The Frontline Worker Disconnect

By Cris Grossmann, CEO & co-founder, Beekeeper

When the retail frontline succeeds, their organizations thrive, driving sales, customer loyalty and profitability. That’s the bottom line for any retail organization looking to boost sales and fuel organizational success. However, establishing a productive and content workforce requires retailers to address the growing disconnect between the retail frontline and their managers. In 2023 retail employers must focus on the increasing gap between how their frontline staff are currently being managed and how they should be managed in order to create a connected workforce.

As retailers prioritize frontline success, they will need to address how the frontline disconnect drives high turnover and low engagement — and rectify it immediately. As a result, in 2023 we will see a greater emphasis on retail employee experience, the use of frontline success system technologies to solve the growing disconnect, and new policies and procedures to effectively manage frontline staff. Here are some of the ways these new developments in retail staff management will occur:

Frontline managers are not being properly equipped with the tools and skill sets they need to manage their retail staff well. This will change in 2023. Retail organizations will increasingly commit to more robust manager training which is customized to their specific roles, needs and challenges. Rather than one size fits all training, companies will deliver training that is customized to the specific training needs of frontline management — whether that is fostering a better communication style for high-stress environments or developing the listening skills needed specifically for managing an hourly workforce or more. Upper retail management will recognize that they need to provide more support to their frontline managers for them to be truly effective in their roles.

Prediction #1: Retailers will Invest in Frontline Managers

In 2023, it’s time retailers embrace various workplace innovations and invest investing in a frontline success system to solve the frontline disconnect and create a productive, happy and loyal workforce.

Prediction #2: Retailers will provide more Support to their Frontline Teams

Prediction #3: Retailers will Flatten Internal Communications

Invest in Frontline Success Systems

Retail leaders and executives are accepting the fact that for their managers and frontliners to truly gel they need more support on all fronts. Whether it’s providing competitive benefits, improving workplace safety, shift flexibility, better training and necessary tools and technologies, retailers are recognizing that investing in frontline workers’ experience is the key to improving engagement and retention. By giving their workers and frontline managers easier access to these resources, retail organizations will set them up for success by closing the disconnect, which leads to a more productive workforce and ultimately a more profitable organization.

The root of disconnect often lies in poor communication and no feedback. A top-down, hierarchical approach to communication creates information silos. It kills collaboration and creates a disconnect between executive leadership and their teams on the frontline. The solution is to flatten internal communications, and give workers and their managers tech-driven ways to communicate quickly and securely. It’s time to facilitate instantaneous feedback between managers and staff, and. Employees — whether frontline or desk-bound — thrive with positive feedback and recognition from their peers and supervisors. Siloed or hierarchical communication processes stymie these types of spontaneous communications and genuine connective moments. The most competitive organizations are making that possible with mobile tech solutions designed to help workers and their managers succeed.

As we emerge from the pandemic to a different world, we are seeing the development of various workplace innovations contributing to the future of work. In 2023, it’s time retailers caught up with these innovations. By investing in a frontline success system, retailers can solve the frontline disconnect and create a productive, happy and loyal workforce.

The State of the Retail Industry 2023

JAN 2023