A Closer Look at the Front-Line Leaders
Front-Line Leaders—which span every industry we surveyed (hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail)—seem to have a greater understanding of how difficult the pandemic has been for their workers. Front-Line Leaders enhance the front-line workforce experience in five ways:
Empowering their front-line workers with more control and flexibility.
Investing in employee-first tools and technology.
Relying on data insights to inform and improve employee experience.
Focusing on front-line workers’ development and well-being.
Listening to their front-line workers’ wants and needs.
By contrast, organizations that are less likely to invest in the front-line worker experience in lieu of the short-term gains of filling positions often do so at the expense of overall organizational outcomes. Like hospitality, the majority of organizations surveyed (56%) are grappling with front-line employee turnover that is higher than the historical average—and half of these organizations (49%) expect even greater turnover in the year ahead.
The Way Forward for Hospitality
For today’s organization heads, now is the time to improve the front-line worker experience, but where should a hospitality leader start? In the hospitality-focused snapshot of the main report, there are two central areas for growth when it comes to stemming the tide of front-line turnover.
First, hospitality leaders need to institute cultural changes so front-line workers feel as valued as back-office employees. As it stands, only 34% of hospitality respondents say that they value front-line staff as much as office staff. Anecdotally, and across industries, many front-line workers feel ignored.
To make people feel valued, you need to show that you value them. This could include many efforts, but offering employees more flexible scheduling options is a big first step. For Front-Line Leaders, providing workers with control and flexibility over their schedules is a high priority, second only to salary incentives. They are 10% more likely to have introduced greater scheduling control for front-line workers in the past two years (39% compared with 29% of organizations overall).
In addition, many hospitality leaders struggle to leverage the people, operational, and financial insights needed to understand the true potential of an engaged front-line workforce. In fact, 33% are unable to connect disparate data sources from across their business. Without a clear view of performance and outcomes, it’s almost impossible to chart the path forward to optimal workforce management.
Front-Line Leaders, across all industries surveyed, recognize the importance of data. The majority (60%) say data guides their evaluation of the front-line worker experience, compared with 46% of organizations overall. And 65% say better access to quality data insights will improve their front-line workforce management, compared with 48% overall.
The challenges of the past two years have brought employee expectations and sentiment to the forefront. Reser says that, at Atrium Hospitality, there is increased awareness regarding the importance of collecting data about employees’ experiences to make informed changes.
“We are now tracking declination reasons,” says Reser. “If we offer a job to a candidate and they decline, why is that? If it’s due to wages, we need to look at our offer. Now, job descriptions are being reevaluated constantly based on the feedback.”
Read the main report “Empathy and Empowerment: The New Front-Line Experience” or the industry snapshot “Flexibility and Control: The New Hospitality Front-Line Experience.”