Engaging frontline workers is a priority for managers. Utilizing technology to facilitate safety processes can result in happier employees.
November 25, 2019
Industries that require skilled trades workers often have difficulties in engaging their frontline workers and supervisors, especially when the workers are distributed, remote or in lone worker scenarios for long periods of time. Access to relevant work information, frequent communication touchpoints, and in-the-moment feedback are critical to keep workers motivated and engaged. Feedback acknowledges workers and helps them understand that they are valued and appreciated. The outcome that stems from feedback can result in improvements in many facets of the business.
According to a Gallup study, only 15 percent of worldwide frontline workers around the world feel engaged in their work. Certainly, non-digital methods are important to engaging employees including face-to-face or virtual meetings, training, and positive reinforcement in those meetings.
There’s no need for the status quo with employee engagement. Today, companies have the ability to take engagement to the next level by leveraging technology to equip workers with transformative solutions that drive productivity, engagement and allow workers to take more initiative. These potential engagement improvements can translate to positive changes in the bottom line. More importantly, these changes can impact safety and whether or not a worker makes it home at the end of the day.
Studies show that a determined and successful employee is more likely to contribute to the company and reach their potential, than an employee who does not feel valued. Forbes Insights and VMWare found workers to be five times more productive by implementing technology for the workforce and four times more likely to report that their company is a desirable place to work. Surveyed CIOs believe that digitally empowered workers can drive at least 5% additional revenue growth over the next 3 years.
After adopting and embracing new technologies, employees often see increased productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of their tasks and jobs. Rather than just using the technology, employees are engaging with their work and company through sharing feedback and communicating with management. Employees are also understanding the underlying business processes and gaining knowledge and information that can help them as they grow in their careers while also improving their safety in what could be hazardous environments. Most importantly, this engagement can increase employee satisfaction and retention because they feel more valued in their organization.
All of these factors play a role in increased employee engagement, but when implementing a new tool amongst frontline workers, there are requirements to look for.
Clear-cut and Convenient
Technology and software that seem familiar, straightforward and are easily accessible to workers are the best solutions. Business processes and associated information in these solutions should be easily available and to the point, so workers can get what they need to efficiently do their jobs. One way to speed adoption is to leverage mobile devices and applications. More than 81 percent of adults in the U.S. own smartphones and more than 96 percent for younger adults own and use smartphones. By leveraging mobile technology which is familiar to workers, businesses can gain faster technology adoption and see results quicker. Companies will win with clear-cut tools that allow workers to perform their jobs, stay safe while doing so, comply with policies and standards, and feel empowered in what they are accomplishing.
Since frontline workers are normally focused on their daily tasks, they may not take time to think about the actions they are taking and how those align with the company policies, standards, and best practices. Tools that encourage employees to engage in and submit feedback, ask questions, and leave comments helps guarantee that information is documented and allows co-workers or management to learn and engage.
Enhances a Collaborative Environment
Real-time information is integral to increasing worker efficiency and productivity. Information needs to be shared promptly so work is not delayed or so that workers are not put in a situation where they make suboptimal decisions. This also means that real-time feedback is an important characteristic of solutions that can be leveraged by management and employees. Robust solutions will also support remote and lone workers where connectivity is limited or unavailable.
The ability to deliver business processes, rich text content and photographs are important tools that technology solutions can provide to enhance productivity and worker engagement. Workers need access to information in-the-moment to perform their job efficiently and effectively. For example, if a worker is on a job site for the first time, they may want to access: past information about the job from co-workers, micro snippets of training materials, procedures, or potential risks or dangers. Access to real-time information can make the difference between missing a deadline because of a lack of information or completing the task safely and without injuries. When workers have the proper solution with real-time information access, worker engagement can improve drastically along with their satisfaction and trust in management.
Puts Safety First
Safety is the main responsibility and goal of an employer for their workers. Technology solutions that track worker compliance with safety programs are foundational for every company. However, transformative solutions focus on the worker first and result in a safety culture with high worker engagement. Focusing on the worker means giving them great tools that replace paper-based and ad hoc safety solutions for the frontline. Supporting worker communication and documentation through mobile-based workforce-first safety software increases proactive documentation by identifying risks early and often. This allows workers to collaborate and empower them to make a real difference in safety-related and even the quality improvements for their company.
The key is communication between management and the frontline. Acknowledging concerns and giving feedback directly to the worker through digital and non-digital methods increases the engagement of a frontline worker. This sends a powerful message to workers, letting them know that they have been heard and encourages them to contribute to the safety improvements, giving them ownership of positive changes. Employee ownership is a big culture change that can lead a mindset for continuous improvements in safety and beyond.
Start Strong and End Stronger
Positive employee engagement starts on day one. Studies show that 28 percent of new employees will quit in the first 90 days, which causes a negative impact on a companies’ bottom line. A major cause of negativity comes from the onboarding and training of new employees. Many companies still don’t see onboarding as an integral part of setting employees up for success and confidence in their job. Workers will start out with minimal training, putting them at risk of not being productive, safe or engaged. Workers who do not receive the proper training or on-going training feel unappreciated and undervalued for their work and this eventually will impact their engagement level as well.
It is important for new hires to know what the company’s mission, values, and guiding principles are in order to feel confident and comfortable in the work they are doing. Integrating these concepts into onboarding practices will help employees align with foundational principles in the work they do. When an employee feels important and connected to the core company mission and values, they are more likely to be engaged and more productive in what they do.
Implementing the tools and technologies to enhance employee engagement can be easy if the solutions are simple to use, easily available, enhance workforce-first safety solutions, and build confidence in employees. The best solutions engage the workforce and help maintain loyal employees who are more productive and efficient and who contribute more to the bottom line. The right strategy and solution can help keep workers safe and engaged and retain them with the company for years to come.
About Robin Fleming:
Robin Fleming, CEO & Co-Founder of Anvl, a workforce first safety solutions software, has more than 30 years of experience in software and technology leadership roles for brands such as Match.com, Teradata and Angie’s List. Robin’s career has been devoted to building and delivering innovative software solutions. She is now applying her technology expertise to workplace safety for the millions of American workers who make up the “deskless” workforce and work in hazardous conditions every day. You can connect with Robin on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Anvl.com.
Anvl helps companies predict and prevent workplace injuries and deaths for the frontline worker. Anvl replaces outdated paper processes, checklists and electronic forms with smart digital workflows, rich data analysis, and real-time communication. Anvl’s workflow engine evaluates real-time data and helps companies manage risk at the point where work occurs. Real-time safety supervision drives behavioral change and builds a safety culture that delivers results. For more information: Anvl.com or follow on Twitter at @AnvlApp.