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Do you struggle to hear frontline concerns or find it hard to cascade your message to frontline employees?

18 Sep 2023 | 3 min read

Do you struggle to hear frontline concerns or find it hard to cascade your message to frontline employees? 

With 80% of the global workforce deskless and office-based workers spread over multiple floors and remote locations, frontline-senior leadership disconnection is baked into the dispersed employee business model. If left unbridged, this gap can adversely impact employee performance and leaders’ ability to implement successful change initiatives. 

However, with a modern employee listening strategy, you can connect with your frontline workers like never before.

Struggling to hear from your frontline employees?

Whether your frontline employees are spread from Bolton to Brighton or Madrid to Marseille, employee concerns fall down the same cracks as they climb the management ladder. In fact, the Iceberg of Ignorance shows that ‘only 4% of an organisation’s front-line problems are known by top management, 9% are known by middle management, 74% by supervisors and 100% by employees.’

As traditional methods of employee listening - such as surveys, polls and open-door policies - are not to everyone’s tastes, you only hear the same louder voices expressing the same louder opinions. It’s therefore impossible to get to the root cause of employee frustration and understand why frontline employees are blocking change initiatives. 

Failing to cascade your message effectively to the frontline?

The same is true in the reverse direction. According to Gartner, only 38% of employees are willing to support organisational change (down from 74% in 2016), which is hardly surprising given just 15% of employees typically understand the rationale behind their leaders’ strategy.

For change initiatives to succeed, every employee at every level in every location must understand why you’re doing it. But informing frontline employees of changes via top-down emails or one-way broadcasts not only feels cold and corporate, but actually widens the frontline-leadership gap - nothing makes the frontline feel more distant than an impersonal blanket email from an impersonal head office email account.

The solution? A modern, continual employee listening strategy

Whether you’re trying to stay on top of frontline employees’ emerging issues or implement a new company-wide initiative, a modern employee listening platform bridges the gap between you and your frontline - fostering a real two-way connection.

  • Dialogue, not monologue. Instead of a single survey response or top-down email, two-way dialogue (with optional employee anonymity) provides a safe space for employees to raise concerns and leaders to respond directly both to individuals and groups. This helps show frontline employees that senior leaders value their opinions and forges a stronger bond at scale, making it easier to implement successful and impactful change initiatives.
  • First thought, not an afterthought. Checking-in with employees on a monthly, quarterly or annually basis is not enough. Not only do concerns evolve, but it gives the impression that leaders consider frontline employees’ views as an afterthought instead of their first thought. Modern employee listening platforms are always-on, so frontline workers constantly feel heard and respected, and leaders can resolve issues in real-time not months after they arise.
  • Empathy, not apathy. 82% of frontline workers want to be treated as a person, not just an employee. By connecting with employees directly (not through an obscure HR account), you can be truly empathetic to their concerns - ultimately helping you improve their motivation, productivity and job satisfaction. What’s more, it makes it easier to articulate changes that benefit them and the company be it merging departments, implementing mentorship programmes or making changes to pension schemes. 

Two traditional problems, one modern solution

Listen to all your frontline employees, let all of the frontline hear you. 

By authentically connecting with staff across your HQ, regional offices and the frontline, you can tackle the ‘us vs them’ mentality and get the whole company committed to the same direction.

For more information, check out our guide on Employee listening in 2023: how to create a modern employee listening strategy.

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