At the height of the pandemic, frontline workers were described as “heroes” and “rock stars,” but that was short-lived. As restrictions have eased and the frenzy of the early lockdowns has died down, the admiration and public praise for frontline workers has faded away.
Yoobic, the digital workplace leader, has released a global report, “2022 State of the Frontline Employee Experience” survey, offering insights into the challenges facing retail and hospitality workers and their employers in an era of COVID-19, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and economic uncertainty.
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Surveying 1,400 frontline workers in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and France (81 percent in retail), the report reveals that despite the challenges they face, frontline workers aren’t rushing to join the Great Resignation. In fact, nearly two-thirds of frontline workers remain fiercely loyal to their employers, and plan to remain in their current posts for at least another four years – even as they feel increasingly burdened by the strains of their jobs, according to the report.
According to the study, 77 percent of workers say their employers have taken steps to improve their experience, the most common initiative being to increase pay. “While necessary, this is simply a short-term fix. It’s not possible to continue increasing wages and hiring efforts indefinitely, so other steps need to be taken to get to the root of the problem,” says the survey.
Some 72 percent of those interviewed feel worn out at the end of their shifts to the point that they do not enjoy their time away from work at least once a week. Some 60 percent of workers describe their job as understaffed, and 43 percent of frontline workers say that their workload has become even worse since the onset of the pandemic.
To retain frontline employees, the survey reveals that retail and hospitality businesses need to find creative ways to provide meaningful engagement and growth opportunities.
According to the findings, today’s frontline workers crave fulfilling careers with employers that give them efficient workload management, opportunities for growth, recognition, a sense of shared mission, and support and empathy.
For example, 80 percent of workers say they want managers to support them with upgraded processes to ensure teams aren’t overburdened. More than half of employees feel their organizations are investing in them, but six out of 10 want even greater opportunities to keep learning and to grow into bigger roles. Six out of 10 employees say they’re proud of the work they do, and more than four-fifths want their employers to clearly acknowledge their contributions and the value they bring. More than two-thirds of frontline employees feel close to their coworkers, but they want their employers to do more to create connected workplaces and share headquarters’ leadership vision with frontline teams.
In addition, seven out of 10 employees feel they’ve been kept physically safe during the pandemic, but many would also like their employers to do more to support their mental health and overall well-being.
Half of workers surveyed say they would welcome new tools, such as digital messaging apps or task-management tools, to streamline workflows and boost collaborations. Almost four-fifths say they want more opportunities to connect with coworkers, and more than two-thirds want employers to give them a better understanding of their role in the broader organization.
“Over the past year, frontline teams have rightfully gained widespread recognition for the vital work they do,” said Fabrice Haiat, chief executive officer and cofounder of Yoobic. “This survey shows that despite the very real challenges they face, frontline teams remain loyal to their employers and eager to make even greater contributions. With digital workplace solutions to drive collaboration, engagement and learning, employers can reward their frontline teams, boost employee retention and productivity, and help turn hospitality and retail work into lifelong careers of which frontline workers can feel truly proud.”
Yoobic is an all-in-one digital workplace for frontline teams and works with over 300 companies around the world including Boots, Lancôme, Lacoste, Peloton, Puma, Vans, and Sanofi.
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