The Shift - March 15, 2024

The Shift - March 15, 2024

Hello and welcome to The Shift, Blink’s bi-monthly newsletter for frontline leaders. Coming up in this issue:

  • Gratitude on the rise: frontline workers getting more appreciation from their employers
  • How to be a more empathetic leader (plus tips for creating open, two-way exchanges)
  • Prioritizing L&D to reduce frontline churn in 2024

Frontline appreciation on the rise

New data has revealed that frontline workers are getting more appreciation from their employers. In fact, appreciation has risen by 42% since 2021 and the start of the Great Resignation.

Faced with retention challenges, it seems frontline organizations have harnessed the power of praise to motivate and engage their staff.

The data covers 265 frontline companies in the UK. It shows that messages of thanks and appreciation from employers to their frontline team members are up from 377,000 in 2021 to 533,000 in 2023.

Here’s what Blink CEO, Sean Nolan, had to say on the topic: 

“It seems like such an obvious thing, but actively recognizing the work of your employees and saying ‘thank you’ on a regular basis can have a transformative effect on company culture.

“It’s hugely encouraging to see that employee appreciation is clearly on the rise within many UK organizations, particularly those with a large frontline workforce. Just a simple message is often all it takes to inspire and motivate a team member, so we hope this is a trend that continues to build throughout 2024.”

Leading with empathy

How empathetic are your leaders and managers?

According to O.C. Tanner research, empathetic leadership increases the odds of employee fulfillment by a huge 894%.

HRD America interviewed Meghan Stettler, director of the O.C. Tanner Institute. She told them that empathy goes beyond an emotional connection. It means building a practice of care that addresses individual needs. And treating empathy as a top workplace priority.

Only 59% of employees say they feel that leadership empathy is paired with meaningful action. So it’s all about bridging that gap. 

Stettler says managers need the right support, resources, and training if they’re to adopt an empathetic approach. She also recommends focusing on two-way communication.

Organizations need forums like employee surveys, focus groups and town halls. Safe places where employees are encouraged to speak their minds.

To make a success of these empathy opportunities, Stettler provide some guidelines:

Focus on the person, including their needs, challenges, and potential.

Seek understanding on policies, programs, and their daily experiences (both positive and negative).

Listen to learn new insights, not just to demonstrate concern.

Embrace perspectives by being open, accepting different viewpoints, and believing what you hear.

Take supportive action to address employees’ needs or insights.

Respect boundaries by having other support resources in place so employees get what they need, and leaders don’t burn out.

Want more ways to engage your frontline workforce? Read this article on frontline leadership training tips.

Frontline churn: is L&D the answer?

Frontline attrition is still high. A recent frontline survey puts the rate between 40% and 70%. So what can frontline leaders do to get frontline employees to stay?

According to an article in the HR Daily Advisor, learning and development will prove key to frontline employee retention in 2024.

There’s still a big disconnect between the L&D employees want and what they tend to get:

  • 32% of frontline employees say their employers don’t invest enough in their growth
  • 25% feel that their employer leaves them to develop knowledge and skills on their own

But two-thirds of frontline employees say they would stay at their company at least six years longer if they were given better career support and training. So making strides in this area could have a huge impact on staff churn.

The HR Daily Advisor article provides some tips for taking your L&D to the next level.

1. Dedicate time for skill building and comms

Frontline employees value training. But they also want constructive feedback on their performance and development. Assign enough time for skill building and communication. And sustain this commitment beyond initial onboarding.

2. Meet frontline employees where they are with blended training

Training staff who work different shifts in different locations can be a challenge. But with the right tech, you can meet employees where they are. With Blink, you can serve company policies and resources right to an employee smartphone. Learn more about the Blink Hub here.

3. Achieve big goals step by step with micro learning

Little and often is a great way to engage frontline workers in training. With access to short micro lessons that take just minutes to complete, they can dip in and out of a course at their own pace.

4. Gamify training to take engagement to the next level

Gamification makes learning fun. Challenges, friendly competition, rewards, and leaderboards encourage employees to engage with training and do their best.


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