In many cases, frontline workers were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. They may have experienced job loss or furlough, or communication issues while businesses worked out how best to manage their workforce. It brought to light the many other challenges they face. As we continue to emerge from the global pandemic, it’s more important than ever that internal communicators focus on improving the employee experience for frontline workers.
In this report by Blink on the state of internal communications for frontline workers, I talk about the need for internal communicators to focus on improving employee experience for this audience. And I look at how success requires strengthening line manager communication skills and providing them with the tools, autonomy, and empowerment necessary to effectively handle change and engage with their teams.
Line managers are the vital link between strategic decision-makers and frontline workers – the people who are responsible for delivering those decisions day-to-day. If they’re able to communicate effectively with their teams, providing them with relevant information is the first step towards effective communication.
Both line managers and leaders play a crucial role in creating a sense of belonging and trust among frontline workers.
I’ve found culture can be incredibly localised, so understanding this is one of the biggest investments communicators need to make. It starts right from the start, with building trust at on-boarding. Alongside this comes the need for equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging; we’re increasingly polarized, so this is a challenging issue. How we treat people has a huge impact.
It’s worth bearing in mind that to reach this audience effectively, we need to avoid invading their “third space”, where they come together to unwind and connect. This requires a creative and personal approach to content, using user-generated content such as authentic stories and photos directly from frontline workers. Investing in fewer communication channels and managing them effectively can also boost engagement among this audience.
Effective internal communications is vital if you want happy frontline workers during times of crisis or transition and with the right tools, it’s possible to successfully engage with your most important asset – your people!
There is a lot more advice and practical takeaways in the full article and report. If this is something you are tackling in your organisation, we offer consultancy to move you from chaos to calm, as well as coaching and mentoring.