Frontline Workplaces: Experiencing High Turnover? The Cause May Be Your Manager

It’s no secret that industries with frontline workers are struggling to hire and retain talent. Frontline positions require workers to perform their job in person, which talent may view as a drawback in a competitive labor landscape where many industries offer hybrid or remote work. Cash bonuses and free college tuition are among the incentives businesses have used to attract potential candidates, but lucrative benefits aren’t what entice workers to stay at a workplace.

What does it take to retain frontline talent? It’s the connection and support from their frontline managers. This is a top insight from the Workday-sponsored report “Frontline Workers: How to Connect, Enable, and Support Them in the Modern Workplace.”

Ben Eubanks, head researcher at Lighthouse Research and Advisory and author of the report, says, “We’re seeing this big focus on the value managers bring to those workers, the priority those workers put on that relationship, and how much that worker-manager relationship influences the entire spectrum of how frontline employees feel about the company.”

The report’s findings, based on a survey of 2,000 workers in the U.S. and 1,000 workers from across Australia, Canada, China, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK, make it clear that support from frontline managers is vital to creating an employee experience that fosters retention.

In fact, having supportive frontline managers should be a business priority for any company that wants to reduce chronic turnover, an issue that impacts its bottom line. Enabling frontline managers to enhance employee experience is an indicator of high-performing companies, an insight highlighted in another Workday study focused on frontline workforce management. The findings in that study highlight how companies focused on the employee experience are seeing lower frontline turnover than the historical average.

“The truth is, it’s much harder to hire people these days, and so retention is the other side of that coin,” Eubanks says. “How do we keep our people? The easiest job to fill is the one where you don’t lose the person in the first place.”

Why the Role of Frontline Managers Must Evolve

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