Turnover high with 'deskless' workforce

Communication gaps could be part of problem, finds survey

Turnover high with 'deskless' workforce

In looking at the biggest challenges for managers of a “deskless” workforce, turnover (25 per cent) tops the list.

That’s ahead of revenue (17 per cent), productivity (15 per cent) and workplace safety (15 per cent), according to a survey by digital communications company Nudge.

Maybe that’s because more than a third (36 per cent) of deskless workers in the U.S. want to quit their job.

This notion is most common among workers in the facilities management (40 per cent), foodservice (38 per cent) and retail (37 per cent). Many of those working in hospitality (32 per cent) and manufacturing (31 per cent) share the same feeling.

"As we navigate the new normal, organizations are looking to combat the ‘great resignation.’ But they're also looking to drive productivity, engagement, operational efficiency… the list goes on. All of these shifts start with us recognizing the unique challenges facing both deskless workers and leaders," says Lindsey Goodchild, co-founder and CEO of Nudge.  

Employees are feeling more detached from their organizations amid the pandemic. While nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) feel a sense of belonging and acceptance at work, that’s down from 73 per cent prior to the pandemic, according to a LifeWorks study released in September.

Communication gaps

One reason for the disconnect may be around communication, according to Nudge’s survey of 865 deskless workers and 300 deskless leaders in the U.S. in June.

While 76 per cent of leaders claim that organizations are using email to communicate, only 43 per cent of workers agree. There are also far more leaders (57 per cent) that say they use verbal updates to communicate compared with workers who say the same (17 per cent).

There is also a huge disconnect when it comes to the use of communications platform/tools/apps (49 per cent of leaders say companies use it versus 11 per cent of workers who), intranet sites (41 per cent of leaders versus 12 per cent of workers) and posters of bulletin boards (36 per cent of leaders versus 10 per cent of workers).

And while 86 per cent of leaders feel they’re sending meaningful, quality communication, 59 per cent of workers say the communications they receive are somewhat to not at all useful.

Canadian HR Reporter spoke with a communications expert earlier in 2021 to hear about common mistakes made by employers.

Gamification helps

The use of gamification – the process of using gaming mechanics in non-gaming situations like the workplace – is a great effective strategy to improve employee engagement with deskless workers, says Sam Caucci, founder and CEO at 1Huddle, which mobilizes and gamifies training.

Gamification gives workers recognition for the things they do and how their role contributes to the organization’s mission, vision and values, he says.

“This recognition also helps employees understand how their job responsibilities contribute to the goals of the company. This recognition can also be meaningful for disengaged employees and remote workers who feel ignored by leadership or corporate.”

Gamification, role play and simulations are effective tools that engage people in learning by doing and create an immediate feedback loop, says Venita Indewey, senior director of organization and employee development at the University Health Network.

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