How to Transform Your Frontline Workers into Knowledge Workers?
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In a world where knowledge workers are ruling almost every segment, it’s disheartening to see the plight of frontline workers. They have been the backbone, ensuring the smooth functioning of factory floors, power grids, construction sites, and the production and distribution of essential products, all while facing personal risks and ongoing disruptions. Yet, they feel they could contribute more and excel rather than feeling underserved by the technology.
Just as the pandemic served as a catalyst for rapid digital transformation among information workers, current data suggests that we are standing at an inflection point when it comes to frontline workers. And these stats speak the truth:
A significant 46% of frontline workers experience pressure to adapt to new technology due to the fear of job loss. Surprisingly, 55% of them have had to learn new technology on the spot without any formal training or practice.
58% of frontline workers believe that work stress will either stay the same or worsen in the coming year.
About 60% frontline workers believe that their company has room for improvement in prioritizing culture and communication starting from top-level management. Furthermore 51% of non-management frontline employees feel a lack of appreciation and value in their roles within the organization.
So how do companies ensure to retain these frontline workers and make them feel valuable?
In this blog, we will uncover the reasons why frontline workers feel underserved by technology and how companies can prevent this by building a knowledge-sharing culture. Let’s get started!
Reasons Companies Are Finding it Hard to Retain Frontline Workers
Here are the top five reasons why companies are not able to retain frontline workers:
Lack of consistent information and clarity: Surprisingly, a whopping 81% of employees highlight frequent miscommunication, with the situation being worse on the frontlines. This leads to about 75% of frontline workers feeling out of the loop, which can be demoralizing and hinder their ability to perform effectively.
Burnout: A staggering 58% of frontline workers cite burnout as a top reason for leaving their jobs. The continuous pressure and demands of their roles, often compounded by long hours and intense work environments, take a toll on their well-being and job satisfaction.
Feeling unsafe: Frontline workers are less likely to have access to channels where they can confidently express their safety concerns. This lack of communication channels and support systems leaves them feeling unheard and vulnerable, contributing to their dissatisfaction and desire to seek alternative opportunities.
Decreased productivity due to paper-based systems: Most companies are still holding onto the old-school way of using traditional paper-based systems. And the impact can be felt on the frontline workers. Using paper-based instructions not only impact workers productivity, it also impacts the organizational revenue.
Lack of proper training from experts: With experts nearing retiring age, there’s a huge demand to recruit new frontline workers. However, with hiring comes the challenge of training frontline workers. Who is going to train them? How will they become job-ready? These are the challenges that companies face from time to time.
What Companies Can Do Differently to Retain Frontline Workers?
As mentioned, when it comes to frontline workers—the glue between companies and frontline—the data suggests building a knowledge-sharing culture can work wonders. A knowledge-sharing culture where frontline workers have access to information, expertise, and knowledge at the time of need is very crucial in keeping them engaged.
Imagine this: within your organization, frontline employees possess a treasure trove of knowledge that holds the power to benefit the entire company. They possess expertise on topics that even the most seasoned business leaders may lack. They are knowledge workers, who have all the specialties and expertise to do their job. Just think about it!
But here’s the catch: without fostering a knowledge sharing culture, this wealth of valuable insights remains untapped, locked away from the rest of the organization. It’s high time companies should unlock the potential, harness the frontline employees’ expertise, and create a thriving culture of knowledge sharing that elevates their entire organization to new heights.
Why Companies Need Knowledge Sharing Culture for Frontline Workers?
With the old-school style of sharing knowledge, most companies end up hampering their workers productivity. Moreover, using traditional methods can limit the flow of knowledge in an organization, increasing the risk of losing crucial information. This, in turn, results in reduced employee productivity, negatively impacting the organization’s overall growth. Hence, organizations need to create a knowledge-sharing culture for frontline employees, which will help organizations turn frontline workers into knowledge workers.
A Knowledge sharing culture brings numerous benefits to your organization while streamlining frontline training, and it has a positive impact on employees too. When information is shared, it builds a strong relationship, enhances teamwork, and empowers the entire workforce to excel in their respective fields and within the organization. Some other advantages are:
Enhances Employee Engagement and Retention
Creating a knowledge-sharing culture within your organization encourages frontline workers to actively participate in conversations and collaborate effectively. Along with learning new things, they also share valuable insights. This creates a positive environment where workers feel appreciated and improves employee retention rates.
Encourages Collaboration and Communication
Knowledge sharing culture allows geographically dispersed frontline employees to connect with their team members anytime anywhere. This facilitates effective communication within the team. It provides clear instructions on when and how to perform a particular task, ensuring consistency within the organization.
Ease On-Boarding & Training of Frontline Employees
New employees can have immediate access to important information anytime. Through this, employees can quickly gain insights, learn best practices and acquire the necessary skills to perform their roles. This reduces the need for expensive external training sessions and ultimately reduces onboarding and training costs. In addition, it helps organizations adapt to changes more effectively and maintain a competitive edge.
Overall Productivity Increases
The main benefit of a knowledge-sharing culture is that it makes the workplace more productive and effective. When employees feel free to share their knowledge and collaborate, they encounter fewer errors and delays in their work, allowing for greater creativity. This, in turn, keeps your organization running successfully. In short, it is a smarter way to make your frontline worker into a knowledgeable worker.
