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Communicating with frontline employees | S4 E7

First published: 28 March, 2023

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Engaging Internal Comms Series 4
Communicating with frontline employees | S4 E7
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Communicating with frontline employees

In this episode we explore frontline workers and how we communicate with them. These are employees who do not usually interact with technology in the way that many of us do. Sometimes this population is referred to as deskless workers. Globally, there are 2.7 billion deskless workers, and they span a number of sectors, including supply chains, manufacturing, health and education.  So what we’re going to explore in this interview is the channels they use and the ones they don’t. The fact is that technology is often one of the things that is a barrier to the 20 to 40 % of the workforce who are frontline. They don’t actually use emails or apps which are one of the main communication channels that we tend to use in our organisations for our employee communications. We’re going to explore the impact of this on turnover and retention, the costs of lost productivity, and also the challenges of having employees who leave the business. Also low adoption numbers of the technologies that we are using to communicate with them can be another indicator of the problems that we have.

Finally, we’re going to look at some of the success criteria of any communications that we should be using with this population that we’re calling frontline or deskless, and the importance, in particular, of two way comms. They also need to understand how they can have a career with the company, a long term career that they can grow and learn and have new opportunities within the company. We also need to communicate to them the disproportionate importance of health and safety and physical safety within the organisation. In this interview we’re going to be talking with a real expert in this area, someone who’s extremely passionate about it and also has a really interesting back story as to what’s led them to doing what they’re doing. I think you’ll find this interview of particular interest if you have a workforce where you have deskless workers or frontline employees.

Guest profile

Muriel Clauson Closs, PhD Is a frontline workforce expert and was named a 2022 Forbes Future of Work 50. She is CEO and Co-founder of Anthill. Muriel has authored scientific publications including the “Future of Work” for the Cambridge Handbook on the Changing Nature of Work. Through her work with the InterAction Council, she has advised world leaders on their workforce policies. Muriel currently serves as an advisory board member for Humans for AI, and as speaker with emerging technology think-tank Singularity University, focusing on the future of work with organisations including the World Bank, and the Milken Institute.

Useful links

Link to a relevant episode of the podcast: https://thebigpicturepeople.co.uk/blog/podcast/communicating-with-offline-employees-s2-e16/

Muriel’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mclauson/

Muriel’s website: https://www.anthill.co/

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