November 6, 2023

10 ideas to retain your frontline workers

Flore

Flore

5 min reading

Frontline workers

Here are 10 strategies to retain your frontline workers.

Frontline workers are employees who work in direct contact with clients or products and whose tasks cannot be carried out from an office or through remote work. These frontline employees, commonly known as "employés de terrain" in the French language, play a pivotal role in various organizations, particularly in retail, hospitality, construction, and the industrial sectors.

Teams in the field significantly contribute to value production and have an immediate impact on the quality of the customer experience. As an employer, it is essential to minimize turnover among your field personnel. This task is as necessary as it is challenging, especially considering that coming out of the health crisis, 37% of French field workers are considering resigning. These departures are likely to have a significant impact on a company's finances. This is because the cost of losing an employee averages around one-third of their annual salary.

#1 Improve your onboarding process for field employees

Onboarding is a critical stage in the strategy to retain employees, particularly those in the field. New hires who undergo a structured integration process are 69% more likely to stay in their position for at least three years. To avoid premature departures and the associated costs (estimated between €30,000 and €150,000), it's essential to ensure a welcoming experience for your new field employees.

Several approaches can help succeed in onboarding these employees:

Pre-onboarding for future field employees to reduce their stress on their first day in the company, making them feel expected. Provide them with specific details such as the address to report to, the arrival time, dress code, and an outline of their first day's activities. As the cherry on top, consider sending them a "welcome kit" containing key information about the company culture or useful "goodies," for instance.

🚀 Check our our article on the ultimate guide to a successful onboarding journey

Plan the first few days of the new recruits within your organization. Ensure that administrative and safety information is provided. However, it's not just about that. It's also crucial to schedule time for new arrivals to interact with their manager to clarify their objectives and the tasks they'll be handling. Finally, organize an integration event to enable incoming employees to build connections with their colleagues and enhance internal cohesion.

Gather feedback about your onboarding process to make improvements. Ask employees about their welcome experience in the company and its impact on their desire to remain within the organization. This will help identify weaknesses in your system and gather ideas to optimize it, making it an even more effective tool for retaining employees.

Digital tools can be tremendously helpful in effectively onboarding your new field employees. For instance:

Creating a workflow in Teams or SharePoint to automate certain steps and track the completion of tasks related to the new employee's integration (sending a welcome email, sending a welcome kit, preparing the contract, sending a post-onboarding questionnaire, etc.).

💡 To delve deeper, explore how to use Teams for successful employee onboarding.

Utilizing the MODA app by Mozzaik365 to create a personalized onboarding dashboard. This ephemeral dashboard, accessible via a smartphone, will enable the new employee to easily access all the necessary information to start their role under the best conditions (contacts, a list of tasks during onboarding, schedule, etc.).

🔗 For further insights, explore how to retain your employees.

#2 Energize the careers of your field employees

94% of employees would stay longer in their company if the company invested in their career growth. To retain your field employees, it's crucial to support them in their professional development. Two strategies can assist in achieving this:

Training is essential to help field employees thrive professionally without leaving your organization. Advancing skills not only enhances long-term prospects but also keeps individuals motivated over time. To offer tailored training and development programs, it's essential to regularly assess the performance of field teams and gather their feedback. Digital tools can be immensely helpful. For example, the learning platform Viva Learning, integrated with Microsoft Teams, allows for a "customized" learning journey from any mobile device. Viva Learning provides employees with various educational content, personalized recommendations, and tracks acquired skills.

👉 For more insights, explore our article on Microsoft Viva, the employee experience platform.

Internal mobility is another crucial retention tool. The likelihood that an employee who has changed positions or seen their roles evolve will stay in the company within two years rises to 75%, compared to 56% for employees who haven't experienced such mobility. Assuming new responsibilities, collaborating with different individuals, and changing the nature of one's work often proves to be stimulating. Hence, it's important to facilitate internal recruitment, such as by posting targeted job offers through your Mozzaik365 HR intranet.

Employees having a meeting

#3 Enhance the experience of field workers through digital means

Digital tools significantly contribute to improving the employee experience for field workers. In fact, 61% of them consider that technology has a positive impact on their professional lives. It's no surprise since digital solutions, like digital workplaces, ease access to the information and tools necessary for field workers to perform efficiently and feel fully integrated into the company's life. Mozzaik365 offers two products that enhance the digital experience of employees, particularly field teams:

The Mozzaik365 Digital Workplace is a SharePoint extension enabling the creation of collaborative intranets accessible via mobile devices. By connecting to their Mozzaik365 digital workspace, field employees can easily access personalized news feeds, swiftly view and share employer posts on social media, open their favorite applications with shortcuts, quickly find internal experts through a powerful company directory search engine, and have a quick glance at their tasks, emails, and calendar.

