How to engage deskless workers
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How to engage deskless workers

   Minute Read     Deskless workers Digital Workplace Employee Engagement

How to engage deskless workers
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    With approximately 80% of the global workforce in deskless or frontline roles, there is an exceptional need for employers to ensure that these colleagues remain engaged with the company culture, feeling involved and accounted for as an employee. Frontline and deskless workers play such a huge part, often as the face of the company, regularly dealing with customers or manual tasks which may leave them less time than their office based colleagues to keep up with internal communications. 

    While these workers may have no desk, office, or centralised place to interact with the entire company, measures can be taken by businesses for engaging deskless workers. But, how do you engage deskless workers? In this post, we look at what it means to be a deskless worker, or what is otherwise known as “frontline” workers and ways to engage them to ensure that they are seen, heard, appreciated and feel a sense of belonging at their workplace.

    What does deskless mean?

    Deskless workers can be found in all industries, from transport to healthcare and construction to logistics. Deskless workers don’t tend to report to a traditional office. They often work varied shifts in hands-on or manual roles providing critical services for businesses and communities such as operating equipment, driving, managing inventory or maintenance work. Remote workers or mobile staff such as sales reps, service staff and technicians are also classed as deskless workers due to the on-the-go nature of their roles. A huge percentage of deskless employees are unlikely to require a work laptop or email address, meaning that employers have to find intuitive ways to stay in touch and maintain a sense of connection with them.

    What is a frontline worker?

    Frontline workers are those who deal directly with members of the public, such as healthcare staff, retail colleagues and emergency services workers. A frontline worker is exactly that; they are the face of your organisation to the public or community in which they work, and their work environment can often be high energy, intense, and always-on. They represent the company and can ascertain customer attitudes from direct interactions and feedback with them. The nature of working on the front lines can mean that there isn’t often time to check in on company updates, with staff often only learning of updates within  staff briefings or team meetings. Typically, a modern, inclusive engagement strategy is required in order to ensure that your frontline workers feel part of the wider team and part of the company culture with many companies adopting internal technology to link all company employees together.

    How do you engage deskless workers and frontline staff?

    Engaging deskless and frontline staff as key members of regional, national or  global workforces is paramount to succeeding with any internal communications strategy. Fostering connections amongst employees and re-aligning colleagues with the company culture can help nourish a true sense of inclusion and visibility for all staff, no matter their shift pattern, job title or location. 

    We have outlined the key elements of a successful engagement strategy to engage your non-office based colleagues below.

    On-the-go access for deskless workers on-the-move 

    Empower your employees with access to everything in the palm of their hand using a mobile friendly app. No need for a work email to register, and equally no need for a desktop device to get started. All your staff would need to do is download the app and they’re good to go with all the capabilities, access and features they require to stay up to date and connected with company, team and individual updates.

    Modernise the digital employee experience with tailored, relevant content 

    Using an employee engagement tool that can personalise the user experience is so important when trying to engage frontline and deskless workers. Often, they may only have a few minutes to check in for updates. By streamlining the digital employee experience with a homepage that is curated with the most relevant highlights, your colleagues can keep their finger on the pulse of what’s going on without sacrificing their breaks or downtime on their commutes.

    No matter where your colleagues are based - deskless, frontline, remote or in an office - we cannot underestimate the strength of connections that shared interests can form in a digital community. Always extend invitations to join hubs and communities to connect with colleagues who have the same interests. When seeking updates around topics that are actually of interest to them, there’s a higher chance that they will keep returning to the platform to stay involved in discussions or debates.

    Show deskless and frontline workers they’re valued

    It’s one thing giving access to all of your employees, but you also need to be able to demonstrate that everyone is valued equally. Encourage regular colleague recognition between teams, sites, and beyond, and integrate these into weekly or monthly routines to keep the momentum going. 

    Our Employee Happiness Survey found that one in three people believe the balance between what they put into their job and the acknowledgement they get for it isn’t fair. A little recognition can go a long way in motivating and re-engaging deskless workers and frontline staff who may often feel they give a lot with little recognition.

    Listen and act, to continuously improve your engagement strategy

    Your employee engagement strategy should enable two-way communication, encouraging feedback from your employees about what they do and don’t like.

    Measure the success of your employee engagement efforts with easy to build forms that can survey frontline and deskless workers, remote colleagues and office-based staff to ensure they each feel like they are getting the most from their digital employee experience.

    Build forms and pulse surveys within your intranet and tailor the questions to your different audiences to ensure you collect the most actionable feedback to inform the future of your employee engagement strategy.

    If you are looking for expert support in engaging deskless, frontline or remote employees, we have a broad range of solutions to help. Reach out to our team for a demo to find out more about what we offer.

    And here’s a list of deskless workforces and business that we’ve helped - view their stories to learn more: