Frontline workers in the digital age
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of keeping employees connected to each other and the company, particularly when working remotely. The pandemic has shifted us into a new future of working and has encouraged organizations to reconsider how they interact and communicate with their employees in the field and working on the frontline.
A significant portion of an organization’s workforce is frontline, meaning they are usually deskless and ‘untethered’ – and largely out of the loop when it comes to the company’s digital flow and culture. It can be detrimental and costly for an organization to not make the effort to integrate these employees digitally and engage them within the company’s community – Gallup recently found that disengaged frontline staff cost your organization an average of 34% of an employee’s annual salary.
Unily’s modern intranet solution helps bridge the gap between HQ and frontline workers, offering teams everything they need to not only do their jobs on a daily basis, but to also become collaborative, connected and integrated with the company culture.
5 stats to support your business case for connecting frontline employees with better technology
- The frontline workforce is extensive - 80% of the global workforce don’t sit at desks in offices, but work on the frontlines – that’s 2.7 billion people that need mobile access to the intranet – Emergence Capital
- Frontline disengagement costs enterprises - Disengaged frontline staff cost your organization an average of 34% of an employee’s annual salary and lead to 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability – Gallup
- Deskless workers need better comms - 84% of frontline workers feel they’re not kept properly informed with communications and 50% feel they don’t understand the overall strategy of the company – MIT
- Frontline technology is falling short - 86% of leaders note that frontline employees need better technology-enabled insights in order to make important decisions and improve productivity – Harvard Business Review
- Leadership agree that supporting frontline is critical - 78% of C-Suite executives believe connecting and empowering frontline employees is critical to their success, leading to up to 12% higher customer loyalty rates – HBR
How does a mobile intranet benefit the frontline?
#1. Improve engagement
78% of executives believe that connecting and empowering frontline employees is critical to their overall success. A modern intranet allows users to access their company’s digital HQ from their mobile phones, so the frontline can always be reached and kept in the loop, no matter where they are. Effective internal communication is essential when it comes to keeping your workforce connected and happy, and overall productive.
#2. Enhance customer experiences
There are over 2 billion frontline employees acting as the link between their business and its customers, however, 85% of them feel they are left out of the loop. Frontline employees need regular business and policy updates perhaps more than any other workforce segment, and yet we still rely on outdated methods of communications like noticeboards and word-of-mouth for many essential updates. A mobile intranet app provides a bridge between corporate and the frontline, ensuring they have all the information, updates and knowledge at their fingertips.
#3. Boost productivity
McKinsey research suggests that productivity increases 20-25% in enterprises with connected employees. Setting up a company intranet with a mobile application not only acts as a virtual headquarters for all staff including those on the frontline, but also streamlines finding tasks, information and access to tools and applications that may be required.
Discover the power of a mobile intranet
2.7 billion people work away from a desk. That’s 80% of the global working population. These employees need more from their organizations, from their technology, and from the employee experience. This in-depth guide details everything your enterprise needs to deliver a consumer-grade mobile experience that connects and engages everyone from head office to frontline.
5 reasons frontline workforces love Unily
When choosing a modern intranet solution for your organization and frontline, there are a number of reasons that Unily is the first choice for frontline workforces. Read on for the core features of an intranet that transform frontline engagement.
#1. Mitigate the need for a Microsoft license
As well as the full Microsoft licenses (E3 and E5), there are three different Microsoft licenses available depending on what your organization and frontline require – F1, F3, and Office 365 F3. A large part of creating a fully collaborative employee experience usually involves having Microsoft 365 integrated into the workplace. So, when creating a hybrid working experience, is it possible for organizations to give the fully integrated M365 experience to desk workers, without having to also rely on purchasing a specific frontline licence?
The short answer is yes. Unily’s employee experience platform is built on independent architecture, enabling native identification, and mitigating the need for every user to have a Microsoft license. Features such as Unily social allow enterprises to create a single enterprise social network, while also providing an integrated and targeted experience for those workers with a 365 license. Users are even able to login to the intranet using identification from alternative providers such as LinkedIn, further simplifying access to the intranet.
