Culture | What the latest research tells us about building a happy and loyal workforce

What the latest research tells us about building a happy and loyal workforce

We recently launched the 2022 edition of Quinyx’s annual global study, The State of the Deskless Workforce, which surveys more than 9,000 frontline employees – from healthcare staff to couriers, retail assistants to chefs, and includes 1,500 UK-based workers.

As ever, the research provides a fascinating barometer of how deskless staff are feeling, and offers insights on how employee engagement can be boosted for happier, more motivated teams – who are likely to stick around for the long haul.

Here are some of the key learnings from this year’s stats:

1. Your company values matter more to your employees than you might think

What does your company stand for? Is there anything in your brand messaging that could be seen as outdated? Is your company known for its CSR initiatives, does it contribute to the local community or wider causes? Do your brand beliefs equate with the real-world experiences of customers and staff?

Our data shows that company values matter to today’s frontline workers. For one in seven (14%), not sharing the same values as their place of work is enough to make them consider quitting in favour of a role more aligned to their attitudes and beliefs.

If your brand messaging is family-focused, for example, but your own team members feel unable to ask for time off to honour personal commitments, then that disconnect may lead to resignations – especially when workers believe they can easily land other jobs.

It’s a good idea to take a fresh look at your brand values and messaging through the eyes of your employees – this might bring new ideas while also ‘red-flagging’ potential problem areas that could be hitting the wrong note. (And it’s also worth remembering that ‘you can’t please all the people all of the time’!)

2. Loyalty is no longer a given, it must be earned

The concept of a person having a ‘job for life’ feels like it has been consigned to the history books, and ‘The Great Resignation’ shows no signs of slowing – largely because workers know they have more sway in today’s job market.

We found that two thirds (67%) of frontline staff believe they now have many career opportunities open to them; a big jump from 2021 when just 40% were confident of securing another position quickly based on their skills. And more than half of deskless workers nationwide (57%) have recently considered quitting for new roles.

So we know employees don’t (always) stick around anymore. But that doesn’t mean they can’t, or won’t. Almost half (46%) across all sectors said they plan to stay in their current role for three years or more. It might sound obvious, but those who feel valued, are paid well, have flexibility and enjoy the work they do are more likely to be loyal and less likely to shop around for other options.

Yes, it’s a tough market out there, but company loyalty still exists – it’s just harder to earn.

3. There’s still a big lack of flexibility for the frontline

More than two years on from the pandemic, the national conversation about flexible working isn’t going away – and we’re 100% here for greater work-life balance. Unfortunately, these discussions are almost always relating to desk-based roles. Our research found that 39% of deskless staff still have no control over their work schedule whatsoever.

Flex scheduling is the second biggest priority for frontline workers when it comes to their job (behind ‘enjoyment at work’ and ahead of pay). And while there are of course more logistical considerations for flexibility in deskless roles, we can’t allow the flex gap between desk-based and frontline staff to widen further.

Making shift swapping easier (see point 4), having efficient processes for booking leave, letting workers know they’re able to ask for time off without judgement – these are all relatively easy processes to implement and can have a big impact on staff morale.

4. We’re not as tech-savvy as we could be

Following on from the above point, our study found that swapping shifts can be a major hassle for frontline staff (as well as for managers, who can often spend hours on manual scheduling). Almost a third (30%) have to directly contact their boss, with 45% having to call or email a colleague to set up a swap. Just 14% use an app – which seems like a low number considering the tech now available to us.

5. Communication is everything – so let’s talk

We found that more than a quarter (29%) of frontline staff in the UK believe that improved communication between management and employees would increase their motivation, yet almost half (46%) feel that any feedback they give isn’t listened to.

Concerningly, nearly two thirds (64%) feel they cannot talk to their managers about workplace stress that may be impacting their health.

Open, two-way communication is everything when it comes to successful employee engagement. Having an open-door policy, regularly checking in on staff and polling them for their opinions – which can be efficiently managed through a scheduling app like ours - can all make it much easier to talk, for both sides.

Visit our website for further information on how our digital tools can revolutionise your workforce management.

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