The Shift - October 12th 2023

Missed The Shift in your inbox last week? Recap on what was covered in Blink’s fortnightly update for frontline leaders on October 12th, 2023 — and don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss another edition.

Boost first-line managers, boost your business

When was the last time you checked in with your first-line managers? How engaged and inspired are they in their role with your organization?

Research has found that the middle manager’s confidence in their employer’s six-month outlook has dipped nearly 6% compared to last year. Daniel Zhao, lead economist at Glassdoor, says, “I think really this comes down to the fact that middle managers have felt the squeeze of layoffs.”

If you also throw in the frontline connection gap, insufficient tooling, and pressure from higher management levels, it’s easy to see why Ian Gordon, former President of Operations at Elara Caring, describes first-line managers as “the hardest worked and most undervalued level of management in any company.”

Keeping your first-line managers engaged and motivated is essential; if middle managers are struggling for motivation, then it’s likely your staff on the frontline are feeling low-energy too. Zhao describes middle managers as “bellwethers” for how the organization is doing — if you can boost them you can boost the wider business.

So how do you do it?

  • Check in on first-line managers: Find out how your managers are really doing. Connection and conversation help you identify the issues they’re facing — and start to resolve them.
  • Recognize their efforts: According to Harvard Business Review, giving managers recognition, “can help them to counter feelings of diminished efficacy, reduce their cynicism or mental distance from the job, and derive more meaning from their work.”
  • Lighten the load: First-line managers need tools that make work easier and more efficient. This helps to reduce feelings of overwork and stress.

Blink’s frontline employee super-app improves internal communication and recognition, helping employees at all levels feel seen and heard. Register for our upcoming webinar — Achieving digital engagement in frontline teams — to get the lowdown from one of our customers, Aggregate Industries.

Blink. And catch us at UNLEASH World.

We hope to see you in Paris next week for UNLEASH World, “Where the HR world meets!” The Blink team will be at booth #A902 running live briefings with leading frontline organizations, including:

  • Workday customers unite
  • No email, no problem
  • An executive briefing with ID Logistics

Swing by and join a session. We’d love to meet you.

UNLEASH is free to attend if you're an HR leader. Register here.

Helping the frontline find their flow

Forrester research found that employees are at their most engaged and productive when they’re immersed in a task and that interruptions distract employees from focused work.

So how do you help frontline workers to find their ‘flow’?

We know that a lack of good tech is hindering the frontline experience. 52% of workers say they would quit because of poor tech tools.

Clunky tech creates interruption. A complicated login process, a confusing user interface, a chain of links with one or more dead ends. Issues like these frustrate your frontline and slow them down. Find a better way.

How to retain caregiver employees

73% of employees have caring responsibilities at home — and we don’t just mean parents taking care of children. 53% of employees aged 40-49 and 36% of workers aged 40+ are caregivers for another adult, usually an elderly parent or a family member with a disability.

According to a Harvard Business School study titled The Caring Company, this is a growing issue. Rising health and care costs, paired with the fact that people are living longer, mean that more and more employees are balancing work and care.

And it isn’t easy. AARP says that many working caregivers have to:

  • Work remotely
  • Reduce or change their working hours
  • Use paid caregiving leave
  • Quit their job altogether

We also know that US businesses lose $35 billion each year because they fail to attract, support, and retain workers who have caregiving responsibilities.

A slim majority of organizations (52%) are already tracking the caregiver status of employees so they can provide better support. They’re starting meaningful conversations about what caregivers need so that they can stay in their roles.

Caregiver employee resource groups are also proving effective for the likes of Verizon. By creating communication channels where caregiving employees can talk about the issues they face — with co-workers and managers — people feel more comfortable asking for support when needed.

In case you missed it...

McKinsey released new research last month on the six employee archetypes. They say that all employees fall into one of these categories:

  • The quitters: employees who are already heading for the door
  • The disruptors: actively disengaged and likely to demotivate their peers
  • The mildly engaged: employees who do the bare minimum
  • The double-dippers: employees with more than one job
  • The reliable and committed: employees who go above and beyond
  • The thriving stars: these employees add value and help to motivate the people around them

McKinsey estimates that most of the workforce falls into a disengaged category, but these identities aren’t set in stone. Employers can improve engagement with strategies targeted at each archetype.

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