THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO
Frontline Employee Experience Platforms
Create Effective Digital Workplaces to Empower Frontline Employees, and Drive Customer Satisfaction & Revenue
The changing face of frontline work
In recent years, a tide of digitalization has swept across the world. It started with digital transformation in IT and continued with the need to pivot and change while bracing for impact from a global pandemic. Now, the world has changed, and with the challenges, it’s brought opportunities for companies to have empathy with frontline workers — and to redefine the employee experience to drive business forward with their input.
This wave of innovation has been especially strong in the retail and hospitality industries, where the economic aftershocks have brought the biggest changes. These industries need to do more with less and manual processes are giving way to more intelligent, technologically enhanced ways of working. In today’s increasingly competitive landscape, companies need to lean into this trend and leverage new strategies to not only survive, but to thrive. That starts with embracing technology to facilitate these changes.
These solutions enable employees to have the right tools to operate more efficiently, productively, and intelligently. After all, when the employee experience is fixed, the customer experience and brand consistency is elevated.
In this guide, readers will learn a new strategy for thinking about workforce orchestration to include employee experience and what to look for in a Frontline Employee Experience Platform. These strategies will elevate performance and give frontline teams the tools they need to succeed while giving HQ teams the data they need to drive the best business outcomes.
With change comes the need for new strategies
For the bulk of employees, the changing face of frontline work has been a welcome and needed shift. Many are digital natives and they relish in the ability to leverage new technologies to access resources, track tasks, share insights, and stay connected with each other and the brands they work for.
For businesses, this new era really is full of opportunity if it is embraced fully by leadership. Organizations that embrace these changes, and invest in empowering their employees, will be able to boost productivity, attract and retain the best talent, and meet strategic goals faster.
Today, it is difficult enough to attract frontline workers. No one wants to work for companies who do not have a human-centric approach anymore. After all, perceived employee value comes from a feel, and a company’s culture influences employee workplace perceptions. Frontline workers are looking for a company that cultivates team unity — and not just at the store level — but at the company level. These workers crave a culture of community and a work environment where they aren’t just a number, they have career-path opportunities, and they can create meaningful connections. Because of this, it’s time for executives to embrace this change and rethink their corporate strategies — and the cost of doing nothing could be dire.
Companies that fail to embrace this trend risk a vicious cycle of impaired employee experience, diminished productivity, declining customer satisfaction, and lower revenues.
Ultimately, a business only performs as well as its staff, so it’s never been more important to build out new strategies, and the digital infrastructure that supports those strategies, so frontline teams can unlock their full potential.
What is a Frontline Employee Experience Platform (FEXP)?
A Frontline Employee Experience Platform, or FEXP, is the next generation of a Digital Workplace.
This solution bridges the gap between workforce orchestration, execution, and employee experience. Let’s break down precisely what that means.
What underpins success in today’s frontline retail and hospitality environments? The answer is an intelligently designed and integrated digital workplace environment that heightens overall employee experience through collaboration, learning, productivity, and performance.
An FEXP provides teams with a virtual space or digital workplace designed to facilitate daily communications, display all the resources they need, get continuous training in the flow of work, and effectively manage daily operations and tasks. It’s also a platform where people can connect with each other and their leaders to build a sense of company community and support.
By bringing together these different tools and functions all in one place to create a unified, digital work environment, an FEXP enables staff to perform at the very peak of their ability. Information, resources, and responsibilities in this centralized hub can be accessed across an array of different digital devices — tablets, smartphones, kiosks, workstations, etc — regardless of location.
By creating inclusive and real-time channels of communication and collaboration, an FEXP fosters a sense of community, belonging, and support — central elements of a positive employee experience. It also helps staff advance their skills with learning content and programs. This allows employees to easily access training materials and courses in manageable, bite-sized chunks in the flow of work. It can provide learning paths and learning recommendations based on learners’ profile, needs, actions, and performance.
Finally, this solution streamlines and automates the administrative operations and tasks to drive consistency in execution. This will free up workers so they invest their time in higher-value work — such as upselling, building customer relationships and customer service.
FEXPs are the next-generation of Digital Workplaces
A Frontline Employee Experience Platform provides an integrated, next-generation Digital Workplace that empowers teams to operate more effectively — elevating the employee experience, boosting productivity, heightening the customer experience, and driving better results for your business.
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Do frontline teams really need an FEXP?
The short answer to this question is YES! In a highly competitive market for customers and employees alike, improving the employee experience will improve the customer experience. In IDC’s Retail Consumer Survey, about 50% of customer.
Do frontline teams really need an FEXP?
The short answer to this question is YES! In a highly competitive market for customers and employees alike, improving the employee experience will improve the customer experience. In IDC’s Retail Consumer Survey, about 50% of customer respondents said they will abandon a store or shop somewhere else at the drop of a hat. The same is true for frontline employees.
