See inside the 2021 frontline work experience

Post-pandemic career doubt is hitting frontline organisations hard, but few people are talking about the future of frontline work. In this year’s State of the Frontline Work Experience report, we partnered with Arlington Research to ask frontline employees a critical question: how are you doing?

Their answers shed new light on the frontline experience and help us understand why nearly half of workers in grocery, retail, finance and sales are planning to resign. We pinpoint their top frustrations and uncover which levers you can pull to attract and retain the best talent—now and into the future.

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How’s the frontline doing right now?

45%

of frontline employees are planning to leave their current jobs

#1

reason frontline employees gave for resigning is burnout

67.3%

of frontline employees are satisfied with pandemic support compared to 85.8% of office workers

7 key insights from the research

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Frontline workers are burned out

People are leaving because they’re overworked and burned out, not just because they’re looking for better pay.

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Compensation isn’t everything

Employees definitely want better compensation, but employers also need to improve scheduling, build relationships and show their appreciation to get them to stay.

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Equity is a problem

The frontline hasn’t had the same level of pandemic support as those who work in offices or from home.

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Managers are key

Managers can promote frontline satisfaction by taking better care of employees’ time and prioritizing long-term wellness over short-term productivity.

Masked retail employee cleaning
First bump between colleagues at work.
Employee spraying disinfectant on customers hands
personalized coaching during upskilling and reskilling
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Skill development is lacking

Skill development prepares your workforce for future disruption—and frontline workers want to go beyond the basics.

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They’re tired, but confident

Despite all of the challenges they’ve faced, frontline workers remain confident in their ability to do a good job.

Masked coffee shop employee using tablet
Delivery man picking up package wearing mask
Business owner hanging sign at restaurant

How to improve the frontline work experience

Grocery employee in produce section with tablet

Extinguish burnout

Focus on getting the best out of people instead of the most.

Foster equity

Create an inclusive environment where everyone has an opportunity to be their best.

Communicate consistently

Make sure every employee gets the information they need to make the right decisions.

Empower managers

Help your managers build an agile, inclusive and productive frontline workplace.

Prioritize skill development

Build the talent pipeline you need to overcome the disruptions yet to come.

Get advice on five levers you can pull to improve
frontline productivity, resilience and happiness.