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Workers speak out about the frontline employee experience

A staggering 66% of the frontline workers we polled as part of our State of the Frontline Workforce report are grappling with work-place stress.

Frontline workers are the backbone of any organization, accounting for 80% of the global workforce. And yet issues such as low pay, stressful work environments, and poor leadership have led to as many as one in two considering quitting their jobs in the past year. 

The findings of our latest State of the Frontline Workforce report reveal their grievances, providing employers with valuable insights that can elevate the employee experience.

Here’s what they report:

Every employee must count

Roughly one out of three (29%) of the frontline workers we polled reported feeling undervalued by their employer and had consequently contemplated leaving their positions. While money played a role, a desire for growth and better work-life balance emerged as a more significant culprit for this dissatisfaction. In short, frontline workers don’t want to feel like just another cog in the wheel.

We recognize that increasing salaries may not always be feasible, but there are other methods to boost morale and retention. Focusing on improving leadership, providing avenues for growth and learning, and finding ways to reduce daily stressors all work to increase employee satisfaction. When it comes to the overall frontline employee experience, these small measures often make the biggest impact.

Reduce stress, retain staff

Frontline workers frequently find themselves stressed to the brink, with 66% reporting work-related stress. Regular interactions with frustrated customers, irregular shifts, and limited autonomy over their duties can understandably take a toll on an employee’s well-being. So it’s hardly surprising that a stressful work environment ranks among the top three reasons they considered leaving their jobs within the past year.

Employers can combat these challenges by implementing strategies to reduce stress in the day-to-day lives of their frontline workers. Providing adequate training can boost confidence and relieve stress from feeling unprepared or unskilled. The role of supportive leadership shouldn’t be downplayed–managers should be approachable, attentively listen to employees’ concerns, and offer guidance when needed.

Help talent to thrive

According to the report, 58% of respondents aged 18-24 have contemplated leaving their jobs in the past year. This percentage decreases slightly but remains noteworthy among individuals aged 25-34. In contrast, only 53% of respondents aged 54 and older reported considering quitting within the same timeframe.

While younger frontline workers are more likely to consider quitting, older generations tend to be more committed to their positions. Of the respondents, 60% aged 35-54 and 58% aged 54 and older see their current job as a long-term career commitment. Meanwhile, only 42% of those aged between 18 and 34 share this perspective. This suggests that older employees prioritize stability, whereas younger workers seek opportunities for growth, learning, and advancement. 

In order to retain talent across the generational board, retention strategies should be tailored to meet the needs of different age groups. For younger generations, this could involve offering mentorship programs, opportunities to develop new skills, and promoting a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. On the other hand, emphasizing job stability, recognizing their experience and expertise, and providing mentorship and leadership roles may inspire commitment among older employees.

Generational priorities

With each generation at different life stages, it’s no wonder their priorities and expectations differ. For instance, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to seek higher pay (70%) compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers (55%). This could stem from the financial pressures younger generations face, from student loans to the rising cost of living.

Younger workers are also more likely to crave more flexible schedules, reflecting the changing nature of work and the desire for better work-life balance. Employers who offer more flexible work arrangements will find it easier to attract young talent while cultivating an environment of autonomy that benefits the entire workforce.


Addressing the stressors commonly reported by frontline workers will not only help organizations retain their staff but also enhance the frontline employee experience. If higher pay isn’t an option, other employee benefits like flexible schedules will appeal to younger frontline workers who prioritize this perk. 

Improving employee engagement and satisfaction is hardly rocket science. Businesses simply need to find ways to support and listen to their employees. Those who treat their frontline workers with the consideration they deserve are bound to see improvements across the board, from the bottom line upwards.

Delve deeper into the frontline employee experience in the full State of the Frontline Workforce report.  


Read the report


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