Survey: Digital Workplace Key To Engagement For Frontline Teams

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Mobile devices boost productivity for deskless employees, YOOBIC study shows

Frontline workers aren’t being given the digital tools they need to succeed, leading to disengagement and reduced productivity, according to an international survey of frontline workers published today by digital workplace innovator YOOBIC. A smarter and more connected approach, using mobile devices and enterprise-grade apps, could be the key to achieving operational excellence, refocusing frontline employees on core revenue-driving activities, and attracting and retaining young workers.

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Mobile and deskless workers now make up 80% of the global workforce, totaling over 2.7 billion people, but the majority of digital workplace solutions still focus on supporting deskbound employees. In fact, according to the YOOBIC survey, fewer than six in 10 frontline workers currently use mobile devices as part of their jobs, and 73% of frontline employees are still using paper forms, despite 71% saying that easier access to digital tools would make them more productive.

The failure to empower workers with suitable digital tech takes a direct toll on mobile teams’ morale and productivity, the survey shows. More than a third of frontline employees now say they feel disconnected from their HQ, and over three quarters say their sense of engagement would be significantly improved by relatively modest connectivity measures such as mobile access to corporate communications messages.

With employees almost five times more likely to perform well when they feel their voices heard, lack of connectivity is a serious problem for today’s deskless workforce, the survey shows. Frontline employees don’t just make, distribute and sell the products we consume — they deliver a brand’s purpose and promise, and create value that differentiates the brand from its competitors. By making those workers more productive, organizations free up their time for impactful work such as helping customers, improving quality, and managing critical projects.

The absence of appropriate digital tools directly impacts employees’ career growth, with 40% of frontline employees saying they receive training no more than once per year, even though seven out of 10 employees would welcome access to mobile, app-based learning solutions. That contributes to a sense of stagnation that’s especially trying for younger workers, with over a third of Millennials — who now make up three quarters of frontline workers — saying they feel unfulfilled in their roles.

“Frontline teams are the engine of our economy, but they’re sorely underserved by organizations that fail to invest in new digital technologies,” says Fabrice Haiat, CEO of YOOBIC. “YOOBIC customers who integrate mobile apps into their deskless employees’ workflows are realizing significant gains in operational excellence, customer experience, and sales.”

The YOOBIC survey, conducted in December 2020, interviewed 1,000 frontline workers from the UK, US and Canada, across industries including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and construction.

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