Retailers and brands have also had to adapt to the expansion of omnichannel shopping — completely overhauling how they operate. From click-and-collect and buy online and return in store, to increased customer expectations, frontline teams need technology to reduce complexity and help them be successful. Moreover, HQ teams need solutions to bring visibility and real-time line-ofsight to distributed locations. That’s exactly why frontline teams need an FEXP to increase success.
10 CORE REASONS
The 10 core reasons why businesses need an FEXP solution
Frontline staff need an intuitive and intelligent solution capable of putting the tools and information they need at their fingertips as they go about their day to drive engagement, collaboration, productivity and skill management.
Here are the top reasons why businesses need an FEXP:
Companies with frontline workers need an FEXP strategy
The top-down, antiquated approach to management isn’t working. Today, retail leaders at all levels need to be agile and adaptable. They need to be able to rapidly onboard staff, build employee engagement, and improve retention — all while driving efficiencies and increasing productivity with smart, interactive tools.
What can be achieved with an FEXP?
From visual merchandising, internal communications, food safety, and maintenance requests, to customer service, operational tasks, audits and reporting, and learning paths — an FEXP can bring everything together in one mission-critical application. As deskless workers strive to do more with less resources and fewer people, reducing tech fatigue and streamlining communication, learning, and work operations will make workers happier and more engaged. This will also create new strategic opportunities for senior leadership to lower costs, break down department silos, and create operational excellence across the organization to strive for the “Perfect Store” experience.
With that in mind, here are the top five use cases for this technology:
Good communication is often the difference between frontline teams hitting their targets and coming up short. Being able to communicate in real time during a crisis can be the deciding factor in whether a store or restaurant remains open or is forced to close — something that became very prevalent during the pandemic. Communication applications are also vital for making staff feel connected and valued, for sharing insights laterally between team members, and for passing vital business intelligence back up the chain to supervisors and managers. With an FEXP, communications can be targeted to the person or people at the right time. This reduces complexity and noise and ensures your teams are informed and not overloaded with information they don’t need.
An FEXP is purpose-built with features that can be used to build engagement and camaraderie. Amplifying employee voices will make them feel heard and offering constant support is key to increasing staff happiness and job satisfaction. Providing a platform to share advice and best practices will help underperforming teams up their game. Giving recognition to high performers and fostering a culture of peer-to-peer recognition and encouragement will also be an effective motivator for frontline workers.
According to Gallup, 71% of workers say learning and development (L&D) opportunities increase their job satisfaction, while 61% see upskilling as a reason to stay with their current employer. Frontline workers want their skills to be valued and invested in, but traditional LMS solutions do not meet the needs for these deskless workers and generally have very poor adoption rates. Training and employee development is not a one-and-done process and needs to be reinforced over time. Taking employees out of rotation to do LMS courses is expensive and not a reasonable ask with already short-staffed locations. A solution that is mobile, enables microlearning in the flow of work, and is intuitive to use is needed. An FEXP enables recurring learning and development initiatives purpose-built for frontline teams.
With a sophisticated FEXP creating a next-gen Digital Workplace, you can streamline task management, empower frontline employees to be more productive, and gain real-time visibility into execution. You can digitize operational activities and standard operating procedures. The activities you can streamline including checklists and audits, store visits, merchandising processes, product launches and promotions, and store initiatives, to name a few. This drives consistent, repeatable execution across the store network. Instead of spending time taking notes, then filling out lengthy reports, area and district leaders can focus on coaching, listening to staff, and giving feedback. They can also focus on stores that require the most attention. Teams will be able to execute harmoniously across the brand, providing a consistent customer experience.
For companies with large frontline workforces, real-time, actionable insights are the key to operational excellence. Measuring and correlating communication, engagement, L&D, and task management outcomes is a game changer to understand the root causes of issues, to make insightful business decisions, and to course correct before it is too late. The most advanced systems leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technology to track and analyze the effectiveness of operations, generate insights, suggest content, serve up training courses, and make recommendations into how performance can be honed and improved.
Reduce complexity & achieve more with an FEXP
Frontline staff don’t have the time or the will to juggle multiple digital tools. They want a simple way to communicate, learn, and manage work-related tasks in the same digital space. At the same time, HQ needs real-time understanding of business performance and the ability to swiftly cascade actions to meet business goals. The real value of an all-in-one FEXP is that it can perform a wide variety of functions from a single, easy to navigate hub and provide unparalleled insights.
How can I pick the right FEXP for My Team?
The right technological investment can be the secret to unlocking new levels of strategic success. Before choosing an FEXP, it’s important to do your homework. To get the correct platform for your organization, you must assess the unique needs of your employees and your business use cases. There are some important questions that all leaders should ask before selecting an FEXP.
Here are the top 12 questions you need to ask:
Frontline staff do not spend their days sitting at a computer. Make sure your solution is accessible for employees on the move. For these teams, ensuring the FEXP is a mobile app and not just an online portal, will give them what they need at their fingertips, when they need it.
