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Many British frontline workers fear job loss from reporting workplace issues

Darren Winterford, SafetyCulture

The majority of British, American and Australian frontline workers (67%) say that they are never, rarely, or only sometimes listened to on the topics that matter to them the most  – operations (54%), safety (46%), and health/wellbeing (49%) – according to new research*. In fact, more than 3/4 (78%) of British frontline workers said they were only sometimes, rarely, or never listened to by management on these topics.

SafetyCulture’s new Feedback from the Field research features the views of British, American and Australian “frontline workers” – defined as individuals who must “physically show up to their job”, including the likes of hospitality, retail, manufacturing, and logistics workers. When it comes to taking action, just over one in four American and Australian frontline workers (27% each) feel empowered to take action and solve an issue themselves. In Britain this number is even lower, with only just over one in five frontline workers feeling empowered to tackle issues (22%).

Frontline workers fear job loss when reporting COVID-19 adherence issues
Job loss as a result of reporting a safety or quality issue to management, including adherence to COVID-19 protocols, is a real concern for many frontline workers. Almost half of Australian frontline workers (48%), more than a third of American frontline workers (36%), and more than one in five British frontline workers (22%) agreed this is a potential scenario.

To tackle this issue, SafetyCulture has developed its operations platform to empower staff to report issues, giving them a voice within the workplace. Its new capture and notify functionality further connects leaders and frontline workers to help address under-reporting. The technology allows for sensitive feedback to be shared via anonymous entry.

Lack of action prevents frontline feedback
Fears aside, over one in three frontline workers (34%) indicate a belief that “nothing will be done” prevents them from providing feedback within the workplace. More than one in four said they lacked confidence management would address safety issues they raise.

Bob Butler, Global General Manager of SafetyCulture said, “While frontline workers have kept our nations running over the past 18 months, many don’t feel that their voices are valued. It’s clear that these critical workers want a say in the operations and running of their workplaces. Two-way communication between frontline workers and management is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is a business imperative. Leaders need to be arming their teams with the right tools to allow them to add value, be heard, and stay safe.”

Training beats a competitive holiday allowance
As many organisations navigate The Great Resignation of 2021, SafetyCulture’s research also reveals that quality training is of key importance to frontline workers when considering a new role. Nearly all British frontline workers (92%) describe quality training as important, even ahead of a competitive holiday allowance which 61% see as a top priority.

Darren Winterford, CEO of EdApp, an award-winning mobile-first training platform, said, “It’s important to clarify that deskless workers aren’t after any old training. Summoning teams to a white-walled room to digest endless slides no longer cuts it. Mobile learning is quickly becoming the most accessible way to get training out to those in the field or working remotely. For training to be a successful retention and recruitment tool, it needs to be an experience learners will actually enjoy and be in sync with today’s digital habits.”

 

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