Andy G. Schmidt is the CEO at 6i Communication Pte Ltd. Originally from Germany, he has spent 25 years in Singapore and worked for 23 years in the same MNC Siemens in multiple financial roles across several continents. He retired from his corporate duties 10 years back. After getting bored of retirement rather quickly, he started 6i Communication Pte Ltd to bring the Swiss-made Frontline Success System Beekeeper to Singapore and Southeast Asia. He now helps organizations get from Frontline Disconnect to Frontline Success in a hurry while boosting employee engagement and productivity along the way through inclusive two-way internal communication.
Focus is both the strength and the weakness of your organization.
The specialization inherent to organizations creates great efficiencies. But it also deters upstream efforts.
People resist acting on a perceived problem because they feel as though it’s not their place to do so.
What’s odd about upstream work is that, despite the enormous stakes, it’s often optional while downstream activity – the rescues, responses and reactions – is what your work demands of you.
When you spend years responding to problems, you can sometimes overlook the fact that you could be preventing them.
Still, somehow organizations value fighting the fire over preventing the fire.
Let’s pause and take a step back: Nowadays there are no longer just those business categories of B2B or B2C.
It’s all H2H-business. Human to Human business (unless you do sell robots and your company is run by robots who sell robots, but then you would hardly be in that company anyway).
Everything starts with people.
And whether those people are engaged or not matters.
The bad news is that most (79%) are not engaged or even actively disengaged (Gallup Insights).
The great news is your engaged employees could fuel a virtuous cycle.
I call it the Employee-Engagement-Service-Shareholder-Value-Chain (“EESSVC”).
It works like dominoes.
Let’s look at an example from the hospitality sector:
The housekeeper – let’s call her Karen – knows that not only has the room to be clean but that her mission is to make sure every single guest will return to her hotel again and again. She is fully committed to that mission and uses discretionary efforts to contribute her part. Her service level, proficiency and productivity are high. Her attrition risk is low.
And magically the operational and financial KPIs fall into place.
Might your frontline workers have been left behind when it comes to technology solutions that make their lives easier?
Frontline or Non-Desk Workers are typically found at the forefront of your business. They work on shop floors, in factories, in the field, the air and on the road.
- Generally, don’t have company emails
- Have limited access to the intranet
- Aren’t synced in and feel disconnected
Ironically, these are the people doing some of the most important work at your company.
In fact, 𝗶𝘁’𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗼𝘆𝗲𝗲𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘀𝗲 – 𝗼𝗿 don’t.
You can spend a zillion dollars on advertising, but the customer experience is shaped by that drive-thru cashier or hotel associate or customer service rep.
Those frontline workers are the face of your brand, so they need to know what it is they’re supposed to stand for.
But 74% of non-desk workers believe that there are barriers to communication at work.
These barriers between employees at corporate headquarters and those working on the frontline prevent valuable ideas and innovations from getting through.
𝗔 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘀𝘂𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗮𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗽 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗺.
Frontline employees need more two-way communication from and with leadership – directly.
And they have a few other needs that are quite different from the typical office worker.
Failing to address those different needs is a significant oversight in terms of the organization’s overall performance.
In fact, companies outright fail in Diversity & Inclusion if they don’t work on improving the employee experience for their non-desk frontline workers too.
Time to elevate the frontline employee experience and lead them to Frontline Success.
Let’s build a new deskless reality that is not a second-class version of deskbound work but, instead, second to none.
We owe it to the people who power our lives.
With a platform that facilitates communication on mobile devices, you will allow them to have better, more meaningful conversations with leaders and with each other.
With direct feedback from associates on what works and what doesn’t your internal 2-way communication platform becomes the glue that holds the organization together.
The platform becomes your storytelling App to inform, inspire and involve everyone on the team consistently.
And it will impact the way employees perceive the organization, which in turn increases their satisfaction and workforce retention.
Because companies that neglect frontline workers’ needs and concerns are bound to lose their respect first and their contribution second.
Might an Enterprise-Grade Communications Platform be a “Must-Have” and no longer just a “Nice to Have” in 2023?
Managers focus on the numbers. Leaders focus on the team
How engaged your frontline (s)heroes are (‘upstream’) makes all the difference in all those financial KPIs that managers like to focus their attention on (‘downstream’).
An employee is always at the root cause.
So in these critical times, if you don’t address the upstream reasons people are leaving, more might be off in a flash like a fluffle of rabbits at the sight of danger.
Put simply, employees deserve to have access to the tool they need to get their jobs done on time, in the best, simplest and most enjoyable way.
Once you focus on our frontline people’s needs, they will respond by meeting yours.
People at the center is a value driver, not a cost driver.
Let me end with some questions for you:
Why do your efforts skew so heavily toward reaction than prevention?
Why is fighting the fire valued over preventing the fire?
Could the key to solving the most common ‘downstream’ problems be found ‘upstream’?
Why don’t we go ‘upstream’ and put focus and resources into fulfilling those needs of our frontline employees to make them stay?
How might we reward and support efforts that prevent problems? Even if they are not as tangible or easier to reward.
Are YOU the person to improve the system from within at your workplace?
Are YOU the one who has the will, fire and thought process to think bigger and in systems to figure out that there is a problem and actually make an attempt at solving it upstream?
How can YOU go upstream to fix ‘it’?
Could 2023 be YOUR year to start on ‘it’?
Not doing something ‘upstream’ has consequences – sometimes huge ones.
“When you focus mainly on people, results will come; when you focus mainly on results, people will go.” – Alexander Trost – author ‘Intentionally Becoming Different’