An FEXP solution needs to reduce complexity, not create it. The solution needs to deliver a cohesive, unified experience with seamless access to everything — communication, collaboration, learning, task management, etc. — that your employees need. This allows them to be more agile, increasing efficiency and customer service outcomes.
For any new technology, user experience determines adoption. Seek a solution that’s engaging, fun, and easy to use for your end users. It should contain the best elements of social media, such as newsfeeds and chat tools, to foster a sense of connection. The solution should be self-serve and not even require user training. It should feel familiar to digital natives from the moment they login. Also, Look for an FEXP with a high degree of gamification, interactive features, and social add-ons like challenges, competitions, and leaderboards to promote healthy competition and adoption.
This is an important question to ask, so be sure to gather information from other senior leaders in your organization. An FEXP should help you reduce redundant software across your business and be able to scale and grow. The last thing you need is to have to rip and replace the solution because your company rapidly outgrows the platform’s capabilities. It should heighten your employees’ enjoyment of everyday jobs by eliminating low value, repetitive, or manual work. If you have to create workarounds and alter successful processes or SOPs, you do not have the correct solution fit.
Deploying new technology can be a daunting task and you shouldn’t have to boil the ocean and disrupt your entire organization in the implementation process. Look for a platform that fits your comfort level and a vendor that will assist you in a staged approach if you need it. Flexibility is key so a platform with features like a no-code content builder, dedicated implementation, customer success resources, and strategic planning throughout your time as a customer will be key to success.
It is important to understand what the day-to-day admin experience and management of the platform will be like. You should get a clear understanding of the resources you need, if you will receive a dedicated customer success manager, account manager or both, and what ongoing training you will be provided. Questions you should ask to understand this are: Will you have to email in support tickets? What is the SLA on answering questions or assisting with an issue? Is support an added cost? Will we have weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings? Will a customer success manager help me with my platform in any way? How do I get training on product launches or updates? Ask these questions to ensure you get the right level of customer service you need to be successful.
Global workforces need global solutions. Look for a platform designed to work worldwide, or at least in the regions you need it. Too often, organizations fall into the trap of multiple solutions for each area or region, but that quickly grows into a major pain point to manage. It also creates reporting complexities and massive headaches. Another key element to consider is having a native translation tool in the platform that can help employees translate content. This can make sure all regions feel connected. Bringing opportunities for content to be in your teams’ native language instills a sense of togetherness despite the distance.
To get the most out of your solution you need to be able to quantify the results it’s generating. The best platforms will offer rich data covering everything from adoption rates, sentiment analysis, learning resources consumption, task completion, and compliance KPIs, to name some of the top metrics. Evaluate what the platform measures, what templates it provides, and how customizable reporting and dashboards can be. There is no point to invest in the time it takes to launch a platform — even if it is seemingly an all-in-one solution — if you will reach a ceiling with templates and customization. Another important point is to understand how you can provide access to your stakeholders. Can you automate reporting? Offer dashboards to location or district managers? And how will you be enabled to communicate success across the business? Will your customer success or account management team help you with business planning and reporting?
Assessing integrations and ecosystem management are critical — does the solution integrate with existing workforce management, HRIS, payroll, advanced payroll, POS, and other technology tools? Be sure to prioritize real product integrations, open APIs, and the ability to create a link library (or company app hub) by linking to other systems or resources via integration, SSO, or deeplinks. The solution should reduce both manual work for admins and complexity for users. Another piece to consider is what the integration ecosystem can provide business operations as a whole. Some FEXP solutions can integrate with POS systems to provide a correlation between communication, training, operations performance, and sales performance. There are also solutions that track incidents like theft, inventory, and business risk factors or do ticketing for maintenance requests. Knowing what the software can and can’t do will be critical to planning — even if you don’t use everything from the onset.
From customizing products or problem solving, to suggesting new features, building an effective FEXP requires an ongoing partnership with your software provider. Don’t work with reps who are just looking for a quick deal — seek an engaged and responsive vendor with an accomplished customer experience team and a track record of providing great service.
The use of an FEXP is very use-case centric. When looking for a solution, focus on vendors with deep industry knowledge and a healthy list of customers.
Software solutions need to grow alongside your business with the ability to add users and functionality over time. It’s also important to select a platform that offers a high level of innovation in areas such as automation. AI and ML are fundamentally changing how frontline teams operate, so seek a solution that’s spearheading development in this space.
Choose an FEXP that can scale & grow with your business needs
There’s nothing worse than investing significant amounts of time and money into a digitization initiative only to have the product fall flat because of low adoption or missing the mark to support business needs. Before selecting an FEXP, think very carefully about your business cases and workflows. Don’t forget, the best solutions can be upgraded and expanded over time. Be sure to pick a vendor who’s in it for the long haul.
YOOBIC: The #1 Frontline Employee Experience Platform
YOOBIC provides business leaders and frontline teams with the performance tools they need to learn, communicate and organize tasks seamlessly in the flow of work.
350+ companies around the world trust YOOBIC to elevate the employee and customer experience and increase sales conversions, while reducing operational costs.