Frontline workers are an indispensable part of the global workforce, constituting over 2.7 billion people of the world population. In the United States, frontline workers make up almost 60% of the workforce and play a critical role in industries like healthcare and transportation.
The concept of frontline workers is not new, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of the essential services they provide in a new light. When a big chunk of the workforce made the transition to working from home, frontline workers had to stay on the ground to keep grocery stores, supply chains, and hospitals running.
In the post-pandemic economy, frontline workers face a new set of challenges. Despite increased wages, frontline workers are quitting their jobs en masse and organizations are struggling to attract, engage, and retain frontline talent.
In this article, we’ll unpack who frontline workers are, the types of challenges they face today, and how to help them succeed.
Frontline workers are employees that provide an essential service to the general public. They are nurses, first responders, public transit workers, and other professionals who keep the daily operations of modern society running smoothly.
Frontline workers have face-to-face interactions with people and can’t perform their responsibilities remotely or from home. They typically must report to work in person, which means that their working conditions are more prone to hazards and virus exposure.
Frontline workers are also sometimes called deskless workers, blue-collar workers, and key workers. Many, if not most, frontline workers are hourly workers, which means that they earn an hourly wage instead of a salary.
Not all essential workers are frontline workers. Some essential workers, such as teachers and educators, can perform their responsibilities remotely and don’t need to come in face-to-face contact with other people.
Frontline workers perform essential services and typically need to perform them in person. Both essential and frontline workers are vital to the health of modern society.
Frontline workers are spread across different industries.
When hearing the term “frontline worker,” many people immediately think of occupations in health care & public health, such as nurses, nurse assistants, and doctors. However, frontline workers work in a wide range of work environments, including:
Frontline workers are so essential to the economy that it can be hard — if not outright impossible — to imagine a healthy society without them.
Yet, the post-pandemic economy and the era of Great Resignation are presenting a unique set of challenges to organizations that rely on frontline workers to move their operations forward.
80% of hourly workers report wanting to start looking for a new job within a year. Even though not all hourly workers are classified as frontline workers, a significant chunk of them are, and this statistic should worry everyone.
In fact, the consequences of frontline workers leaving their jobs are already evident.
The American Trucking Association reports a current shortage of 63,000 truck drivers and anticipates a shortage of 175,000 truck drivers by 2026. Thousands of nurses are quitting their jobs every year, and the US will need more than 200,000 new nurses each year until 2026 to continue to be able to provide proper medical care.
Why are frontline workers quitting? It’s a combination of different factors.
Despite the challenges, it’s essential for organizations to start making positive changes in order to set frontline workers up for success.
An effective performance management process and new engagement approaches like gamification are promising solutions. However, in order for frontline managers & HR professionals to be able to implement them well, they need to have the right tools.
When you search for advice on how to engage and motivate frontline workers, you’re likely to get suggestions on improving communication, creating a rewards system, and making your performance management system more efficient.
These suggestions are true, yet, a bigger question stands.
How can frontline supervisors & HR professionals implement positive changes without effective tools at their fingertips?
→ This is why we developed Secchi.
Secchi is an hourly performance management software designed specifically for frontline teams that removes barriers, eliminates waste, and helps frontline managers gain the confidence they need to become better leaders.
With features like instant performance reviews, text-like messaging, and gamification, Secchi can help your organization improve engagement, productivity, and retention. Book a demo to learn more.
With Secchi, leaders across your entire organization have access to turn-by-turn leadership directions and actionable data that guides them on how to engage their teams through recognition, coaching, engagement, and accountability.
Request a Demo
Connect With Us