Thursday, April 18, 2024

Frontline workers feel seen, but not heard

The majority of Australian, American and British frontline workers (67%) say that they are never, rarely, or only sometimes listened to on topics that matter to them the most: operations (54%), safety (46%), and health/wellbeing (49%).

The findings are from SafetyCulture’s new Feedback from the Field research. It features the views of “frontline workers” – defined as individuals who must “physically show up to their job” including the likes of hospitality, retail, manufacturing, and logistics workers.

The majority of surveyed frontline workers agree that open communication with management can lead to:

  • the opportunity to contribute to making processes better (59%) 
  • being able to make it a better workplace better overall  (62%)

However, over one in five Australian workers (21%) say that feedback is only one-directional in their organisation – from management to employees.

Factors preventing feedback 

Job loss as a result of reporting a safety or quality issue to management, including adherence to Covid-19 protocols, is a real concern for many frontline workers. Almost half of Australian frontline workers (48%) agreed this is a potential scenario. 

Fears aside, over one in three frontline workers (34%) agree their willingness to provide workplace feedback is impacted by a belief that “nothing will be done” once reported. More than one in four said they lacked confidence management would address safety issues they raise. 

Among those frontline workers with office-based colleagues, nearly two in 10 (18%) feel that office-based workers are more respected than frontline 

“It’s clear that these critical workers want a say in the operations and running of their workplaces,” says SafetyCulture Global General Manager Bob Butler.

“Two-way communication between frontline workers and management is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is a business imperative. Leaders need to be arming their teams with the right tools to allow them to add value, be heard, and stay safe.”

Feedback from the field

More than one in four Australian frontline workers (26%) believe that their organisation invests more in monitoring tools and less in feedback processes or training.

SafetyCulture has developed its operations platform to empower staff to report issues, giving them a voice within the workplace. Its new capture and notify functionality is said to further connect leaders and frontline workers to help address under-reporting. The technology allows for sensitive feedback to be shared via anonymous entry.

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