Frontline workers overlooked in employee engagement strategies
New research from Opinion Matters, commissioned by SocialChorus, the digital employee experience platform, has shown a stark disparity between desk-based/wired and frontline workers when it comes to Digital Employee Experience (DEX) with a fifth of HR and Internal Communications (IC) respondents admitting to focusing on employees in the office, and just 12% prioritising deskless workers. Furthermore, over a third (38%) of CIOs cited the difference in how wired and non-wired workers are treated when it comes to engagement as a major challenge when it comes to digital transformation – with the biggest problem being in the Nordics (42%), followed by the UK (38%) then the US (34%).
The findings also highlighted the increasing shift towards long-term hybrid working – with research respondents stating that the newly remote workforce is the biggest change wrought by the disease (38%). Changes are being more keenly felt in the UK: 46% say their workforce is more remote now, against 36% in the US and a third in the Nordics. Yet nearly half of those in HR/IC roles (45%) criticised the lack of real understanding at their firm about how to genuinely improve employee engagement, including hybrid and frontline/deskless workers.
Since the pandemic broke out HR and ICs reported that:
- 46% have increased communications
- 44% now better tailor communications in response to employee feedback
- 38% have adapted types of content used to engage employees
- 25% have either maintained or reduced communication levels
Additionally, over a quarter (27%) of all respondents cited the need to reach all employees, regardless of their device of choice, as another major change. Employee expectations are also evolving too with HR/ICs reporting a clamour among their wider workforce to hear from senior leadership (30%) and understand more about the business (23%).
The research also revealed that HR/IC teams believe effective employee engagement across the organisation offers multiple strategic opportunities, that have the potential to boost the entire business:
- 51% suggested employee engagement is an opportunity to maintain or increase productivity levels
- 46% believe it can improve retention
- 39% felt it could ensure all workers are reached
- 36% thought it would help to mobilise all staff
- 34% predicted it would align the workforce to corporate goals – and each other.
“The pandemic reset the employment rules. The newly hybrid workforce has high expectations of how their employers should, and must, engage with them,” commented Nicole Alvino, founder and CSO at SocialChorus. “HR/ICs have become crucial to better business outcomes since the pandemic turned employee engagement and experience on its head. As businesses continue to develop and shape their DEX in a way that works for their business and employees, the focus must be to ensure that all workers, both desk-based and deskless, are fully communicated with, feel totally connected and, crucially, feel valued by their organisations.”