Best Practices

Essential Workers

5 reasons they need two-way communications
Frontline workers often receive little to no communication directly from corporate, and have no reliable method to share a question, concern or idea with their top leadership. Outside of information they glean from their direct managers, those employees without computers are often working in a communications vacuum. It’s harder to reach offline employees, so many companies just don’t do much of it.

But if those folks are so essential, shouldn’t their communications channels be a higher priority?

Here are five reasons we think it’s critical to provide channels that allow them to hear directly from corporate, and be able to share their voice in return.

Workplace safety

Frontline employees are under immense pressure right now, working with the new demands of operating during a pandemic. Many of them are dealing with PPE for the first time or wearing additional PPE that they’re not accustomed to. They may be encountering customers who refuse to wear masks or coworkers who aren’t following safety protocol. Make sure they have a way to express concerns not just to their direct managers but to the executive level of the organization.


Those big banners that say “We appreciate our essential workers” are fine, but they only go so far. This is a time to let those frontline employees know that corporate sees their efforts and values their contributions. Whether it’s celebrating individual employees or entire stores, restaurants or hospitals, make sure these essential employees are getting plenty of love from the top. This could be formal recognition programs, or it could be giving shoutouts to frontline teams or individuals on social media.

Mental health

Work is more stressful for frontline employees right now, but so is everything else. They may be concerned about parents or other family members who are at higher risk. They may be feeling financial stress. They could be worried about kids who’ve started back to school in person — or are home alone trying to learn online. Managers can direct employees to resources, but corporate can and should communicate empathy and the desire to support employees’ mental health.

Brand experience

It’s always important for employees to understand the brand promise, but working under the stress of the pandemic makes that even more critical. When customers encounter frontline workers going above and beyond during stressful times, it creates memorable brand experiences. And when they find the opposite, they remember that too. This is a time for top leadership to inspire frontline employees and remind them that delivering on the brand promise is up to them.

Customer intelligence

Frontline employees see and hear things that corporate would have no way of knowing. They may know that customers love the new touch-free method for placing an order or that they hate the one-way aisles. They might suggest that an awning along the sidewalk would offer shade and rain protection for customers waiting to enter the store. Providing a channel for employees to share directly with top leadership has the possibility of yielding business-changing ideas.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]