To overcome business disruption, take a front-line-first approach

You cannot run your business without your front-line workforce.

Everyone already knows this, right? If your employees don’t do their jobs well, your organization can’t succeed. This is true at all levels, from the C-suite to the store floor. While the big decisions may be made in the corporate office, your strategy comes to life on the front line where employees interact directly with your customers and products every day.

Out of balance

Great performance is needed at all levels. However, the way many companies invest in their people is far from equal. There are the obvious compensation disparities. Last year, the CEO-to-typical worker compensation ratio was 278-to-1, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This imbalance extends to professional development. Front-line employees receive minimal training. According to the 2019 “State of Frontline Workplace Training in Retail” report from Ipsos and Axonify, front-line training is limited to a few times per year and usually focused on onboarding and compliance. Despite a stated desire to learn and improve their performance, these employees receive little ongoing development opportunity. It’s no wonder that turnover in front-line-heavy industries remained high even in a tight labor market. For example, retail and wholesale turnover was 60.5 percent in 2018, according to Mercer. Lack of career development was the No. 1 reason why people left their jobs in 2018, according to Work Institute.

The COVID-19 pandemic altered the recognition of the front-line workforce overnight. They didn’t just get noticed. Grocery clerks, retail employees, contact center agents and health care workers were declared heroes. Some employers temporarily increased front-line pay to recognize and motivate workers. Sick leave, which was previously considered an unrealistic luxury, became a necessity. Front-line employees emerged as the faces of brand campaigns. They were a familiar way to let customers know businesses were open and ready to provide safe, efficient service.

Front-line employees became heroes in March 2020. But will they still be heroes in March 2021?

Read the full article from Chief Learning Officer


Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.