Watch: The Key to an Engaged Frontline Workforce

What exactly is an “engaged” frontline workforce in warehousing and logistics? And what is its impact on the business? Steven Klima, head of revenue enablement with WorkStep, offers a perspective.

Salaried office workers are frequently asked to give feedback about their jobs through regular annual surveys, but the same effort needs to be applied to hourly frontline employees, Klima says. For that workforce, it’s important to take a “milestone-based approach, so that you can address their concerns early and often.” Such an effort becomes increasingly important as the nature of hourly work becomes more dynamic.

An ”engaged” workforce is one in which management has “an understanding of the voice of the employee,” says Klima. “What they’re liking and not liking about the role, so that you can create a decent workspace that allows them to flourish.”

Frontline workers in environments such as the warehouse are becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain. And that situation gives them more of a voice in how and where they’ll work. Klima quotes a survey by the Harvard Business Review, showing that an engaged workforce is 90% less likely to turn over. A stable workforce means better productivity, fewer quality and safety issues and, ultimately, a higher level of customer satisfaction, he says. 

Chief among the priorities of frontline employees today is flexibility of scheduling. They want more control over the number of shifts and when they occur. In some cases, Klima says, they’re also interested in receiving same-day pay and more “creative” total rewards packages.

For frontline workers, pay satisfaction is lower now as a priority than in the past, Klima says. That’s partially the result of inflation, as well as a more competitive market for talent. But employees can also focus on other concerns such as benefits and career growth opportunities, he says.

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