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Strengthening the frontline squad - Complete guide for frontline workforce development
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Strengthening The Frontline Squad – Complete Guide For Frontline Workforce Development

“Hi, Good Morning. Could you please give me the following medicine,” the customer said and handed over the prescription to the pharmacist (frontline worker). 

“Sure”, replied the pharmacist and gave him seven strips of Clarinex. 

When the customer reached home and gave the medicine to his father, he realised the pharmacist had handed him the wrong medication. He had to ride 11KM back to get the Clarinex replaced with Celebrex. He was so annoyed that he wrote a negative review on Google while waiting at the pharmacy store. 

Such errors by frontline workers trigger negative reviews and affect the reputation of the store or company. 

Being the link between the customers and the company, the frontline team needs real-time attention and skilling opportunities to put their best foot forward. 

One of India’s leading pharmacy retail chains valued the importance of frontline enablement; they implemented the best skilling suite for the overall development of their distributed workforce. This helped them keep their frontline workforce up-to-date on essential matters like how to stock up medicines, prescribe the right drugs etc.

Customer satisfaction is dependent on the frontline’s performance. So frontline workforce development is of paramount importance in today’s competitive landscape. 

Frontline Attrition Nightmare 

Whether it’s an entrepreneur, CLO or an employee, everybody is aware of the Great Attrition 2021. Most of the frontline employees have been resigning due to job dissatisfaction. 

As per a survey, almost 41% of workers globally are thinking of handing in their notice. 

Well, the frontline workforce has abundant options when it comes to job opportunities. 

More than 50% of employees feel they can find another job in the next six months. 

Once during a cab ride, I heard the driver speaking on the phone that he was not satisfied with his current job. The company’s app had advanced features that he couldn’t operate efficiently. The complexity of the app led to delays in pick-up and unsatisfactory service. The lack of training is affecting his performance. He was so frustrated that he was ready to quit without having any offer in hand. 

As per research,  31% of employees have quit their job within the first six months of starting.  

After investing time in hiring and introducing the distributed workforce to your product and processes, it would surely be exasperating to go through the same cycle all over again. You end up losing time, productivity and valuable resources when the employee decides to leave the company. Moreover, frontline workforce turnover even harms the customer experience. So, It is pivotal to identify and fill the gaps where frontlines need support to reduce the attrition rate and offer utmost customer satisfaction. 

The disconnect between business and frontline 

There is a huge disconnect between what the business wants and where the frontline is headed. 

Moreover, the frontline on the field isn’t even aware of what’s happening in the company. Post pandemic, the business models have changed, and new roles and responsibilities have evolved. Your distributed workforce should have clarity over the expectation framework for delivering the best results. Frontline needs to be aligned with the new processes and product updates as they directly coordinate with the customers. 

No proper Onboarding process in place 

Onboarding is crucial to lead the new hires in the right direction from the beginning. Unfortunately, most companies do not have proper onboarding in place. Moreover, companies that hire 1000 plus employees on a weekly basis, are not able to provide consistent onboarding to this distributed workforce spread across tier 2 and tier 3 cities. 

It is crucial to have a structured onboarding process to ensure that the frontline starts meeting the business goals as soon as possible. No matter whether your employees are in Delhi or Mumbai they should follow the same process.  The onboarding should be available in different languages so that the distributed workforce who are not fluent in standard languages like English/Hindi do not face any hurdle while onboarding. 

Frontline does not receive the development opportunities they deserve 

There is a paradigm shift witnessed in the way businesses function now. Conventional processes have been revamped, and new technologies have been adopted to compete in the post-covid era of continuous innovation. 

Unfortunately, despite being at the forefront, frontline employees are not given the attention they deserve to thrive and grow. They are the ones most affected by digital disruption.  

The survey of more than 1,000 employees indicates nearly 1/3rd of the frontline workforce do not receive any formal workplace training. 

Kuljit Chadha, the Co-founder and COO of Disprz, highlighted an interesting statistics in the webcast – Upskilling frontline teams for business growth that – 

“ 70 to 75% of the world’s workforce is frontline but the investment in technology for this workforce is less than 15%”

The frontline being in the centre of disruption and evolution, need the right learning opportunities to unlock their full capabilities. 

Empowering frontline with effective upskilling and reskilling 

Frontline employees are boots-on-the-ground executors of various business strategies and agendas. It is imperative to upskill and reskill them in real-time to make the most of this valuable resource. 

While considering upskilling and reskilling the frontline employees, it is important to think about how you will deliver the learning material to the frontline. 

Most frontline workers are on the field; they find it challenging to find extra time to go back to the office and focus on their development. So it is pivotal to connect to a platform that is able to make upskilling and reskilling a part of the frontline’s work routine. 

The distributed workforce should be able to access information at any time from the device of their choice. One of the leading retail firms used Disprz, a skilling suite to provide anytime content that the employees could access at any hour of the day. Due to the self-paced module in the learning platform, the company witnessed an increase in the adoption rate. 

As per research, completions for self-enrolled courses are 82% compared to 34% for assigned courses for all learners.

8 best practices for frontline employee training, upskilling and reskilling 

Frontline being the strong pillar of the organization requires real-time training, upskilling and reskilling to excel at their job and take up new responsibilities. 

We spoke to several CLO, HR and Learning & Development teams to garner more insights on frontline workforce development. 

Based on the research, here are the best practices to make your frontline employees future-ready. 