#2. Consumer-grade mobile experiences
Unily is making 2021 the year that the employee experience bridges the gap with consumer-grade offerings and connect deskless, frontline, and global workforces better than ever before. Having a mobile intranet application is essential for optimum frontline engagement, but ensuring it is customer-grade means that their overall daily experience is the best it can be.
With smartphones in our lives for almost 15 years now, we’ve become accustomed to certain features, gestures, and functions in the mobile apps we use. Unily’s enhanced mobile UX takes this into account, incorporating familiar actions and intuitive controls into the mobile experience to create frictionless mobile experiences that employees love.
Features such as smooth transitions, animations, easy-to-navigate headers, and a new mobile search center will mean frontline workers can utilize the application to its full ability and enjoy seamless connectivity and collaboration across the organization.
With the mobile app, frontline employees can receive notifications when new content becomes available. Single Sign-On means that users don’t need to worry about login credentials; instead, they’re immediately directed to the changes they need to see to keep Cathay Pacific running at full speed.
Digital signage is another modern world customer-grade capability that is pivotal for employee engagement. Something that many of us will see regularly in our everyday lives, digital signage is used effectively to target a passive audience with relevant advertisements while they're most primed to engage. In the workplace, organizations can use Unily to provide this same targeted advertisement, delivering news and updates and increasing intranet traffic with features such as spotlight features, push notifications and news broadcasts.
The future of mobile employee experience
Be the first to see Unily's latest mobile experience enhancements and discover how a mobile intranet can empower everyone to do their best work from HQ to frontline. Join Unily's product evangelist, Matthew Boyd, as he demos Unily's new mobile experience and shows you how a mobile intranet can transform employee engagement across the enterprise.
#3. Next-level frontline engagement features
For some frontline workers, feeling isolated and separated from the rest of the workforce can be a major issue. With some employees out in the field – sometimes literally out to sea or up in the air – it can become easy for them to feel out of the loop with the rest of their colleagues.
Unily’s advanced social features make sure every voice is heard in the company, no matter the time or location. The social aspects of the intranet enable employees to interact directly with each other by commenting on posts, exchanging views, following social channels that interest them, and recognizing and rewarding peers through kudos and badges.
Even without a Microsoft license, teams can collaborate easily through Unily’s platform, forgoing the need for collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams. With these features also available via the mobile application, frontline workers have the ability to connect and engage with their peers, no matter where they are based, breaking down the final barriers and bridging the gap between them and the rest of the workforce.
The mobile application also has additional engagement features that can help with engaging the frontline. The use of offline reading gives users the ability to save content so they can enjoy it whenever they like, without needing a stable internet connection to access it. Push notifications can also be used to share information quickly with those that don’t have the ability to check their emails frequently.
Future of internal communications 2021+
Internal communications as we once knew it has changed forever. COVID-19 has accelerated the strategic importance of internal comms as businesses strive to manage huge change shifts and keep employees engaged through times of intense disruption. To help you navigate the new, unpredictable landscape and leverage new opportunities in sight, we've put together a panel of experts from around the globe to gather insights on how to take 2021 by storm.
#4. Targeted experiences for segmented audiences
Frontline employees have different needs than their office-based counterparts. A one-size-fits-all approach to your intranet will not work for large organizations with distinct workforce segments. Instead, these enterprises require a configurable solution that enables different experiences to be targeted at different users.
Unily’s targeted experiences overcome this challenge, allowing enterprises to slice and dice content to create dedicated experiences for users depending on their role and location. Targeted homepages allow enterprises to leverage their prime intranet real-estate to create different homepage experiences that cater more closely to the needs of different workforce segments. Where a corporate employee may see links to core productivity applications and news relating to their office or business unit, a frontline employee can enjoy a more visual experience optimized for their mobile device.
Airline enterprise, Cathay Pacific, enlisted seven different targeted homepages to closely meet the needs of the enterprise’s core employee personas.
