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Managers are key to conquering the complexity crisis facing frontline workers

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July 10, 2024
By Brandi Cowen

Eighty-three per cent of executives surveyed report understanding the challenges facing their organization’s frontline workers, but only 62 per cent of workers agree.

That’s just one of the findings in a new report from Dayforce, Inc., a global human capital management organization, that revealed alignment between frontline workers and their managers, but a disconnect with executives at the helm of their organizations.

Findings show misalignment across various critical business challenges, including workforce planning, pay, labour shortages and skills gaps, workforce compliance, and culture and connection.

With an estimated 70-80 per cent of the workforce not sitting behind a desk, this new research dives into the frontline worker experience to help executives gain insights to support managers better, improve efficiencies, and build trust and loyalty with workers. The survey of 6,935 workers, managers, and executives in industries with frontline workers, conducted by Hanover Research, points to an opportunity to help mitigate frontline risks – including high turnover, avoidable costs, and negative customer experiences – by enabling managers to help solve these challenges.

“Whether it’s workers, managers, or executives – it’s clear that people at all levels of a frontline-focused organization feel the pain of the growing complexity crisis, with each group experiencing it differently,” said Justine Janssen, chief strategy officer of Dayforce, Inc. “The key to closing the gap is empowering managers with the data, tools, and executive support needed to drive better decision-making, increased efficiencies, lower turnover, and optimized performance. This can also help align senior leadership and workers by increasing visibility into the everyday reality of frontline workers and making their work lives better.”

The report identified five key areas of opportunity for organizations to support managers better and improve the overall performance of their frontline workforce:

  • Support workforce planning: As a major driver of turnover, scheduling is a big issue for organizations. The research found that 89 per cent of managers and 86 per cent of workers said they are likely to leave their current job for a role with a better schedule. Managers need leadership buy-in and support to improve schedule flexibility for workers – and for themselves too.
  • Democratize data to make competitive pay decisions: With the rising cost of living, compensation has an outsized impact on turnover. The research found that while most executives (88 per cent) feel they have the data they need to make competitive compensation decisions, managers don’t feel as confident (72 per cent). Organizations should give managers the information they need to make compensation decisions that help reduce turnover, improve recruitment, and continuously focus on fair pay as a fundamental element of the employer/employee relationship.
  • Tackle labour shortages and skills gaps: Help managers optimize their current workforce by prioritizing internal mobility and creating personalized career paths. The research found that 65 per cent of workers surveyed want to advance in their company, but they will need to be supported with skills development opportunities to do so.
  • Invest in workforce compliance: A clear majority of executives surveyed (92 per cent) said their organization has compliance challenges, and 42 per cent of managers agreed that workforce compliance has become more challenging over the past two years. Organizations should leverage technology that makes compliance easier to manage and saves time for managers so they can focus more on people.
  • Lean in with executive support to build culture and connection: According to the report, 90 per cent of executives said they feel a moderate or high degree of connection to their employer, compared to just 72 per cent of frontline workers. The employee experience is no longer just a manager’s responsibility; executives must also engage with and listen to workers to help minimize labour shortages that disrupt business continuity.

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