October 04, 2021

Top Trend for 2021: Bringing Digital to Front-Line Workers

Sam Caucci

Frontline worker

Did you know 80 percent of workers globally are deskless and work in occupations that do not require them to sit in one place?

Just think about industries like retail, grocery, healthcare, hospitality, foodservice, manufacturing and warehousing, distribution and many others. Yet despite these staggering numbers, this population is often labeled as the “Forgotten Workforce” as technological advancements have done very little in providing them with accessible online or mobile solutions to help support their improvement in productivity or engagement. 

While deskless workers have begun to have better access to mobile devices while on the job, they are still burdened by slow, outdated software systems. Unlike those who work in the corporate world, remote workers have been underserved with technology, especially during the pandemic. 65 percent of deskless employees surveyed have said that they have not been provided with any additional technology to help them complete their jobs. And, this is despite the fact that deskless workers in crucial industries like healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing have simultaneously seen their workloads increase heavily during the pandemic. 

Bringing the frontline workforce completely digital is also nothing new. For example, UPS is already on its fifth generation of utilizing handheld computers which has been helping them increase delivery efficiency since 2012. Now, in 2021, going digital is more important than ever. As a more recent example, Old Navy employees are now using seven different applications on their store-issued mobile devices to help them locate, stock, ship and order merchandise for their customers. This helped the company experience a boost in growth, as well as pushed them to outperform all of their sister chains. 

This goes to show that frontline workers need better technology across all industries to help them make better, more informed decisions in the heat of the moment. This will help empower them, and this will also act as a key driver of engagement and productivity. 

The main advantages of deskless technology for workers include better productivity, increased safety and compliance, and quicker thinking, which all translate into better customer experiences and employee relations. When companies invest in and employ mobile applications, they are able to pivot faster and easier, in case of crisis or times of major change, regardless of where they are located. They are also able to better measure and improve employee productivity and communicate throughout the organization in ways that enhance the employee experience and job satisfaction. 

This technology will also help improve a company’s ability to onboard, train and retain frontline workers, roles that have historically high turnover rates. There are also new platforms available that can help source, screen, hire and onboard employees at higher efficiency. By reducing training sessions to shorter, quick bursts and distributing them widely with the use of mobile platforms, workers are able to learn on the job when it is most convenient for them in smaller chunks without disrupting their workflow. 

While having a distributed workforce can be challenging, many of these challenges can be overcome with the use of technology specifically designed for deskless workforce. Advancements in these technologies can make it easier to stay connected at the push of a button. A survey found that more than 50 percent of global frontline workers in retail, hospitality and entertainment are already using messaging apps to stay up to date and in contact with their colleagues without the guidance of their human resources departments. Uses such as these might be putting organizations at risk for data security breaches, but this also speaks to the need that there is for tools like those in the workplace. 

In the same survey, it was also discovered that the use of a company-wide social network would help remote employees easily access interactive training and development content.

Now is the time for companies to make the strategic shift from traditional methods of communication and information sharing to a forward-facing digitally based one. The following are some important starting points that you can use to lead your organization in this new direction:

  • Watch out for ways you can change your hiring practices to use a variety of digital channels.
  • Be proactive by creating digital communications committees that are able to track tech trends and help create your own policies for the use of technology at the workplace.
  • Pair initiatives like employee engagement with technological solutions. 
  • Research and investigate how you are able to integrate mobile technology across all operations.
  • Get ahead of the competition by thinking about the next generation of jobs at your organization and the skills required.

As baby boomers continue to retire and subsequently exit the workforce, the next generations of employees will be taking their place and will be critical assets to your organization’s success in the future. This younger generation of workers are ready to utilize employee technology and are looking to work for employers who are also ready to go digital

At 1Huddle, we offer cloud-based employee gamification software that can easily adapt to any employee training or gamification strategy you want to implement at your workplace. You can customize your content for a seamless experience and all of your employees will be able to access their training anywhere, anytime and at the push of a button. You can use our gamification platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your gamification strategy next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your own workforce? Start your free trial of 1Huddle today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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