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Managers must address the complexity crisis facing frontline workforce

The new report, based on an international survey of 6,935 workers, managers, and executives from industries with frontline workers, identifies five key areas where frontline workers and managers are facing increased pressures in today’s complex world of work.

With an estimated 70-80% of the workforce not sitting behind a desk1, this new research dives into the frontline worker experience to help executives gain insights to better support managers, improve efficiencies, and build trust and loyalty with workers. Conducted by Hanover Research and surveying 6,935 workers, managers, and executives in industries with frontline workers, the findings point to an opportunity to help mitigate frontline risks – including high turnover, avoidable costs, and negative customer experiences – by enabling managers to help solve these challenges.

“Whether it’s workers, managers, or executives – it’s clear that people at all levels of a frontline-focused organisation feel the pain of the growing complexity crisis, with each group experiencing it differently,” said Justine Janssen, Chief Strategy Officer, Dayforce, Inc. “The key to closing the gap is empowering managers with the data, tools, and executive support needed to drive better decision making, increased efficiencies, lower turnover, and optimised performance. This can also help align senior leadership and workers by increasing visibility into the everyday reality of frontline workers and making their work lives better.”

A report* identified five key areas of opportunity for organisations to better support managers and improve the overall performance of their frontline workforce:

  • Support Workforce Planning: As a major driver of turnover, scheduling is a big issue for organisations. Our research found that 89% of managers and 86% of workers said they are likely to leave their current job for a role with a better schedule. Managers need leadership buy-in and support to improve schedule flexibility for workers – and for themselves too.
  • Democratise Data to Make Competitive Pay Decisions: With the rising cost of living, compensation has an outsized impact on turnover. The research found that while most executives (88%) feel they have the data they need to make competitive compensation decisions, managers don’t feel as confident (72%). Organisations should give managers the information they need to make compensation decisions that help reduce turnover, improve recruitment, and continuously focus on fair pay as a fundamental element of the employer/employee relationship.
  • Tackle Labour Shortages and Skills Gaps: Help managers optimise their current workforce by prioritising internal mobility and creating personalised career paths. The research found 65% of workers surveyed want to advance in their company, but they will need to be supported with skills development opportunities to do so.
  • Invest in Workforce Compliance: Nearly all (92%) executives surveyed said their organisation has compliance challenges, and 42% of managers agreed that workforce compliance has become harder over the past two years. Organisations should leverage technology that makes compliance easier to manage and saves time for managers, so they can focus more on people.
  • Lean in with Executive Support to Build Culture and Connection: According to the report, 90% of executives said they feel a moderate or high degree of connection to their employer, compared to just 72% of frontline workers. The employee experience is no longer just a manager’s responsibility, executives must also engage with and listen to workers to help minimise labour shortages that disrupt business continuity.

This survey was conducted online by Hanover Research from April 1, 2024 to May 3, 2024. The study includes responses from 6,935 workers, managers, and executives from 16 different industries with frontline workers in Australia, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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