top of page
Image by Hal Gatewood

Engaging frontline employees

For many organizations, such as those in the retail and manufacturing spaces, frontline employees are the lifeblood of the business. These employees often represent a significant portion of an organization’s workforce, yet can be inadvertently excluded from employee resource groups (ERGs) due to their dispersed work locations, varying shift schedules, limited access to company intranet, etc. Effectively engaging frontline employees requires tailored communications, flexibility, and buy-in, and can be a valuable effort in building a strong ERG program that supports frontline employees and the organization. Below are five tactical tips to follow as you build your frontline employee ERG plan. 

1. Gain buy-in from frontline managers

When it comes to engaging frontline employees, engaging their managers and gaining their buy-in is a critical first step. This is because, in many organizations, frontline managers serve as the gatekeepers to frontline employees: Without their support and buy-in, employees may be discouraged from taking the time to participate in ERGs. Engaging frontline managers can provide an opportunity to educate them on the value and benefits of ERGs, the organization’s ERG commitment, and how they can support their employees who want to participate in ERGs. 

2. Keep meetings short and flexible

Because many frontline employees work varying shift schedules that can often change on a weekly or monthly basis, it can be difficult to find a suitable time to host ERG meetings. In addition, many frontline employees are hourly, making it more difficult for them to be able to take time out of their shift to attend a lengthy meeting. For this reason, it’s important that ERG meetings be kept short (15 minutes or less) and infrequent. When feasible, record meetings so that employees can watch during breaks or in between shifts. If employees don’t have access to a company computer to watch meetings or access emails, consider using a bulletin board or other space to share meeting highlights, advertise events, or solicit feedback. 

3. Localize communication channels

In many organizations, frontline employees don’t have access to company intranet or have a dedicated company email address, meaning they may be inadvertently excluded from receiving information on ERGs sent via email or posted online. For this reason, communications should always be localized as much as possible. For example, posters, bulletin boards, or pamphlets may be more impactful when it comes to engaging frontline employees who work in a manufacturing or retail setting; creating a visual communication, such as a slide or image, might be valuable in settings where employees have access to a screen that shares internal announcements and information. Learn more about localizing ERG impact

4. Use swag to raise awareness

Using swag, such as stickers, pins, or other wearables with an ERG’s logo, can go a long way in promoting awareness of ERGs and helping to create a sense of community and belonging among frontline employees. If frontline employees are required to wear a uniform or adhere to a particular dress code, integrating ERG swag can be an effective way to promote workplace inclusion and support a positive brand image among customers, potential employees, and other stakeholders. 

5. Integrate ERGs into professional development plans 

Of the many benefits of ERGs, one of the most impactful is the opportunity for members to develop key skills to advance their careers as professionals. ERGs can serve as talent pipelines for frontline workers, helping them advance into higher impact roles through informal leadership opportunities, networking, learning, and other development benefits. This can also be a valuable selling point when gaining buy-in from managers and leaders or recruiting ERG members.

Ian Waltman
Jul 4, 2024

Featured partner

Featured Partner ads help you stand out to potential job candidates.

bottom of page