Welcome back to WorkJam’s Digital Workplace Blog where our aim is to help you revolutionize the way your HQ and frontline work together!
There’s no question your frontline isn’t staffed the way you want or need. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you almost certainly don’t have enough employees to complete all the work that needs to be done. Full stop.
Much has been discussed regarding why this is the case, but one clue as to how we got here can be found by taking a closer look at Gen Z.
Right now, Gen Z has the highest unemployment rate compared to the rest of the workforce. Historically, these young people were the fuel that powered the frontline fire – particularly in areas of retail, food service, and hospitality. Today that fire seems to be burning out.
Ultimately, where Gen Z employees went is far less interesting than why they left the frontline in the first place.
Earlier this week we attended the Retail Influencer CEO Forum in NYC and hosted a private “Ask Me Anything” session with The Z Suite, a group of Gen Z influencers with insights on how their generation views everything from fashion to wellness to inclusivity.
One of the topics we explored was the future of frontline work, specifically, what Gen Z thinks about it and how companies can get more young people back and interested in working in stores, hotels, restaurants, and the like.
Through the discussion, one word kept coming up again and again:
Gen Z wants to be trusted– they want autonomy. And traditional frontline work simply isn’t giving that to them. Frankly, it isn’t giving them much of anything at all.
Want to show a member of Gen Z you don’t trust them? Hand them a task list on a clipboard and tell them you’ll be back to “check over” their work later. Want to show Gen Z you don’t value them? Explain to them how you communicate with employees by posting notes on a bulletin board in the break room.
Gen Z doesn’t want you to give them a fish, or even show them how to. They just want you to hand them a fishing pole and they’ll figure out the rest.
A digital frontline workplace is that fishing pole.
A digital frontline workplace takes so much of what’s antiquated about analog frontline work and translates it into the way Gen Z wants and needs to operate. It connects and orchestrates the frontline and shows you trust them to communicate, learn, execute, and coordinate in a way that makes them feel trusted.
Need to train them how to clean and shut down a piece of equipment? Don’t schedule them to work with a trainer for a week, have that trainer record a series of quick videos explaining how to do it.
Need to communicate an important message to your team? Don’t post it on a physical wall, post it to a digital one and let them see it on a feed just like they would the social channels they navigate every day.
Are you struggling to fill shifts on the schedule? You need to offer your frontline an option where they can easily pick up and swap shifts that better fit their schedule. Gen Z is willing to work when you need them, but having flexibility is important.
None of this is rocket science. It’s evolution. Gen Z is very loudly telling you they’re rejecting old ways of work and being managed, and they’re not interested in working for companies that refuse to adapt to the times. You don’t have to take our word for it – just look at the empty schedule you have pinned to the backroom bulletin board.