Aimee O'Leary
Written by
Aimee O'Leary

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.


Julie Ann Sullivan, Speaker, Author, Catalyst of Culture & Founder of Learning Never Ends

There is almost a class distinction between office/remote workers and frontline workers. It reminds me of the divide between blue collar and white-collar designations. The truth of the matter is, both are essential. Unfortunately, too many times in the past, the front-line worker got the short end of the cultural stick. That isn’t going to work anymore.

The pandemic has given many of us a new respect for nurses, doctors, caregivers and teachers. We have a new perspective for the people who keep the gas flowing, clean up after us, keep the lights on, build our homes and fight our fires.

We cannot function well as a society without our frontline workers. They are NOT lesser than the people who work in the office or remotely. Frontline workers don’t have the luxury of choosing the flexibility of working remote. Let’s appreciate the ones that show up.

For businesses, cities and, in fact, our whole society to function well out of this world crisis, we need to change our outlooks. Businesses will need to acknowledge the importance of everyone in their workforce no matter what their position is if they want to succeed and endure.

Here are a few ideas for both groups of employees:

Flexibility:
Office or Home – What hours people work; does it matter if they can get the work done?
Frontline – Acknowledge that people have a life outside of work. Don’t dictate shifts, work with your employees on finding a schedule that all can adhere to.

Training and Tools:
Office or Home – Make sure people have the tools they need to do their job to the best of their ability.
Frontline – Give them the words to use with unruly, rude and angry people. You did not hire conflict resolution specialists

Fun:
Office or Home – There are a multitude of opportunities for online activities that engage and give people a break.
Frontline – Find ways to have fun at work. It can be simple and your customers will appreciate it too.

Leadership training:
How leadership engages and inspires their workplace now includes being vulnerable, having empathy, and being willing to listen while serving their best customers, their workforce. Help them learn how to do that.

We are never going back to “Normal”. That concept has changed. It is the responsibility of every organization to not grieve the past, but to embrace the new tomorrow with a fresh start on how to recruit and retain good talent. If you don’t, someone else will.


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