The MODA app by Mozzaik365 allows the creation of personalized dashboards in Teams. Through MODA, field workers can check their daily to-do list, weekly goals, upcoming meetings and events, social media feeds, and personalized news directly from their Teams mobile application. In short, MODA centralizes all the information and tools required by each field team daily in one place and offers a user experience adapted to the specific constraints of frontline workers.

🗣️ To delve further, explore how to facilitate communication with field teams.

#4 Encourage recognition testimonials towards field teams

Workplace recognition is crucial for motivating and retaining employees. 88% of employees consider positive feedback from a manager as highly, or extremely, motivating, while 76% equally appreciate compliments from their peers. However, in France, only 51% of employees feel their work is adequately recognized. To retain talent within your organization, it's essential to cultivate a genuine culture of recognition. Here's how:

Encourage managers and employees to provide positive feedback. Recognition testimonials can focus on achieved results, work methodologies, or simply the efforts made. To encourage employees to act, consider using features like the "praise" function in Microsoft Teams. This feature allows for easy and playful expressions of praise, either in a private conversation or within a Teams channel.

Highlight individual and collective successes. For instance, share a blog post or video on your intranet narrating the work and achievements of specific field teams, or relay satisfied customer feedback along with the names of the brilliant employees who assisted them on your communication intranet.

✨ For further insights, explore how to establish an effective communication intranet.

#5 Strengthen inclusion and diversity

Inclusion and diversity are assets for any organization. They serve as catalysts for innovation and also contribute to the well-being, engagement, and retention of employees. Individuals in an inclusive environment are 1.5 times more likely to be happy at work. Here are various approaches to promote diversity and inclusion within your organization, encouraging your field employees to stay:

Create an inclusive corporate culture. This might involve adopting an internal charter that advocates diversity and inclusion principles, ensuring gender parity within the leadership committee, or employing inclusive language in your communications.

💡 To dive deeper, explore the foolproof method to create a strong corporate culture.

Raise awareness among all members of your organization about the importance of inclusion and diversity in the workplace by offering training activities that address internal issues (such as sexist, racist, ableist biases).

Implement a policy of equal opportunities and non-discrimination that covers recruitment practices, management, career development, compensation, and workspace adjustments.

Encourage employees to come together and build relationships, irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation, origin, or disability. This could be achieved by establishing interest groups on your internal social network or hosting in-person events.

👋 For further insights, discover how to manage your corporate events with the Digital Workplace.

Enforce a zero-tolerance policy toward discriminatory behaviors. Stay attentive to employees who are victims of discrimination, and consistently sanction those responsible for discriminatory actions.

#6 Promote a good work-life balance

Maintaining a work-life balance is an essential factor in retaining talent. 60% of surveyed French employees express readiness to leave their current employment for one offering a better work-life balance. For field workers, being able to achieve physical and mental rest is even more crucial, given their physical involvement in delivering a product or service. Their performance and well-being at work are inherently linked to their ability to rest. As an employer, various measures can ensure a good work-life balance for your field teams:

Adopt a flexible work organization that respects the needs of employees, such as flexible working hours or a four-day workweek. For instance, LDLC, a leading French IT e-commerce company, implemented a four-day workweek/32 hours without a salary decrease or additional requirements in January 2021. Laurent de la Clergerie, the company's president, reports highly positive outcomes from this policy, noting the benefits for the performance and well-being of field employees, both in stores and warehouses.

Provide social benefits that promote work-life balance and well-being, such as fitness or meditation classes, on-site childcare, extended paternity leave, menstrual leave as seen at Carrefour, or a "breathing break" as offered by Orange.

Conduct regular surveys and polls among field teams to ensure the preservation of work-life balance, identify any potential shortcomings or risky behaviors, and promptly rectify them.

Offer field employees digital tools to better organize their time and be more efficient in their daily routines, like the Mozzaik365 Digital Workplace or the MODA application.

#7 Create a positive and collaborative work environment

For many individuals, the workplace is a social setting where they develop enriching and fulfilling interpersonal relationships. In fact, 55% of employees justify their decision to stay in a job due to a supportive work atmosphere, and 40% attribute it to their appreciation for their manager and team. Creating a positive and collaborative work environment is an effective way to encourage employees to remain in your company. In this regard, you can:

Facilitate and encourage internal communication by employing the right digital tools. Solutions like MODA and Mozzaik365, for example, streamline communication with field teams. These tools allow field personnel to stay updated on company news, participate in surveys, or interact with colleagues simply by checking their personal dashboard on their smartphone.

🎯 To delve deeper, discover how to create an employee Dashboard on Microsoft.

