How can employers boost frontline worker retention?

New research finds one factor can boost chances by 300%

How can employers boost frontline worker retention?

Having a sense of belonging in the workplace is "critical" for frontline worker wellbeing and retention, according to a new report from tech firm WorkDay.

Its survey of 3,000 global workers found that 79% of those who feel a sense of belonging have plans to stay at their organisation — much higher than the 33% who don't feel that way.

"Belonging is a complex, complicated, and deeply personal concept. What works for one person to feel connected may not work for another person. But with companies struggling with hiring and retention, there's a clear benefit: High-belonging employees are more than twice as likely to stay with their employer," the report said.

"In addition, frontline workers with a high-belonging score are five times more likely to say they would recommend their employer as a great place to work."

Manager relationships

Feeling connected with managers also has a significant impact to frontline workers' sense of belonging, according to the report.

In fact, 90% of employees who have a high feeling of belonging have managers who understand them. For 82%, they have a manager who supports them.

For employees who do not feel their managers' support, only 20% were happy in their roles and have no plans of quitting.

"A supportive manager can improve a frontline worker's chances of staying at the company by 300%” said WorkDay.

An important way to boost employee engagement is caring leadership, according to an HR expert.

Feedback wanted

A big part of understanding and support comes from regular interactions with team members, according to the report.

"Unfortunately, frontline workers told us in the study that there were some gaps in how often they preferred to get performance feedback from their manager and what happened in reality," the report said.

There's not a single best or most preferred frequency for giving feedback, according to the report, adding: "What matters more is alignment: aligning the feedback frequency with what the employee expects."

Tech appreciated

Employee experience for frontline workers is also influenced by having the right tools and technology, according to the report.

Employees who have access to flexible scheduling tools are 71% more likely to say their company is open and transparent, according to the report.

"This research uncovered how positively frontline workers respond to having the right tools and resources in their hands to better manage their work life. It's my hope that employers take note and use these findings as an opportunity to build a stronger support system for their critical frontline staff," said Ben Eubanks, chief research officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory.

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