The Shift - September 14th 2023

Missed The Shift in your inbox last week? Recap on what was covered in Blink’s fortnightly update for frontline leaders on September 14th, 2023 — and don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss another edition.

The trust gap between leaders and the frontline

High-trust organizations are more successful than their less-trusting competitors.

But research from Edelman reveals that the trust gap between executives and employees — and between office-based and deskless staff — is wider than many would have guessed.

The research contains a wealth of insights for frontline leaders, including that:

  • Deskless workers are the least trusting, least engaged, and least protected group when it comes to employee burnout
  • Personal communications from a manager are the most trusted source of information for deskless workers (above all-company emails and meetings)
  • Trust flows both ways — deskless workers are more trusting of CEOs, managers, and HR when leaders show that they put their trust in them

Narrowing the trust gap can help you build a happier, more productive, and more engaged frontline workforce. So how do you make that happen?

We know that deskless workers often feel cut off from a company’s decision-making process. They feel that leaders don’t understand their day-to-day experience. And 84% of deskless workers feel they don’t get enough direct communication from their management.

A great employee experience all comes down to better connection and communication.

Better frontline communication is key to building a more trusting (and successful) workplace. With regular two-way communication, employee surveys, and clear company comms on issues like values, culture, and wellbeing, deskless workers are connected to the business and each other.

Your frontline gets to take part in the company conversation. And — as an organization — it’s easier to create trust and alignment on the issues that matter.

Want to learn more about creating digital engagement in deskless organizations? Then register for Blink’s next Ask Me Anything webinar on Tuesday, September 26th at 9am (PT), 12pm (ET), and 5pm (BST).

Send in your questions now for our panel of Internal Communications experts to answer.

Introducing the Great Gloom

BambooHR has identified a new employment trend: the Great Gloom. And it’s as downbeat as it sounds.

Employee happiness, based on Net Promoter Scores, has declined steadily since 2020. Overall satisfaction scores fell a huge 11% from June 2022 to June 2023, with the unhappiest employees to be found in healthcare, education, and the food and beverage industries. Only one industry has maintained relatively high and steady employee happiness throughout 2023, and that’s the construction sector.

HR consultants say employers need to rethink what employee engagement means in 2023, in response to this data. Are traditional initiatives really moving the dial on engagement? Or do we need engagement commitments that raise the bar, recognizing employee values, views, and work-life needs?

Forward-thinking companies are already combatting the Great Gloom by embracing the latter.

They recognize the power of a comprehensive employee experience strategy. They understand that employees are the driving force of an organization — and their experience can't be overlooked if a business wants to avoid the risks associated with a disengaged employee base.

Promotion... attrition?

Employers are often told that providing career progression opportunities for staff is key to their engagement and retention. McKinsey also found that over 70% of frontline employees want career growth from their employers — even if far fewer get the opportunity to progress.

But after analyzing the job histories of more than 1.2 million U.S. workers between 2019 and 2022, the ADP Research Institute has unearthed some data that might leave leaders scratching their heads:

  • 29% of employees quit their jobs within a month of getting their first promotion
  • … and ADP estimates that just 18% would have left their job if they hadn’t been promoted
  • Promotion more than doubles an employee's chance of leaving the company if that employee is working a role that requires a high school diploma or less

So how can frontline leaders make sense of these findings?

Some employment experts suggest that promotions simply come too late in most cases; that by the time a worker gets promoted, they’ve already started looking elsewhere. ADP also raises the issue that newly promoted employees don’t always have the support, resources, or salary they need and expect in their new role.

The takeaway?

Promotion isn't enough in itself to get frontline staff to stay. Managers — and particularly frontline managers faced with the challenges of leading a deskless team — need the right training, resources, and communication tools to do their jobs well.

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