5 ways to invest in keeping them
There’s a new awareness of the importance of the frontline — especially when so many companies are finding it difficult to attract and retain enough employees to fill these roles in retail, manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and other industries. This isn’t an employee audience to take for granted, but one to nurture and celebrate, because they’re the ones who deliver on the brand promise — or not. One obvious solution is to increase pay and benefits, but here’s a handful of other strategies that can be meaningful to frontline employees:
Help them envision a career path
Engage employees in their future at your company. Frontline employees will be more invested in staying at a company that helps them see how they could build a long-term career from their current job. Train managers to be clear with each employee on what their next step might be and what skills, experience or certifications they would need for that promotion.
Make it easier for them to up-skill
Provide frontline employees the development they need to advance. Beyond training courses, you might offer cross-training on different equipment or involve them in the continuous improvement process. For retail roles, up-skilling might mean shadowing an employee with knowledge of a different product line, to help them move from furniture to electronics.
Ask employees what they need
Find ways to hear from them, whether that’s a survey, focus groups, an anonymous comment feature on the intranet or encouraging managers to ask them in person. Providing two-way communication conveys respect for the frontline, but it also can reveal hurdles that might be easily removed — such as with a discounted mass transit pass or ergonomic flooring.
Help managers be the glue
Managers play a tremendous role in employee retention — but they could also have the opposite effect. Train managers to provide coaching and mentorship for employees. Encourage them to have conversations about employees’ potential next steps. And to foster supportive team relationships and an environment of camaraderie, trust and positive recognition.
Build a frontline-friendly employer brand
The reasons that frontline employees chose your company and want to stay may be slightly different from those of your corporate folks. Be sure the employer brand speaks to what’s meaningful for everyone, with a promise that’s authentic but also slightly aspirational. We think of the employer brand as capturing how employees feel on their very best day at work.
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