Frontline Employee Training Reimagined: How Performance Enablement Platforms Redefine the Future of Employee Upskilling and Reskilling

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us to appreciate many things we used to take for granted, especially employee roles. While before nurses, restaurant staff, and grocery store workers seemed to be rather ordinary positions, they became front and center as the pandemic swept the world. Travel, hospitality, retail, and other frontline industries have suffered more than others due to lockdowns and the closure of stores. Now that companies are slowly reopening for business, the pressure is even higher, as the demands and expectations of customer experience have inevitably changed. To continue delivering great service in 2021 and beyond, organizational training leaders need to rethink their frontline employee training strategy. 

What Is the Current State of Frontline Employee Training?

Businesses that involve direct interaction with customers experienced exceptional losses. For most affected sectors, it is expected to take more than five years to recover, while small businesses might not achieve full recovery at all. The year of the pandemic has forced many frontline workers into unfamiliar roles, and the businesses who took advantage of that remained afloat. This leads to the conclusion that an agile and adaptable frontline workforce is the key to surviving in an unstable business environment. However, do frontline employees receive the necessary training to be able to tackle these challenges? 

The State of Front-Line Employee Training Report indicates alarming figures among the employees they surveyed: 

“Almost half of front-line employees (46 percent) took on new tasks as a result of the pandemic—and almost a quarter (23 percent) filled a new position altogether. But only 48 percent said that training had been provided for their new role and/or task(s). This was even lower for front-line employees in retail (21 percent) and grocery (27 percent).”

What do these numbers tell us? Frontline employee training strategies are lacking. Whether the organization does not implement proper employee upskilling and reskilling initiatives, or the old ways of training are outdated, there is an acute need for a change in approach to the training of frontline employees

It is clear that organizations realized how reskilling and upskilling frontline employees and promoting staff retention are more cost-efficient in the long run delivering the highest ROI among various corporate initiatives. Moreover, it is expected that around 1.4 million employees will need reskilling by 2026 and 54% of workers will require reskilling and upskilling by 2022.  More the reason why organizations need to start updating their frontline employee training immediately. Companies should implement training and engagement tools to mobilize workforces and get them up to speed quickly so that the organization can deliver a high-quality customer experience. Let’s look at the best practices for frontline employee training that will help create an agile workforce ready to meet new customer demands and management expectations.

Best Practices for Frontline Employee Training Post Covid-19

Performance – how well a person, machine, etc. does a piece of work or an activity.” 

The disruptive nature of today’s business environment has forced employee performance expectations to change. At the same time, the increasing demand forced managers to leave their staff to figure things out on their own. After long lockdowns, companies are reopening, and returning employees might need to refresh their knowledge of existing procedures and become familiar with new policies. Today’s training leaders need to make both the onboarding of new employees and training of returnees as smooth as possible. This can be achieved by applying the best practices offered by performance enablement platforms. 

  1. Frontline Employee Onboarding with Targeted Training 

Many companies overburdened with a sudden demand for services had to hire hundreds of frontline employees during the pandemic, and many of those consisted of laid off or furloughed workers. Amazon, for instance, went on a hiring spree and acquired 427,300 new employees within the past 10 months. The biggest challenge with this is speed to productivity – accelerating employee knowledge to achieve proficiency at tasks so that workers can perform effectively as fast as possible. Frontline employee onboarding can become very challenging unless a company employs targeted training utilizing existing onboarding and training software. Performance enablement platforms can solve this problem by delivering a personalized employee experience with customized employee learning paths to address the individual challenges of each job role and each employee. Such targeted training speeds up frontline employee onboarding and identifies and eliminates skill gaps more efficiently.

2. Just-in-Time Learning for Employee Upskilling and Reskilling

Frontline employee training in the post-Covid-19 market doesn’t stop at successful onboarding. Once frontline workers enter the field, they will need continuous access to resources in case of problems or gaps in knowledge. This is where just-in-time learning plays an important role. 

Just-in-time learning makes a significant impact on employee productivity and engagement in the flow of work. Not only it delivers the right information to each employee based on their needs, it also provides immediate feedback based on each person’s performance data. Successful organizations already implement just-in-time-learning for frontline employee training, as it is always available and delivers the right information to the right person at the right time. 

3. Data-Driven Training Is Key

As frontline employees grow in the job roles, a good reporting dashboard can help managers access big picture as well as granular level data like task completion rates, daily usage, training time for each employee, and much more. Using performance data in such a way helps objectively measure employee progress, identify employee upskilling and reskilling opportunities, and deliver automatically prescribed activities to each worker. Organizations can capture valuable insights to use in data-driven training to maximize productivity, engagement, and retention, and gain a competitive advantage by utilizing people analytics. What’s even more important, predictive capabilities of people analytics enable organizations to identify trends and projections, which can help to enhance their human resource risk management and operational planning in the long run. Having access to such learning and performance data empowers businesses to better connect learning initiatives to productivity growth and boost company efficiency moving forward. 

Personalized Training for Frontline Employees is the Post-Covid-19 Future

A data-driven approach and just-in-time learning are becoming the core of frontline employee training in the post-Covid-19 world. By identifying knowledge and skill gaps, performance enablement platforms deliver the right kind of training to the right employee at the right time. Upskilling and reskilling existing frontline workers based on their individual learning needs not only increases talent retention and improves company productivity, but also creates a more agile and adaptable workforce. Just-in-time learning solutions speed up the frontline employee onboarding process and boost employee engagement. Request a demo today to learn how Rallyware’s performance enablement platform can help your organization redefine frontline employee training in 2021 and beyond.