The Shift - October 26th 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.


Tech and trust for frontline wellbeing

Frontline teams have it tough right now. Qualtrics research reveals that:

  • 38% of frontline employees are stressed at work at least half the time
  • and 41% feel emotionally drained

The cost of living crisis and rising inflation are also impacting employee wellbeing. A majority of customer-facing staff say that it’s harder to cover living expenses today than it was one year ago.

Burnout and stress affect staff retention. And, as Dr Benjamin Granger, Chief Workplace Psychologist at Qualtrics highlights, the fallout doesn't stop there. You need engaged employees if you want great service, successful product design, happy customers, and a profitable business.

So how can you improve wellbeing for stretched frontline staff?

Start by opening up a dialogue at scale.

Frontline employees are typically hard to reach. They don’t sit at a desk, in front of a computer screen. That's why frontline leaders need to think differently about the tech they use to establish a dialogue and seek employee feedback.  

But, Granger adds, simply equipping staff with the right tech tools for their needs isn’t enough. You need to build trust as well.

“When you are listening to your workforce, the workforce has to trust that you're using that information and doing something with it. They also have to trust that you're not going to misuse it, you're not going to use it against them as a stick.”

Transparent two-way communication is needed. Workers should feel confident that leaders will listen to their input and act on it, finding ways to reduce stress and improve frontline wellbeing.

How to achieve two-way frontline communication

This week we hosted an insightful conversation with the Internal Comms team from Aggregate Industries. AI’s Head of Corporate and Marketing Communication, Ioana Borangic, and Digital Communications Manager, Charlotte Riley, told us how they’ve been using an employee app to “facilitate two-way communication” with their dispersed workforce.

Find out how Aggregate Industries "empowers [employees] to be their own communicators" — and sent engagement rates soaring in just one year. Catch up on the on-demand webinar here.


What will HR leaders focus on in 2024?

It’s that time of year again and industry predictions for 2024 are starting to roll in.

Consulting firm Gartner has listed the five priorities they expect HR teams to focus on over the coming year. The ones most pertinent to frontline leaders are:

Leader and manager development

Manager jobs are “becoming unmanageable”. 76% of HR leaders say their managers are overwhelmed by the growth of their job responsibilities. Gartner predicts that in 2024, HR leaders will go beyond traditional manager development programs to reassess and evolve manager jobs.

Read our guide to developing leaders on the frontline here.

Organizational culture

41% of HR leaders say that hybrid work has compromised the connection employees feel to their company — a trend we’ve been seeing in the frontline labor force for years. Expect to see a renewed focus on organizational culture in all types of businesses in 2024, and a drive to give teams the tools they need to create vibrant micro-cultures.

Blink's Feed is a great place to bring dispersed teams together and build an engaged community.

HR technology

Most HR teams are unprepared when it comes to technology. In 2024, there will be a lot of discussion around evaluation frameworks, governance, and workforce readiness so teams can put tech to better use.

Get up to speed on the best employee engagement software today.


3 need-to-know software adoption strategies

Speaking of technology… is your company software working for employees?

The average UK employee loses 2.33 hours a week to bad software. For a company of 5,000 employees, that’s equivalent to 600,000 working hours per annum.

Frontline employees will not use technology that doesn't suit their needs or that they don't know how to use to their benefit. They are too busy, with too many demands on their time, to be dealing with extra friction.

Only six in every ten employees believe their business provides them with sufficient training, while around 50% reported that working away from head office has forced them to solve software issues by themselves.

So how can you implement new software without hurting productivity and the employee experience? Encouraging and supporting user adoption is essential.

To promote adoption you can:

  • Maintain open lines of communication, so you can assess and respond to employee needs
  • Measure adoption. When you track adoption metrics you build a clearer picture of where support is needed
  • Assign software champions. These employees get to know software inside-out, and then inspire and train co-workers to use it. We encourage all of our customers to name Blink Champions within their teams to get other employees onboard and engaged.

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