Where did all the frontline workers go? Recent research shows 42% of companies are seeing higher than usual turnover among hourly frontline workers. Organizations with frontline workers “where employees are less likely to find purpose in their work” have been particularly affected.
The pandemic and shifting worker expectations amplify the shortage of frontline workers for many employers. The following two considerations can pull your recruiting efforts ahead of the rest.
Understand Frontline Workers’ Needs
Many new frontline workers are young adults. This generation behind Millennials—now called Gen Z—has its own set of wants, needs, and expectations. The generation is the most diverse and the most digitally savvy among all age groups. They tend to research and form opinions about employers long before the first interview. And their expectations are high. Really high. For more helpful insights, check out this SHRM article.
Frontline workers of all generations continue to cite pay and flexibility as their main concerns. Of course, workers at all levels repeat those same requests, and employers are starting to listen. Mostly. But who are you leaving out of the equation?
“Our research has found that 70% of companies are introducing more flexible working arrangements, but most of these programs target the professional workforce rather than hourly workers,” says Mercer Partner Mary Ann Sardone. It’s essential to continue to find ways to offer flexibility to all workers—including frontline workers. Many of these workers remain without consistent childcare or eldercare, and others are going to school and working simultaneously.
Health and safety continue to be factors as well. As the pandemic rages on, frontline workers want to know that their health and safety are respected and supported. This need may even be subconscious. Burnout, anxiety and even what’s being called COVID PTSD can cause frontline workers to veer away from jobs that generally don’t feel safe.
“Beyond that, you need to pay well,” says The HT Group Founder and CEO Mark Turpin. “Employers like Amazon are open books, and they can offer generous perks like tuition reimbursement. Sit down with your recruiting partner and listen—really listen—to what they have to say about compensation for the jobs you want to fill. Throw out old assumptions and strategies that worked ‘before’ and refocus on the cost-savings of recruiting happy employees who will stick around.”
Show And Tell
For years, we’ve been on a mission to educate and change job-seeker perceptions regarding hidden dream careers that can start as frontline work. Check out our latest blog post on the subject here. The first hurdle in attracting frontline workers is making them aware these jobs exist. Then, the challenge is to convince them that these jobs support their lifestyles and career trajectories.
How can someone with their eye on operations management one day benefit as a warehouse packer right out of high school? How can an office assistant or receptionist use that position as a stepping stone? Make those connections for job seekers and help them envision how the job works into their plans. Maybe your organization offers industry-leading apprentice or training programs or helps support employees seeking an advanced degree. Perhaps you’ve had employees reach their career goals while serving as janitors, call center reps, or other frontline workers, thanks to the non-traditional work hours the jobs provide. Put HR, recruiters and your marketing team into a room together to find ways to share their stories and create spaces for inspiration on your career site, social media, job listings and elsewhere to support your recruiting efforts.
“The work experience needs to be a good one for all, so examine that experience through the lens of different population segments…There is a lot of diversity in the hourly/frontline population, from working parents to students to seniors,” says Sardone. “Don’t forget that people want to see a future with their employers and whether there is advancement potential. Letting employees know about potential career paths goes a long way in attracting good talent.”
If you haven’t lately, regroup with your HT Group recruiter and investigate new ways to attract and retain valuable frontline workers. If you need to step back further and work on company culture, HR policies and more to attract suitable candidates, our advisory services can help steer you in the right direction.