In a knowledge-sharing environment, employees are equipped with the necessary tools and techniques. This empowers them, and they are equipped to make informed decisions efficiently. Workers can make quick and more informed decisions by providing access to relevant information.
Before it is too late, it is essential to recognize your frontline team members and empower them with the right tools, training, and culture critical to drive business success. Hence, we have shared some ways which would help empower your frontline workers and make them knowledgeable workers.
Five Ways to Turn Frontline Workers into Knowledge Workers
Now that we’ve seen all the challenges and benefits of empowering frontline workers let’s look at some of the best practices you can implement to engage and empower your workforce:
Provide Your Workforce with the Right Digital Tools
To turn frontline workers into knowledge workers, you need to provide your workforce with the right digital workplace tools. This can alleviate frontline burnout, decrease employee turnover, and retain valuable knowledge and insights from experienced workers.
In addition to streamlining the employee experience, digital tools have the power to enhance workers’ knowledge resources by enabling continuous learning while on the job. It may not be possible to take the frontline workforce away from their tasks every day for training. Still, you can provide learning opportunities directly to them through engaging technologies like AR Training. This ensures that team members actively participate and embrace their roles as knowledge workers.
Build Remote Working Resiliency
With the ongoing shift towards remote work, it is crucial to make sure that frontline workers can perform their duties efficiently and have access to the necessary information and tools anywhere, anytime. This reduces the need for additional assistance and other distractions that users are facing while solving issues.
To achieve this, it is essential to follow digital work instructions. Instead of forcing frontline workers to browse on various paper-based instructions, shift them towards digitized workflows which can be accessed from anywhere. The main purpose should be to bring all the necessary data to their core working environment. This allows frontline workers to interact effectively and make informed decisions instantly, improving productivity, and workers can perform their duties seamlessly.
Creating a Culture of Continuous Learning
To foster transformation, organizations should encourage a culture of continual learning. This includes providing opportunities for training and improving their skills and development. Encouraging frontline workers to actively participate in the training will significantly enhance their capabilities as knowledge workers.
Provide Training & Development
Offer comprehensive training programs that enhance the skills and knowledge of frontline workers. By investing in their learning, organizations empower frontline workers to expand their expertise and take on more knowledge-intensive tasks. In this, Augmented Reality (AR) Training can play an important role in turning frontline workers into knowledge workers. With AR, frontline workers will gain hands-on and interactive experiences. They can visualize complex issues, simulate real-world scenarios and interact with virtual objects, making the learning process more engaging and effective.
In addition, AR remote assistance provides real-time support to frontline workers while performing their tasks. Workers can access important information and step-by-step instructions with AR-enabled devices such as smart glasses or RealWear. This reduces errors and enhances productivity.
Encourage Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing
Organizations should create an opportunity for the frontline workforce to cooperate, share ideas, and learn from one another. For this, establish channels for internal communication, such as AR remote assistance tool or knowledge-sharing forums. This will assist frontline workers in solving complex issues instantly and effectively. Additionally, workers can record their sessions which builds a secure knowledge repository to use whenever needed.
Transform Your Frontline Workers Into Knowledge Workers With Plutomen!
Smart investments start with recognizing the frontline workers as true knowledge workers and providing them with the right technology that empowers them to leverage their skills and expertise to drive positive outcomes. Below are some reasons why you should go with our AR-powered solutions for empowering frontline workers:
Effective Collaboration via Remote Assistance
AR remote assistance allows for seamless collaboration between team members who are physically distant from one another. With this, technicians in a real-time augmented environment can visually see, communicate and provide solutions regardless of their location. Key features like text chats, screenshots, freeze screen, session recording, adding multiple participants, and many more will assist you to get things done faster.
AR-powered Visual Work Instructions are Powerful
Most people prefer visual data over written text. According to John Medina’s findings, we remember just 10% of the information we hear but 65% of the information presented in images. This finding clearly highlights the importance of visual work instructions in business.
Visual work instructions make learning more engaging and creative. By adding images and videos, workers can understand their tasks more clearly and perform them properly. Moreover, with this, organizations can easily document, update and share work instructions with team members instantly and effectively.
Technical Support During Equipment Set-Up or Troubleshooting
Minimizing downtime is essential when working with complex equipment. When equipment or any machine experiences downtime, it’s important to restore it in a safe and effective manner.
Workers who are working on assembling, repairing, and maintaining machines frequently have access to manuals and experienced staff members who can impart information. But today, with the help of AR-powered remote assistance, a single technician can put on smart glasses and have access to step-by-step instructions, guides, and even experts in just one click.
Get Training Modules Instantly
With Plutomen AR Training, you can quickly access the training modules and guides by scanning the machine’s barcode or QR code. This easy access to training materials can assist frontliners even in complex emergencies.
Accelerate Troubleshooting and Times to Resolution
Remote assistance helps technicians diagnose, troubleshoot and resolve unplanned issues faster. Now you no longer have to wait for a technical expert to visit and solve the issues. With AR-powered remote assistance, experts can guide you as if they are physically present on-site. The real-time assistance is just a click away in case of an emergency.
With more than 12+ years of experience in the world of enterprises, technology, and metaverse, Keyur Bhalavat is leading Plutomen to gain meaningful partnerships & to have a strong clientele network. He is one of the board members of GESIA (Gujarat IT Association Ahmedabad).
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