon Employee Voice to give employees a confidential platform to share honest feedback about their experience, expectations, and health and wellbeing. With real time visibility into employee sentiment, Workday enables organizations to turn these insights into action and elevate the voice of their employees.

Comments on the News
“Frontline workers are doing the hard – yet essential – work that doesn’t always get noticed or appreciated like it should,” said Ben Eubanks, chief research officer, Lighthouse Research & Advisory. “This research uncovered how positively frontline workers respond to having the right tools and resources in their hands to better manage their work life. It’s my hope that employers take note and use these findings as an opportunity to build a stronger support system for their critical frontline staff.”

“The last few years have placed a significant amount of pressure and demand on frontline workers, yet organizations continue to face challenges in supporting and retaining this critical segment of the workforce,” said Mariana Santiago, GM workforce and payroll, Workday. “The survey uncovered that experience is at the very core of frontline worker engagement and retention. Organizations that listen to the evolving needs and preferences of frontline workers, empower them with the tools to do their jobs, and support them when it matters most will flip the script and dramatically increase their ability to recruit and retain this workforce.”

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