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In North America, frontline retail and food service jobs are among the largest occupational groups, with more than 27 million workers. By 2025, Millennials will make up the vast majority (75%) of this workforce, with a majority working in retail, foodservice, and hospitality. Today, organizations are struggling to effectively engage and motivate their frontline teams, let alone communicate with them. On a mission to solve this problem and help brands excel at engaging with their frontline teams to drive performance, we went straight to the source, the next generation of employees, to find out what they value in the workplace. Here’s what they had to say:

After interviewing frontline Millennials and Gen Z, we discovered the next generation of employees are starving for more effective workplace communication. The needs were clear: Organizations must adapt their communication methods and strategies to better align with the modern workplace. Employees top three motivators at work? Establishing a clear team vision, providing recognition and rewards, and building a culture of transparency. Here are three steps you can take to start better engagement, drive team performance and satisfy the needs of your frontline workforce.

1. Establish a clear team vision

Frontline employees are your direct connection to customers and play a big role in providing an exceptional customer experience. Despite that, they can often feel disconnected from headquarters, reducing their capability to deliver on the brand promise with confidence and to feel that they’re effectively contributing to the team. Ensuring frontline workers are passionate about your brand vision and empowered to engage with customers is essential.

Our tip: Ask your employees what your brand means to them. Gather feedback and ideas on how you can make your vision come to life – empowering employees to take part and contribute to the bigger picture.

2. Provide feedback and recognition

Frontline employees have extremely valuable insights on customer experience, consumer preferences, and have a lot of great ideas to share with the team. 51% of Millennials want their managers to better listen to and value their ideas, so why are there not more effective feedback systems in place? Today, employees want feedback frequently so they can quickly and continuously improve. They don’t want to wait until quarterly, or even monthly meetings to hear what they can do better.

Our tip: Today’s employees are looking for guidance in their failures, but are also looking to be recognized and rewarded for their successes. Nothing motivates or engages an employee more than being recognized in the workplace – whether it be a compliment at the end of a shift, or providing an extra vacation day.

3. Build a culture of transparency

In many cases, store associates or restaurant staff are given a task or a snippet of information, without understanding where it is coming from or its underlying purpose. The next generation of employees are looking to see the full picture – they want to be kept in the loop with company news, sales objectives, targets, and performance data. They want to understand what the team is working towards – and how letting a customer know about the latest promotion fits into that.

Our tip: Create team-based challenges to provide context around your current promotions and customer initiatives. Ensure transparency by sharing progress and results with employees along the way, helping everyone feel a part of the team and motivated to achieve business results.

Knowing what your frontline employees value is a critical step in your journey towards building high performing teams. Recognizing that your workforce is increasingly becoming made up of Millennials and Gen Z, and adapting your communication strategy to meet their needs is the first step in getting there.

Interested in learning more? Check out our report, ‘How Mobile Technology is Transforming Workplace Performance’ here.