Employee Engagement

Employee engagement platforms for the frontline: What to know before you buy

October 17, 2023

Frontline workers for airline.

RESOURCES Employee engagement platforms for the frontline: What to know before you buy

Navigating the HR and operations maze demands a laser-focused attention on one crucial component: employee engagement. Particularly for frontline workers, the lifeblood of the organization, sustaining and bolstering their engagement translates directly to tangible business outcomes. Think of frontline workers as the superheroes who talk to and help customers every day, who keep the supply chain running smoothly, and who your brand’s image relies on. So, how do we make sure these superheroes are listened to, appreciated, and always learning new things?

That’s where Employee Engagement Platforms (EEPs) come into the picture. EEPs are toolboxes that help businesses keep their teams working smoothly and happily. But, picking the right toolbox isn’t easy because there are so many choices out there! In this article, we’re going to explore what’s important to think about before choosing an EEP. That way, your frontline team is not merely well-supported, but is thriving.

The significance of frontline employee engagement

Imagine entering a store and being welcomed with true warmth and knowledgeable, efficient help. That first impression is often the one that sticks, isn’t it? These individuals operate at the center of company and customer, they are the embodiment of a brand’s values and customer experience. Their interactions, whether they are solving issues, providing information, or merely sharing a friendly exchange, don’t just represent their roles – they are the hallmark of the organization. They translate to each customer’s perception of the brand, they ensure trucks arrive on time, that shelves are stocked, and that your average customer can trust that they will find what they are looking for.

However, generating this positive engagement isn’t something that naturally happens. It is crafted through a conscious effort to make frontline workers feel valued, acknowledged, and seen. When an employee feels recognized and understands their impact within the larger organization, it sparks motivation and a genuine connection with the company. This is precisely where EEPs come into play, acting not just as tools for communication or training but as catalysts that elevate frontline workers, transforming them from standard employees to empowered, motivated brand advocates.

Key features of employee engagement platforms

The key to keeping frontline employees truly involved and connected lies largely in leveraging the right tools. This is where EEPs make a grand entry, emerging as crucial tools designed to boost the morale and efficiency of these invaluable workers. Let’s dive into some key features of these platforms. It’s important to keep in mind that some EEPs opt for an all-inclusive feature set while others offer only a specific set of features but with advanced functionality. Choosing the right EEP or collection of EEPs will vary greatly based on the needs of your organization.

Communication and collaboration: Think about how we all love being in the loop with our friends through various apps and platforms. In the workplace, effective communication is equally crucial. EEPs create digital spaces where employees can effortlessly communicate, collaborate, and share vital information. This isn’t just about chatting but also about working together on projects, exchanging ideas, and ensuring everyone is on the same page about company news and updates.

Recognition and rewards: We all appreciate a pat on the back for a job well done! EEPs often include features that allow team members and managers to recognize and appreciate each other’s efforts. This could be through shout-outs, awards, or even tangible rewards. Such recognition fuels motivation and a sense of belonging among employees.

Training and development: Picture a library that is always open and always accessible. EEPs often have sections where employees can access training materials, workshops, and courses at any time, enabling them to continually learn and grow in their roles. This constant avenue for development not only enhances their skills but also opens up pathways for career progression.

Feedback mechanism: Imagine if you could drop your thoughts into a suggestion box, knowing they will be read and considered. Feedback systems within EEPs offer exactly that – a space where employees can voice their opinions, concerns, or ideas, ensuring they feel heard and valued.

Scheduling: This is particularly pivotal for frontline workers who often work in shifts. EEPs facilitate efficient scheduling of shifts and work hours, ensuring fairness, accommodating preferences where possible, and ensuring that everyone knows their work schedules well in advance.

EEP platforms act as a multifaceted tool, bridging gaps, fostering a positive culture, and ensuring a smooth operational flow. By prioritizing these elements, companies create an ecosystem where employees are motivated, customers are satisfied, and the business thrives.


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Factors to consider when choosing a platform

Choosing the right EEP for your company can be likened to selecting the best pair of shoes for a long journey. You want something that’s comfortable, fits just right, and can withstand the miles ahead. Let’s consider the factors that go into making that crucial decision.

Think of usability, just as a shoe should be easy to put on and take off, the EEP must be user-friendly. You don’t want a platform where your team ends up spending more time figuring out how to navigate it rather than genuinely benefiting from its features. Similarly, smooth integration is about ensuring that your new EEP can work harmoniously with other systems or tools your company might already be using. It’s like ensuring your new shoes are versatile enough to go with different outfits you own.

Customization is another vital aspect. Everyone has their unique requirements, the platform should align with your business goals and be flexible enough to cater to your shifting needs. It’s essential to opt for a platform with robust security measures as well, a platform that can meet your industry-specific security requirements. This includes finding a platform that protects employee’s conversations, maintains confidentiality, and connects your workforce without sacrificing privacy.

Vendor support also plays a significant role. Imagine if a shoe starts to come apart; you’d hope the store provides good customer service to address the issue. In the same way, if there are problems or questions about the platform, you’d want to count on the EEP provider’s support team to assist promptly. Additionally, your EEP should provide ample resources, such as Knowledge Base articles, to help educate your team on the intricacies of the platform.

Implementation and adoption strategy

Introducing a new EEP into a company is similar to opening a new branch or department. You can’t simply declare it open and expect things to run smoothly without proper planning and setup. Just as with any business expansion or change, a clear strategy is essential for ensuring successful implementation and widespread adoption of the EEP. Your implementation and adoption strategy should include:


Laying the foundation (implementation)

Imagine you’re setting up a new office space. Before people can start working there, you’d need to set up desks, install computers, and make sure the lights and phones work. Similarly, the first step in implementing an EEP is ensuring it’s properly integrated into the company’s existing systems. It should be compatible with other tools the company uses, new processes should be baked into existing workflows, and employee bandwidth to learn new tools should be taken into account.


Orientation sessions (training)

When new employees join a company, they usually go through an orientation to understand their roles and the company’s processes. In the same vein, once the EEP is in place, training sessions are essential. These sessions acquaint employees with the platform’s features, allowing them to understand its functionalities and how it can aid their daily tasks.


Feedback loop

Just as businesses rely on customer feedback to improve their products or services, feedback from employees regarding the EEP is crucial. By understanding what works and what doesn’t, adjustments can be made to enhance the platform’s efficiency and user-friendliness.


Continuous growth (continuous improvement)

In business, there’s always room for growth and improvement. Market demands change, and businesses adapt. Similarly, the EEP should not remain static. As the company’s needs evolve, the platform should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains relevant and beneficial.

Integrating an EEP into a company’s operations isn’t a simple plug-and-play task. It requires foresight, careful planning, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By approaching its implementation and adoption as strategically as any other major business initiative, companies can ensure that their investment in an EEP yields meaningful and lasting benefits.

Navigating the realm of employee engagement platforms requires a methodical approach. From understanding frontline employee dynamics, exploring pivotal platform features, to strategizing effective implementation—each phase demands deliberate planning and execution. It is essential to understand these platforms are not merely a tool but an integrated system, harmonizing with the operational landscape.

Tom Goyette

Tom Goyette, Product Marketing Manager | tom.goyette@workstep.com

Tom Goyette is a Product Marketing Manager at WorkStep. With experience in start-up and enterprise level SaaS and eCommerce organizations, Tom excels at managing and creating content, marketing, and analytics. Tom believes people are at the center of every great organization and is eager to share stories that highlights the value of the employee voice.