How to Communicate & Manage Workflow Transitions with Frontline Workers

Posted by Andy Serwatuk, Head of Solutions Architecture

Oct 20, 2022

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Talking about frontline change

Frontline workers are undeniably heroes of the pandemic. 

It’s only because frontline employees faced the risks, hard work and challenges of the pandemic that many businesses have been able to stay afloat and connected with their communities. But being out in front dealing with the public, these workers often don’t hear company news, management announcements or feedback as easily as other employees. As a result, they may feel alienated and even silenced, leading to lower employee performance and retention rates. And it’s a two-way street: Just as frontline workers may feel separated from the company information flow, leadership may have lost touch with the frontline and what these workers need to feel supported in their jobs.  

Fortunately, there are a number of proven collaborative and easy-to-use communication tools to help empower your frontline workers and improve business operations. 

Stay in front of the informal information flow

To eliminate “communication chaos,” be the first to inform. This goes for company news, important announcements, product and service updates and more. The way you communicate with your employees can be as important as what you’re communicating. We’ve discovered that a thoughtful approach to introducing change, news or information can greatly increase not just the effectiveness of the communication, but it also supports the change being described. When each employee knows that they’re valued enough to receive the information they need to do their job in a timely and respected fashion, they not only pay more attention to your messages, but they act on them with more engagement and enthusiasm. 

Identify and work with all your leaders

The leaders in your organization aren’t only the suits in the C-Suite, or even the managers. Depending on the culture of your organization, the information hubs could be in the cafeteria, in the copy center, on the loading dock or at the front desk. Remember to include those who hold sway on the ground in your main information trunk-lines. Here’s a quick list of other roles to consider:

  • Executives
  • End users
  • Admin. assistants
  • Google guides
  • Early adopters
  • Core IT
  • Workers’ council

Pro tip for successful change management: If you want to ensure executive buy-in on whatever change you're making or news you're relaying, make sure to respect the power of executive assistants. If they’re comfortable with the change and happy, then the news travels both up to the highest reaches of the organization and out to the masses. They are always a nexus. 

From emerging tech to prehistoric tactics: Use your channels

Email 

Email continues to be the most reliable mode of internal communication. It’s easy to use, can be accessed from almost anywhere, and can incorporate a variety of visuals (e.g, photos, videos and GIFs). This gives everyone—including leadership—the opportunity to reach employees quickly and,or add personal touches to their messages that help encourage connection. 

Company intranet or employee portal

This is generally your team’s centralized hub where employees access and download information and communicate with each other; it’s a one-stop shop for your team to find what they need to get their jobs done.

Newsletters or intranet

If your company publishes one or publishes on their intranet, use it. Write a regular feature leading up to launch and afterward. Interviews of key players, myth-busters pieces and reminder communications about upcoming milestones are all useful.

Internal committees 

The party committee, the professional development committee, even the softball team. These and other informal internal groups have more clout than you think. Informal groups are the gathering places of the connected and chatty

Dept. meetings and status calls

Ask for a time to drop in for an update and to take questions during status and scrum meetings. It’s a few minutes well spent.

Posters and desk drops

How about creative desk leave-behinds? People love them, and they can add a really personal touch. Consider cupcakes with messages.

Create comfort: Explain and engage on changes before deploying new initiatives

Communicating change isn’t only about technology and contacts. It’s about making sure everyone is comfortable with the change and knows you’re 100% behind making their jobs easier, more enjoyable and more effective—a better environment to use the space. 

It’s not about the deadline. It’s about the goal.

Remember that when you’re making a change, such as implementing Google Workspace Frontline for your employees, adoption doesn’t end when you launch the new project. Think of this kind of change as transformation. Transformation takes repetition and practice well beyond just giving everyone a log-in and an instruction manual on launch day. 

By seeing new processes as transformation, you change the tenor of the conversation. It becomes about making things more than different; it's about making them better. And you’re committing to give your frontline workers the support, training, ongoing information and leadership guidance they need to feel confident in the new systems. 

With ongoing communication, education and support, the adoption curve isn’t measured immediately after implementation—it’s ongoing. That perspective shift gives you leeway to adjust and make course corrections. You’re not under pressure to get every detail perfect, but to really collaborate with your frontline users and jointly identify the processes that can be improved with Google Apps. By taking an employee-centric approach, you deliver the appropriate training and communications that already have more buy-in from informed workers.

That’s what our methodology is all about—combining the business processes with change management to change how people work, for the better.

Successful change depends on effective communication. Get in touch with us to learn more.

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Andy Serwatuk, Head of Solutions Architecture

Andy Serwatuk is the Head of Solutions Architecture at Onix with over 20 years of experience delivering innovative IT, SaaS, and cloud services for businesses. He holds a College Diploma in Networking and Hardware and specializes in helping organizations leverage information technology to improve connection, collaboration, and operational efficiency. Andy's experience is unparalleled because it's multifaceted. He has worked in help desk and datacenter admin roles, as well as backup specialist positions, and as a disaster recovery technician. He now manages a full solutions architecture team that assists organizations with evaluating the value and benefit of switching to Google Cloud platform. Andy is based in Toronto, Canada with his wife and 2 kids. When he's not helping teams simplify and secure their operations, you can find him playing with a 3D printer, playing board games, or 3D printing board game components.

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