Employee Engagement

Communicate with a diverse workforce: Engaging deskless workers

November 1, 2023

Diverse workforce

RESOURCES Communicate with a diverse workforce: Engaging deskless workers

Are you looking for ways to effectively engage with your diverse deskless workforce? Deskless workers are an integral part of the modern workforce, but they have unique challenges that make engaging them more difficult than other employees. In this article, we will discuss the importance of employee engagement for deskless workers and provide effective strategies that can be used to engage them.

What is a deskless workforce?

Deskless workers are those who don’t have a traditional desk job and may work in a variety of industries like retail, hospitality, healthcare, and manufacturing. They often face unique challenges regarding communication and collaboration with their team due to various factors such as lack of access to technology traditionally found in an office environment, language barriers, or the vast disconnect between their direct managers and their corporate overseers.

However, it is still important deskless workers are able to effectively communicate with their managers and other members of the organization despite often being on different shifts or locations. By incorporating technology into workplace training and communication, companies can develop strategies for engaging these employees and create a healthier workplace environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute their ideas.

A diverse deskless workplace

It is important to note that frontline workers are more diverse compared to their corporate counterparts.

According to Zippia, frontline workers of color are overrepresented in the U.S. making up 41.2% of the workforce population. Frontline jobs can also be both a starting point and an end point for workers, which means folks of all ages represent the frontlines. Confirming this, Zippia cites that the average age of front line workers is 20-30 years old, representing 51% of the front line worker population, and the Center for Economic and Policy Research states that just over one-third (33.9%) of frontline workers are over age 50. When it comes to the gender makeup of the frontline workforce, 62.4% identify as female while 37.6% identify as male.

The diversity of the frontline workforce in the U.S. can be attributed to various factors. These include the accessibility of a majority of entry-level positions, the significance of essential industries such as healthcare, transportation, logistics, retail, and food service in the workforce. This situation may contribute to a diverse frontline workforce, as individuals from various backgrounds are more inclined to take these jobs due to limited opportunities elsewhere.

Understanding the demographic makeup of the deskless workforce is important as the needs of a diverse workforce may alter the ways in which you engage with them.

The benefits of employee engagement for deskless workers

Employee engagement is essential for deskless workers, as it helps to create a more productive and efficient workforce. Engaged employees are more motivated, have higher job satisfaction, and generally stay in their positions longer.

Engaging deskless workers also helps foster better communication between frontline staff and management. For example, service workers can provide valuable insights into customer service issues that can help managers make better decisions about how best to manage customer interactions which can lead to improved customer satisfaction rates.

Effective employee engagement reduces turnover rates in the workplace as it creates a feeling of belonging among employees who may not otherwise have felt connected with the organization. When an employee feels appreciated for his or her contribution, then they are more likely to remain dedicated and loyal to an organization over time instead of seeking employment elsewhere due to a lack of connection or recognition from their employer.

Effective strategies for engaging deskless workers

Effective engagement is ultimately about creating an environment that encourages collaboration and growth among all team members.


Foster open dialogue with your frontline

Fostering an open dialogue between employees and management is essential. This can be achieved by giving employees the chance to provide feedback through surveys or one-on-one meetings and making sure that this input is taken seriously and acted upon when necessary.

Conducting regular surveys helps employers measure worker engagement levels as well as identify areas needing improvement. Most importantly, after collecting data from surveys, action must be taken rather than ignoring suggestions. By addressing feedback and closing that feedback loop, you are showing employees that their opinions are valued. This will lead to continued employee engagement.


Equip managers with the right resources

Managers should be equipped with the necessary tools and resources to ensure that they can effectively communicate with and manage their staff. This includes providing feedback on performance, setting clear expectations for employees, and providing employees with opportunities to take on additional responsibilities and challenges.

Additionally, recognize and reward performance to encourage and motivate employees to continue to grow and develop. This could include recognition programs, rewards, and bonuses for employees who demonstrate outstanding performance. By providing managers with the necessary environment, training, and resources to be effective people leaders, organizations can create a positive working environment for their frontline workers and help them reach their full potential.


Ensure tools and communications accessible

Accessibility in the workplace is especially crucial with your deskless workers. Accessibility at its core means removing barriers that prevent employees from participating fully in their job duties or any workplace activities.

Accessibility might involve making accommodations for employees with visual or auditory impairments, providing multilingual support, or creating user-friendly interfaces for all employees to use. Employee surveys, for example, should be available in multiple languages and should be accessible via any mobile device so that completion isn’t hindered by location, job role, or availability of other devices.

Accessibility is important for ensuring that all employees can easily digest the information they need. To ensure accessibility in communications, organizations should establish their employees’ communication needs, use inclusive language, develop accessible and inclusive written communications, and ensure access and inclusion during in-person and virtual meetings.

An accessible work environment fosters a sense of inclusion and belonging with your workers which can drive engagement.


Leverage technology to drive employee engagement

Utilizing technology is a great way to improve communication and training among workers. Employers can deploy mobile applications, which enable these individuals to access training materials anytime they need it or submit feedback forms easily. Audio recordings during group meetings or trainings make it easier for all participants to follow along without language barriers getting in the way or people with hearing difficulties missing out on important information.

Employee engagement platforms built for your deskless workers can foster bi-drectional communication, ensure employees feedback is heard and actioned on, and improve employee engagement and satisfaction. This then can result in enhanced productivity, improved product quality, higher customer satisfaction rates, and reduced safety incidences.


Engaging deskless workers means engaging a diverse workforce that has different needs than a desk worker. An engaged workforce is essential for creating productive and successful business operations. By leveraging an employee engagement solution, employers can effectively communicate with their workforce. This results in improved productivity, communication, collaboration, job satisfaction, and lower turnover rates. With the right strategy and tools, employers can create a workplace environment that is conducive to frontline worker engagement and ultimately create a more efficient business.

Kayla Pimentel

Kayla Pimentel, | kayla@workstep.com

Kayla Pimentel serves as a Demand Generation Associate at WorkStep. Leveraging her diverse background in sales and marketing, she is enthusiastic about sharing insights about how to make the frontline a better place to work.