Latest research by leading employee engagement expert WorkBuzz has revealed a stark employee engagement divide between frontline employees who have to be physically present at work, and office-based employees who have the option of working remotely.
In The State of Employee Engagement 2021’ report*, which delivers the latest insights from over 300 organisational leaders, HR professionals, and industry experts, almost half of organisations with mostly frontline/on-site workers (49 per cent) have seen engagement decline over the past year. This is in sharp contrast to engagement levels in mostly office-based companies (in which remote working is an option), with just 31 per cent of organisations having witnessed a drop in engagement, and most organisations (35 per cent) reporting that employee engagement has increased.
“COVID has put intense pressure on frontline workers. As they’re unable to work remotely and have had to cope with health and wellbeing concerns including burnout, this has predictably impacted engagement, and we’re now seeing the inevitable fallout,” says Steven Frost, CEO and Founder of WorkBuzz.
Just 25 per cent of companies with mostly frontline workers have seen engagement increase over the past 12 months, and 18 per cent report that it’s stayed the same.
Frost comments, “These findings should be a wake-up call to employers with frontline workers as low engagement will lead to their talent walking out the door, and make it even more difficult to recruit. It’s time to prioritise creating a culture where all employees feel valued, their company cares about their wellbeing and they are listened to.”
With the flexibility of homeworking providing office-based workers with distinct work-life balance advantages, WorkBuzz stresses the importance of offering comparable benefits to frontline/on-site workers. These could include how shifts are scheduled, compressed hours, and using apps to modernise how they communicate with their people and get regular feedback.
Frost adds, “Leaders must find ways to better manage frontline workers so that they don’t feel undervalued. With such a shortfall of talent, there’s never been a more important time to become an employer of choice and retain existing employees.”