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Date posted: 01st November 2021

01st November 2021

The Great Employee Engagement Divide – Engaging Frontline Workers – Helen Bissett

The Great Employee Engagement Divide – Engaging Frontline Workers – Helen Bissett

This snippet is part of our Ebook The great Employee Engagement Divide – Engaging Frontline Workers.  Advice and suggestions from our Top 101 influencers. You can download the full eBook with all the advice here.


Helen Bissett Founder, Managing Director H&H Agency

I first heard the notion that the front-line were becoming more disengaged whilst working with a FMCG client in the middle of Lockdown. With a product to produce, many of their employees did not have the choice to work from home. You can’t make or deliver 100’s of thousands of biscuits from your dining room table. Not yet anyway. As these frontline employees contended with reduced public transport and childcare facilities, as well as putting their own health at risk every day, it’s easy to imagine how a sense of ‘unequalness’ could arise.

Add to the mix the fervour of focus that was directed towards the workers at home, and the zealous-like debates around how to get blended working, working – is it that surprising that the frontline folks may have started to feel a little left out? What about us? We’re the ones that are keeping the lights on whilst you stay safe and comfortable in your front room. And now you’re moaning about having to come back to work…

Maybe it is time to put ‘Frontline First’ for a bit. Why wouldn’t you begin communication and engagement at the front line, rather than seeing them as repositories at the end of a top-down cascade? Create the time and space for them to express what they are thinking and feeling, rather than saying it’s too hard to free them up, or adding a measly three minutes onto the team brief agenda.

Engage with frontline employees in ways that will capture and keep their attention. Talk about the things that matter to them, in a way that works for them – not just watered-down content from comms ‘released’ higher up the organisation.

The frontline is often the lifeblood of any organisation. They’re the ones making the product, delivering the service, talking to customers, living the brand promise. They have something valuable to offer that can’t come from anywhere else. The least we can do is make and take time to listen.