Organize events, activities, formal and informal networking sessions to enable employees to build relationships and strengthen team spirit. MODA and Mozzaik365 enable you to promote these events directly to relevant employees, ensuring they don’t miss out on any opportunity to connect.

Encourage managers to adopt a compassionate management style that emphasizes trust, autonomy, the right to make mistakes, empathy, active listening, recognition, and the well-being of employees.

Employees in a meeting

#8 Involve field teams in the company's governance

Involving field employees in the decision-making processes not only leads to more informed decision-making but also strengthens their sense of belonging and engagement. Feeling more considered and heard, they are more inclined to stay in their roles. In practice, two main approaches enable you to involve your field employees in the governance of your company:

Information dissemination: For field employees to express their opinions, they must be aware of what's happening within the organization, its challenges, and the strategic directions envisioned by the leaders. Solutions like MODA and Mozzaik365 allow for the distribution of relevant information to the right person at the right time. With these technologies, field workers can stay updated on company updates by simply checking their mobile phones. Additionally, they can subscribe to topics of interest, receive notifications on pertinent news, or access the results of internal surveys.

Collecting feedback and ideas directly from the field: Informing field employees about the company's activities isn't sufficient. To fully involve them in decision-making processes and governance, it's essential to give them a voice. Mozzaik365's digital workspace includes tools such as the "Idea Box" and the "Survey" component, enabling you to gauge the pulse of your field teams. You can also create communication channels in the Teams application to gather comments and suggestions from field employees.

✍️ To explore further, discover how to enhance internal communication on Teams.

#9 Ensure safety and well-being of frontline workers

Every employer has a legal obligation to take measures to ensure the safety and health of their employees in the workplace. Beyond being retention strategies, workplace safety, health, and well-being are prerequisites for retaining employees, especially frontline workers who may be exposed to various occupational risks (such as noise, heat, chemicals, occupational diseases, accidents, assaults, etc.). To guarantee the safety and well-being of your teams on-site, you should:

Provide a safe working environment adhering to safety standards. It's necessary to evaluate the risks associated with each workstation. Regularly gathering feedback from the primary stakeholders can help identify any malfunctions and rectify them promptly. Platforms like Mozzaik365 and MODA can assist in collecting feedback from your field teams to ensure compliance with safety rules.

Implement preventive actions, information, and training regarding workplace health and safety. Digital tools such as MODA and Mozzaik365 can help target the transmission of information to ensure that each employee receives instructions. Safety and health resources can be centralized in a Teams channel or on a dedicated intranet page, highlighted in the news feed, and notified to relevant employees.

✅ To explore further, check out our article "Team and Channel in Teams: A Beginner's Guide."

#10 Establish clear and realistic goals for your field employees

The daily tasks performed by employees significantly impact their job satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty towards their employer. If they feel overwhelmed by their workload, employees risk experiencing burnout. Conversely, if they are under-stimulated, they may face the risk of boreout, experiencing professional exhaustion due to boredom, or even brownout, a form of burnout caused by a loss of meaning at work. Setting clear and realistic goals is essential to ensure employee well-being, maintain productivity, and reduce resignations. To achieve this, consider:

Define individual and team goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). These objectives should motivate your field workers without overwhelming them with excessive or burdensome workloads.

Support frontline workers in achieving these goals by providing suitable working conditions and tools. Digital tools can once again be a significant support. For instance, members of a field team can utilize Microsoft Teams to create a team where they display their individual and collective goals, track progress, interact to encourage each other, and find solutions in case of obstacles.

By establishing these clear and achievable objectives, employers can ensure a healthier work environment and encourage employees to be more engaged and fulfilled in their roles.

Key points for retaining field employees:

As an employer, various strategies can enhance the retention of your field personnel:

  • Implement a thoughtful and structured onboarding process to encourage field workers to stay.
  • Invest in professional training and internal mobility to help field employees thrive and envision a long-term career within the company.
  • Offer mobile-adapted digital tools to enhance the employee experience for field workers throughout their tenure.
  • Establish a culture of recognition to appreciate and motivate field teams, thereby increasing their satisfaction.
  • Adopt a policy of inclusion and diversity to create a serene workplace and enhance overall happiness at work.
  • Promote a good work-life balance through redesigned work structures or innovative social benefits.
  • Foster a positive work environment by facilitating internal communication and creating opportunities for interaction and sharing.
  • Involve field teams in decision-making processes by ensuring adequate information and providing avenues for sharing their opinions.
  • Ensure the well-being and safety of frontline workers using digital tools to comply more easily with legal obligations.
  • Set clear and realistic goals and provide the necessary tools and support to help field employees achieve them.