1. Well-planned, faster onboarding 

Ambiguous, obsolete or incomplete instructions are bound to confuse the new hire. Be it delivery personnel or a factory executive; they need a clear map to get to speed quickly. A well-structured onboarding is crucial to save time and help the frontline gain confidence and skills to perform their job efficiently. Employees who have good product knowledge and understand how things function in an organisation can add value and contribute to its growth. 

A well-structured onboarding is even more crucial for businesses having multiple branches. It is important to provide the same onboarding experience to frontline hires in different branches. Modern learning solutions are not only renowned for their upskilling capability but even for creating impactful onboarding. For instance, with Disprz, you can create a five-day onboarding drip journey. 

On the first day, the frontline can read resources about your company culture, policies and vision. 

On the second day, s/he can go through PPT to understand the customers and the common pain points. 

On the third day, the employee can watch the video to understand the product and its various features. 

On the fourth day, the frontline can listen to podcasts to learn about the market and the latest trends. 

On the fifth day, s/he can take an assessment. 

Through deep analytics like productivity score and skill score, you can determine the time-to-productivity of the frontline and take real-time actions to reduce it. 

2. KPI based coaching

KPI based coaching is the best way to gauge if the frontline is on the right track. First, you identify the role of the learner. then map KPI’s according to the role, and then link it back to modules/skillsets that will support his KPIs. When the person falters on lags behind in reaching his targets, the manager gets notified to provide him extra coaching to get him on track. 

Nowadays, you’ll find an advanced feature in LXP where you can set a target value to track the KPI. This can serve as an early indicator to coach in time for filling the performance gap. Whether you have a small or large team, you can easily see the KPI score of each team member on the learner’s dashboard. The low score can work as a red flag to step in and provide timely coaching. Most LXP even provide a detailed coaching history to view the employee strength and improvement area and plan the coaching accordingly. 

3. Multilingual content  

Most of the employees avoid training and upskilling programs because they don’t understand the language. Maximum frontline employees live in tier 2 or 3 cities where regional language work best. If the same learning programs are presented in their local language, they are highly likely to engage with it. 

So opt for a learning solution that supports multi-lingual content. Make sure you limit the use of jargon and wordplays while creating courses in different languages. Try to make the learning programs as simple as possible so that the frontline can easily understand. 

4. Microlearning 

Microlearning is one the best ways to bring training in the flow of work for the frontline.

Through short, engaging content, they can conveniently learn at any hour of the day. For instance, there aren’t many customers entering the store in the afternoon, so the retail sales rep can easily consume knowledge nuggets during that time. 

Whether it’s an industry trend or a new business procedure, you can easily take it to the frontline and keep them updated through microlearning. 

5. Mobile learning 

Frontline being the soul of the company, needs to perform their routine tasks correctly. Mistakes from their end can jeopardise the reputation of the company. However, being on the field, they need a tool that fits right into their schedule. Rather than relying on obsolete lengthy training methods, you can leverage some advanced tools. 

Mobile learning is one such solution that can help the distributed workforce learn on the go. With a wide array of courses at their fingertips, frontline can easily take a course at their convenient time. Mobile learning helps break the cycle of learning and forgetting. Frontline can effortlessly learn something new and apply it to work. Various courses on mobile can help the frontline keep pace with the changing trends in the market as well as the company. 

6. Gamified learning 

Gamification has captured the attention of several businesses. Starbucks uses the gamification element in its reward app, where customers have to earn points to claim prizes. The impactful gamification strategy can be used even in learning to engage your frontline employees. 

Gamification is a fun way of learning. You can bring your distributed workforce on a single platform and have interactive sessions. Through a roulette wheel or a quiz, you can test their knowledge about a product or check who is aware of the current industry trends. Through leaderboard, you can strike healthy competition between your frontline employees and propel them to work harder. 

7. Blended learning 

The frontline cannot be confined to just classroom training. Blended learning can help boost their overall growth. A perfect mixture of classroom and self-paced learning can help the frontline in enhancing their skills. Disprz being an AI-powered learning solution, offers recommendations to your frontline at different levels. So they can explore the content that interests them. Besides, you can have multiple formats on a single platform. For instance, a frontline can watch a video, then read a blog, then watch a podcast and then take an assessment, 

Moreover, most of the frontline team do not have proper bandwidth. So they can easily download and access content offline.

8. Assessment based learning 

Are your frontline employees engaging with your courses? 

Are they benefitting from the learning material that you are providing?

Where are the frontline employees in the learning journeys? 

You can find out answers to these and many other questions through in-depth analytics. Just creating a wide array of learning material isn’t the end of the road when it comes to training the frontline workforce. You need to assess the employees, track their proficiency level and then create effective learning programs to improve the performance of your employees. 

Conclusion

If given the right attention, frontline can contribute to your organization’s growth. So try to create a culture of continuous learning for your frontline employees with impactful on-the-job training. Disprz an all in one skilling suite can help you transform your skilling journey. 

Using its extensive features you can effectively onboard, upskill and reskill your frontline employees. 

With this AI-powered solution, you can personalize learning for your frontline squad and motivate them to expand their skillset. 

Through in-depth analytics inside this intuitive tool, you can identify improvement areas and enhance your learning and development. 

Whether you are looking for frontline’s learning management system or frontline’s experience platform, Disprz can provide the best of both worlds. See a preview and experience Disprz in action to understand how it works. 

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