6 Mistakes You Might be Making with Your Frontline Employees

The past year or so has reinforced the importance of all those essential workers who make our world go round. Yet it hasn’t changed the fact that many companies do a poor job of communicating to these non-desk employees.

That’s because it’s not easy to reach all those frontline employees who aren’t sitting in front of computers all day. For companies in retail, healthcare, restaurants, hospitality and other service industries, the default method for communicating with these employees is usually to cascade information through their managers.

But not communicating directly with this audience means missing important opportunities to engage and inspire the people who are the face of your brand.

Here are six mistakes to avoid and reasons to make communication with your frontline employees a business priority:

1. Forgetting They Create The Customer Experience

The employees that are working the front line are the ones who will or won't deliver on your brand promise. You can spend millions on advertising, marketing and SEO to attract customers, but the customer experience always comes down to that person working the front desk, delivering the products, or serving customers. If your frontline people don’t understand what the company stands for, then there’s likely to be a major disconnect between what your company says in their marketing and advertising efforts and the reality of the customer experience.

2. Ignoring Your Largest Employee Audience

If most of your communications go only to employees sitting in the corporate office, you may be ignoring the majority of your workforce. It can be helpful to create a graphic representation of the employee audience segments. If you are a company with frontline employees you already know that this group is large, but you may be stunned to see it actually represented visually. This can help you to see that you may be communicating directly with only a very small portion of the entire company.

3. Not Asking What They Know That Corporate Doesn't

Not surprisingly,  frontline employees on the frontline understand and know things about your customers that it’s impossible for employees and management in corporate to know. They see firsthand when something about your product or service creates an issue for customers, and they can sometimes offer brilliant solutions to those problems. Providing a channel for frontline employees to share their customer intelligence with corporate can improve the business in significant ways.

4. Communicating Only Through Their Managers

It's important to have at least one channel direct from corporate to frontline employees. Not only does it demonstrate respect for the roles they play in the company’s success, but also ensures that they're receiving all the correct information that they need to know. Not all managers will do a great job of cascading information to their frontline employees. Some will do it better than others and some may not do it at all. Even though it can be more difficult to reach this audience, it’s worth trying to figure out how to make it happen.

5. Not Understanding The Realities of Their Workspace

There’s no substitute for getting out onto the ground and into the warehouses, distribution centres, stores, restaurants or wherever your frontline people work. Take note of what their days look like and try and experience what it is that they experience. From where they enter the building, where they take breaks, whether they’re standing or sitting, the tools they have to interact with customers and how they get their information from corporate can all provide you with valuable insights. Without doing that, you won’t be able to see the potential touchpoints that make creative use of their physical environment, or identify areas that are lacking and need improvement.

6. Thinking That Everyone is Using Your App

You may think that your Employee App is a great tool to share information with your frontline. Employee apps are most certainly trending in recent years. Good employee apps solve an old and stubborn problem. If employees aren’t sitting at desks, their employers have a hard time reaching them with a wide array of information and services that can and should matter to their working lives. In reality only around 70% of your employee base will actually use the app because they're reluctant to learn a new tool, they already have so many apps on their phones or they have to actually go into the app to retrieve information. Effective communication to all employees requires a multi-channel approach to ensure that no one is excluded and your message always gets delivered.

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Read more about how to use WhatsApp for Internal Communication to kick-start your efforts in reaching frontline employees and creating better employee and customer experiences!

Get in touch with us to find out how Sweesh can help you kick your communications into high gear without needing to develop any complicated tools. It's the first step you can take to creating an inclusive communication strategy for all your employees, no matter where they work.

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