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Management 'out of touch' with frontline workers' roles

20 June 2022

A NEW survey has revealed a widening divide between frontline workers and their HQ counterparts. More than 1 in 3 (40%) of frontline workers said management is “out of touch” with their role based on the communications they receive from HQ.

The YouGov data commissioned by SafetyCulture represents the views of American, British and Australian “frontline workers” – individuals who must “physically show up to their job”, including the likes of hospitality, retail, manufacturing, and logistics workers. With frontliners making up 80% of the global workforce, the data shines a light on major opportunities to better engage the workforce largely responsible for keeping the world moving.

The survey revealed: 

  • More than 1 in 4 frontline workers (32%) don’t have time to read or act on HQ communications and more than 1 in 4 (30%) said internal communications get in the way of performing their role and tasks. 
  • More than 1 in 3 frontline workers agree the communications they receive from HQ are often irrelevant (42%) and not engaging (43%).
  • Almost half of British frontline workers (48%) said they couldn’t “put a face to the name” of most HQ team members they communicate with, leading more than 1 in 4 British frontline workers (32%) to say they feel disconnected from their HQ colleagues.

Find the right channel for “deskless” workers

The survey also spotlighted the importance of one central channel for critical communications that is accessible and practical for frontline teams:

  • More than 1 in 4 frontline workers (30%) said there was no go-to communication channel for important updates in their workplace
  • More than 1 in 4 frontline workers (29%) stated that if there was a channel, it didn’t actually work for their role.

Commenting on the data, Bob Butler, global general manager of SafetyCulture said, “Given most businesses are dealing with the effects of supply chain issues and labour shortages, communicating with teams on the frontline is more critical than ever. However, frontline workers can be challenging to reach given they aren’t always at a desk and often don’t have a company email address.”

“Many businesses have continued to invest in providing their white-collar workers with high-quality tools and technology for remote communication but enabling the frontline is a blindspot for some organisations. There’s a real opportunity to improve in this space, particularly with low-cost mobile first technology.”

Time for a simple ‘heads up’?

SafetyCulture is aiming to help improve communication between HQ and the frontline, via a new ‘Heads Up’ feature in its flagship product, iAuditor. The feature creates a one-stop messaging broadcast centre and allows organisations to record short videos or image-based messages and send them out to team members at the click of a button. 

“Our survey findings really shine a light on what we’ve been hearing from our customers for some time - communicating with the frontline has been tough and it’s getting tougher. That’s why we developed ‘Heads Up’ and we’re confident it will help to solve some of the simple issues that businesses are facing when it comes to communicating,” says Butler.

The new Heads Up feature has already enabled nearly 20,000 users around the world to reach frontline teams with important messages and can be used by almost any type of business. Teams at electric vehicle charging provider BP Pulse and Europe’s largest golf retailer American Golf have been early adopters of the feature.

SafetyCulture’s new mobile-first “Heads Up’ feature is available via iAuditor free of charge for teams of up to 10 people. 

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,980 adults (858 US, 553 Australia, 569 UK). Fieldwork was undertaken during April 2022.