How workplace tech can help slow the great resignation
The world of work is undergoing a revolution – but workplace communication tools help businesses adapt.
This is part one of a three-part series exploring the experience of frontline workers and new workplace tools being deployed to support them.
The last two years have seen deep, significant changes to the world of work. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted business leaders’ focus from maintaining their bottom line to the front line. Employee experience has become more important than ever to keep good workers happy – and to keep them within a business.
Frontline workers have borne some of the heaviest burdens during the course of the pandemic, asked to work in person while many others work from home. They’ve kept our economy running, grocery stores stocked, and water and power pumping to our homes. Yet that’s come at a price. Frontline workers are leaving the workforce in increasing numbers – testament to the stresses and strains they’ve faced in recent years.
“Expectations of what people are looking for within their workplace has changed,” says Abby Guthkelch, Head of Global Executive Solutions at Workplace from Meta. “People have had a lot of time to reflect during the pandemic about their situations. They want to get more out of work.”
Seven in 10 frontline workers have suffered burnout because of the burden that’s been placed on them during the pandemic — or feel at risk of burning out. Nearly half of those surveyed by Workplace said the stress was so bad they’d have switched jobs by 2022. In the United States, 2.9% of the workforce resigned from their jobs in what was called ‘the Great Resignation’, says Guthkelch. And two-thirds of executives expect high rates of employee attrition — or are waiting for the wave of resignations to wash over them.
It’s all a mortal threat to the future of work and to plenty of big businesses that have seen too many people walking out the door in the last two years. But there is a way to support and empower frontline workers while improving collaboration with colleagues. It’s asynchronous communication, keeping people in the loop in a non-intrusive way — the kind of contact enabled by Workplace from Meta, the tech giant’s workplace communications platform.
“What asynchronous communication and products actually allow you to do is actually get frontline employees up to speed on information at a time that works for them on a device that works for them,” says Guthkelch. Investing in a quality communications platform pays dividends in the long run, she adds. “If you start with your people, investing in your people, they will, in return, turn up to work. They will perform better, which will in turn enable customer success and customer experiences, which will in turn drive business growth. And that really comes from communication.”
Workplace Tech on the Frontline youtu.be
Businesses big and small are using tools like Workplace from Meta to try and foster those closer connections with employees that stop the rot and revolutionize the way workers can communicate while on the frontline. Millions of employees at businesses around the world were not able to work at all during the COVID-19 crisis. They were furloughed and sent home for a year and a half. But bosses bringing back their workers are utilizing workplace tools to reorient employees who haven’t been working for prolonged periods.
Businesses are placing more priority on ensuring there are clear lines of communication for frontline workers to raise issues — something that’s vital given 43% of employees told McKinsey one of their fears about remote work was a reduction in collaboration with colleagues.
Such consistent, constant communication acts as a pulse check for the health of an organization, enabling bosses to step in and fix issues before they fester and grow. It’s also a real-time pressure valve for frontline workers — who are often placed in the most stressful customer-facing situations — to let off steam, raising issues and feeding back opportunities for improvements in operational efficiency as they see them. Beyond that, asynchronous communication platforms allow employees to feel more valued and part of a community. Rather than being left out on a limb to face the general public, constant communication means people feel like they’re a member of a bigger team pulling in the same direction — giving workers a sense of purpose they so desperately crave in uncertain times. In a survey of workers by Workplace, 57% of frontline workers felt their ability to keep in touch with colleagues through communication tools helps improve their mental health.
For businesses looking to face 2022 on the front foot, rather than reacting to a wave of disquiet, it’s vital to take steps now to improve workplace tech to enable happier, healthier, more efficient workers.
Forward-thinking firms are putting their money where their mouth is, supporting workers and enabling them to feel empowered about the future direction of the company — shaping its future from the front line. They’re doing so by taking steps to drastically improve frontline teams’ experience, reviewing internal communications strategy, processes and the accompanying tech stack and addressing the importance of mental health and factors that can contribute to burnout.
Read the series: