How to perform a frontline employee tech stack audit
Your frontline tech is key to your business success, but it’s often overly complicated, or worse, overlooked. Simplifying your tech stack boosts revenue, increases customer satisfaction, improves employee retention and fosters connection through better communication, to name just a few benefits.
A tech stack audit is the best way to streamline and optimize all the tools your company uses without having to build—and pay for—a brand-new tech stack. While it may feel daunting, the key is understanding how your tech enables your frontline workers and satisfies their needs. When you provide your people with the right tech, you’re making a long-term investment in their success that translates to a financial commitment to your business and operational success. Plus, when your frontline is enabled, your sales and profitability improve.
It’s important to understand not only the essential components of frontline tech stacks but the benefits of a tech audit and, of course, how to get started.
What is a frontline employee technology stack?
A frontline employee tech stack is a set of software, specific tools, applications and platforms (like an LMS) used by your frontline employees to facilitate business operations. A frontline tech stack is made up of numerous apps and technology, from project management software to sales enablement tools.
In comparison, a customer tech stack is a collection of software and tools (like a self-scan station) that are public-facing and used by customers to improve their experience.
While frontline tech stacks serve frontline employees, they’re integral to the customer experience because of how they impact day-to-day operations and your team’s ability to effectively serve your customers. This means they impact customer satisfaction and ultimately, your business success.
What is a frontline tech stack audit?
An audit evaluates the effectiveness of the technology your company uses regularly. It analyzes how your technology stack contributes to each business process and identifies gaps, areas of improvement and any redundancies.
What does a frontline employee technology stack include?
Some of the essential components in frontline technology stacks may include:
- LMS or learning management system – Delivers personalized training to your workers’ existing tech and can include gamification and personalized content.
- Intranet site – A centralized hub for frontline workers and managers to communicate, receive business updates, collaborate and complete admin tasks.
- Communication platforms – Allows equitable communication and can include a messaging app and a newsfeed where employees can post and share information.
- Survey or feedback collection platform – Enables workers to vote in polls and submit (anonymous) feedback, providing meaningful insights and crucial data for improvement.
- Scheduling/labor management – Provides flexibility and ease for shift management and gives frontline workers transparency into their daily work through reporting.
- Payroll and other HR functions – Supports payroll and accounting functions, training and onboarding, data tracking, employee documentation—and is ideally customizable.
- Rewards or recognition platform – Allows workers to recognize, praise and celebrate their coworkers, like a recent milestone or overcoming a challenge.
- Sales enablement – Drives marketing and sales alignment and provides your sales team with tools like lead scoring and customer tracking, strategic content and data.
- Engagement platform – Helps keep employees up-to-date with onboarding, training and certification, business news and reporting.
- Task management – Facilitates prioritization and collaboration with managers and simplifies processes through project management software to help them overcome challenges and thrive in the workplace.
Why frontline organizations need to perform a tech stack audit
There are several benefits to performing a tech stack audit and streamlining your tech stack:
- Provides information on processes and engagement through tracking. Overloaded tech stacks can have redundant and conflicting data and information. An optimized tech stack provides consolidated insight and real-time data into processes, shared information and communication, customer-facing content and more.
- Standardizes training, information, communication channels, systems and processes. Rather than deal with separate systems and confusing information, a streamlined tech stack standardizes business processes, providing stability and efficiency for your frontline employees.
- Optimizes frontline employee workflow. An audited tech stack enables your team to move quickly as your business evolves. It reduces strain on teams and makes it easy to get work done because your frontline has the right tools to automate tasks and simplify workflows.
- Reduces manager burnout. Consolidating your tech stack helps to make a work-life balance achievable through standardization and meaningful support. It reduces administrative strain—which has been shown to exacerbate manager burnout—and facilitates meaningful two-way communication between leaders and employees. It also frees up managers so they have the energy to give one-on-one, empathetic support to their team and guide them through various challenges, which in turn reduces employee burnout.
- Builds community and improves frontline employee engagement and team performance. An optimized tech stack that includes tools like a communication platform and a rewards and recognition system not only allows information to be equitably shared, it provides an accessible way for employees to celebrate one another. This type of recognition can create community, connection and engage your employees, which is good for business. When employees feel appreciated, valued and seen, it measurably improves performance, to the tune of a 56% increase, according to research.
- Boosts frontline employee efficiency and job satisfaction. An audit leaves you with all the apps, software and tools that positively impact employee efficiency and none that don’t. Employees are no longer overwhelmed because they know exactly which tech to use to simplify workflows and overcome challenges. It also provides professional fulfillment through upskilling and training opportunities.
- Improves customer experience and customer satisfaction. Frontline workers are one of the primary drivers behind happy, satisfied customers who ultimately decide to invest in your business again and again. When your frontline employees feel supported and enabled to do their best work with the right technology, your customers and business directly benefit.
- Reduces costs and unnecessary spend. Redundant and underused tech drains your time, money and resources. An optimized tech stack reduces unnecessary costs by improving employee efficiency—after all, time is money—and maximizing your resources. It reduces turnover and creates better and faster processes and systems, benefiting your overall business.
- Drives sales, revenue and improves ROI. The Deskless Report uncovered that 57% of frontline corporate leaders see technology as a key tool in addressing low sales and driving revenue. And considering the right tech reduces costs while improving effectiveness, it impacts your ROI. A streamlined tech stack also supports and empowers your workers, which shows them that the business is invested in their success. And if they feel like their development is a priority, they’re more likely to deliver great work and perform well, which drives revenue and sales.
- Increases employee retention. Tech that meets the needs of frontline employees recognizes their value and incorporates them directly into business operations and development instead of implementing initiatives that don’t address their concerns. It provides work-life balance, meaningful communication, training and equity. This reduces unnecessary turnover, loss of organizational knowledge and spending.
How to audit your technology stack
Ready to audit your frontline tech stack? Here are the key steps to get started:
- Gather an audit team
Include people from all levels of business, especially your frontline workers, who use your existing tech stack daily. They can provide important insight into what’s working, what’s not and offer an invaluable perspective on how it impacts their ability to achieve business goals and support customers.
- Identify team goals and metrics to evaluate success
When you’re determining your goals and success metrics, be as specific as possible and use a spreadsheet or worksheet to stay organized. Focus on how each piece of tech contributes to business processes and goals and enables your workers. When creating your goals, ask your audit team questions like:
- How is your tech helping frontline employees support customers?
- How is your tech driving more revenue and accomplishing business goals?
- How is your tech supporting marketing and sales objectives?
- Gather information and insights
Have each of your team leads list all the tools and tech their groups use to get valuable insights and information. Gather data from multiple sources to capture as many uses as possible and create a clear picture of what’s being used where, by whom, for what—espeically if you have redundant or multiple tech that are being used for the same purpose.
Conducting anonymous surveys is also worth considering as a way to get the most effective, honest answers. You can include questions like:
- How effective and useful is this tech?
- What challenges and roadblocks does this tech create?
- What improvements would you like to see in the tech your team uses?
- Analyze data and make cuts
When each lead has gathered information and anecdotal insights from their team, regroup and examine the data against your audit goals. As an audit team, you can begin making recommendations about what tech you think should stay or go and what can be improved upon or, in some cases, replaced. From there, bring a final tech list to company stakeholders for their input and approval on next steps.
After your initial tech audit, make sure to review your tech stack and iterate regularly. As your business evolves, so will your technology. Evaluating your tech stack on an ongoing basis ensures that it’s always supporting your frontline employees and in turn, your business goals and growth.