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Leading from the Frontlines: How to Create a Digital Workplace That’s Still Human

Posted by Andy G. Schmidt on Jul 14, 2021 5:06:10 PM

Frontline Employees

Frontline. noun “The most advanced, responsible, or visible position in a field or activity.”

That definition is an accurate description of your company’s most influential people: frontline employees. They’re on the ground, leading the charge, and have the most interaction with your customers.

How many percent of your frontline workers are receiving corporate communication directly and in an instant? 

Typically, this mobile workforce is often left unattended and, as a result, is left feeling disconnected from the company. Only 13% of them are engaged at work. As a result, they’re more likely to leave for another company with a more inclusive approach and a digital workplace.

It’s important to understand why frontline employees need to be included in your business strategies.

They are the backbone of many industries, making up 60-80% of the world’s workforce. They often have external-facing jobs that directly impact customer experience. Their engagement and productivity are directly linked to your bottom line. And as a leader, it’s important to create an inclusive environment for every employee.

Most businesses struggle to communicate two-way with their frontline workers (many of them without work emails) resulting in

❌ Misalignment
❌ Suboptimal operations
❌ Feelings of being out-of-the-loop or a 2nd class employee

Your offline employees work directly with customers and have a significant influence on public perceptions of their brand. Given that almost all companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience, it is a decisive factor in creating brand loyalty, with committed employees being a key driver.

Your high-potential employees aren't only sitting at desks. We've all heard about situations where a frontline employee has offset an otherwise mediocre product or service by means of competence and charm.

Finding ways to better inform, involve and engage these kinds of exemplary employees will give you a clear advantage over your competition.

The idea that workers should first receive important company-related news from internal sources is a near impossibility without an internal, up-to-date channel.

Luckily, nearly all employees own a smartphone. Why not a smartphone with your own Communication App?


Lead to Align with a Digital Workplace

The rise of the digital workplace is happening quickly. But most companies don’t think to include their distributed workforce in that transformation. In fact, only 1% of digital workplace spending includes them. With a mobile-first solution, like Beekeeper’s team app, this population is no longer disenfranchised. It’s an employee-centric strategy to reach your non-desk workforce, and share information equally with all employees.

Connecting with your frontline employees over a team app they can use on their own mobile devices reflects the way people communicate today, making it easier to get employee buy-in.

Find out how Kanika Verma, Assistant HR Director at the renowned Watergate Hotel, used Beekeeper to update their communications channels and become a more modern, digital workforce.




Lead from the Frontlines to Build Trust

Don’t lead from a distance. Get out from behind your desk and spend time with your frontline employees. A digital workplace is a great start to boosting employee engagement. Complement this initiative with in-person time on their turf.

At 1 Hotel Central Park and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, managers have morning meetings with their teams to align employees both in person and on their Beekeeper team app. This face time builds connections between managers, employees, and colleagues, which encourages collaboration, social connections and cooperation among staff.

Find out why hotel employees love Beekeeper



It’s essential to see your company from every angle. Get to know employees, learn what they do, and ask them what they need to perform their jobs better. Workforce feedback will help you implement strategies to improve operations. 

The Ritz Carlton is one of the world’s most prominent hotel brands, with 97 locations and 40,000 employees across 30 countries. They have a Leadership Center dedicated to internal strategies and success that enables them to deliver the top-rated customer service they’re known for.

“There is a difference between Management and Leadership: ‘Things’ (budgets, invoices, scheduling, reports) are managed behind a desk in an office. People are led,” says Jeff Hargett, Senior Corporate Director, Culture Transformation in a company blog post. “Therefore, in order for leaders to best connect with their staff, they need to be in the mix with their team.”

An in-person leadership approach drives employee engagement by cultivating:

  • Purpose: Align employees with the broader mission.
  • Culture of Belonging: Your workforce feels valued. They realize their role is important to that mission and the company.
  • Connection: Shake hands with your team and get to know who they are. Listen to their needs and share your vision to make sure your people know what your company stands for (at the moment only the minority do).


To be an effective leader, learn to merge these two strategies. Implement a digital workplace, but supplement it with in-person team building.

Leading from the frontlines means investing in your workforce. Your regular presence will inspire your employees to contribute on the team app, and further the success of your business.


Guide to Internal Communications for Frontline Industries


Topics: Retail, Hospitality, Logistics, F&B, Internal Communications, Employee Experience, Best Practice

A leader's sudden insight: My lowest paid people are the ones taking care of my customers ...

Do you have an employee-centric strategy to reach your non-desk workforce and share information equally to all employees?

Do you strive for an inclusive environment for every employee?


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