"A lot of work went into creating this level of granular personalization, but it’s worth it. Now every user gets an intranet experience that’s specific to their unique needs, and as a result adoption of the platform is at an all-time high,"
Cathay Pacific: Launching an award-winning mobile intranet
Built on a passion for flight and a commitment to achieving the unthinkable, Cathay Pacific has secured its status as a leading airline for more than 75 years. To connect its workforce of 26k+ employees who are mobile by design, Cathay Pacific launched a redesigned employee experience platform that has earned a spot among Nielsen Norman Group's best intranets.
#5. Integration opportunities
Frontline workers operate in a different way to desk workers, and so have their own applications and tools to enable them to work effectively that will differ from office workers. Unily allows the integration of such tools within the platform, creating a single pane of glass experience that removes friction and drives adoption.
For an example of how this works in action, we can look to Cathay Pacific again – after all their intranet The Hub was named one of the 10 best intranets of 2020. To take the Unily mobile experience to the next level and ensure it really resonated with frontline employees, Cathay Pacific introduced an integration with their in-house roster system. Employees now rely on the intranet to check their upcoming shifts, which encourages the use of the platform and supports engagement with internal communications.
#6. Collaboration and innovation features
With frontline workers out in the field, collaboration can be tricky at the best of times. Having specific collaboration features in place to overcome the challenges associated with working remotely will make for smoother communication and knowledge sharing across the organization.
Unily’s people directory is a handy feature that makes it easy to identify contacts, with the ability to filter it down by region, expertise, and team. A searchable people directory centralizes each of your employees' digital identities, enabling colleagues to quickly learn more about their peers and build new connections.
Frontline workers will garner interesting insights from their daily interactions with customers, and so having an ideation portal is a must for them to be able to share and suggest new-found knowledge and suggestions with the rest of the organization, shaping the overall customer experience.
What do our clients say about Unily’s frontline experiences?
Enterprise clients that have implemented a mobile app as part of their internal communications strategy enjoy a host of benefits. Every enterprise will have a slightly different approach to deploying a mobile intranet, tied to their unique employee experience goals and workforce challenges. From healthcare enterprises delivering mobile apps to drive on-the-go collaboration, to airline clients keeping frontline employees connected in-flight, below are some examples of how a mobile app has transformed employee experience for three organizations.
#1. Dynacare: Enhancing patient care with a mobile app
"We wanted to create a destination that connects employees from anywhere, anytime, and on any device – to drive higher levels of collaboration, simplify access to information, and ultimately to improve the day in the life of our employees."
#2. Zaxby's: Bringing frontline retail employees into the fold
"A significant portion of our corporate team members are out in the field or on the road, so we knew we had to supply them with a mobile option to ensure they stay connected with news, announcements, and information. Our franchisees want information on demand, and ZNET allows them to view it on their own time while still getting real time alerts."
#3. Connecting healthcare professionals on-the-go
"Our mobile application really speaks to our focus on the roadmap – we weren’t reaching our engagement goals at all with townhalls and emails, so now we have the opportunity to engage employees with real-time information through the mobile app. The knowledge hub is the source of truth for all the tools they need. It’s all bucketed in one area that is regularly updated. The content is rich, having not just text but also video content. We have a news home that is kept freshly updated, meaning those field workers that would have used to have waited to log onto a computer at the end of the day can now access it from anywhere at any time, meaning they are able to do their work more efficiently."
Commonwealth Care Alliance: Launching an award-winning healthcare intranet
People are at the heart of Commonwealth Care Alliance’s mission. More than 40k members turn to the not-for-profit organization for their healthcare needs. By launching an intranet that is accessible on-demand from anywhere, Commonwealth Care Alliance has created a winning experience for their people that has earned international award recognition from the Nielsen Norman Group.
Connect and engage your frontline with Unily
If you would like to learn more about how you can create a platform with Unily that can empower your frontline to do their best work on the daily, reach out to us today.
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