Companies often invest as much as a million dollars in frontline employees over a 20-year period. To achieve a return on this investment, companies need to maximize performance of these employees. It is important for leaders not to overlook the key role that frontline employees play in the company’s success as they have a huge impact on both quality and cost. Frontline employees make the products and deliver the services that impact retention of customers and bottom line results.
Poor performance and frequent turnover among frontline employees cause a negative return on investment. PSP’s customers have long discovered the impact of correct selection for frontline employees. Testing has yielded employees who are 53% more productive than those who were not selected by PSP’s process. These employees are good problem solvers, cooperative and productive in their work.
Maximize Employees’ Motivation
Successfully hiring strong frontline employees, however, is only the first step. Afterwards, the company’s leadership must influence these employees in a manner that maximizes their motivation to achieve at the levels of their capability.
Research suggests that highly motivated workers achieve twice as much as average employees. Dr. Frederick Herzberg’s ground-breaking motivation research at PSP showed that only 20% of a worker’s motivation is achieved through salary, benefits and job security. Fully 80% comes from such motivators as achievement, recognition, responsibility and job enrichment.
Respect Employees’ Ability to Achieve
Herzberg’s research emphasizes the importance of respecting employees’ ability to achieve by maximizing their independence and their interface with customers. It is important that employees fully understand their part in the company/customer linkage that drives business results. Direct customer contact reinforces this connection and gives employees a purpose for what they do, thereby increasing their motivation.
Career development for frontline employees is also critical. Helping them to be continuous learners, building their skills and knowledge, will enable them to be even more effective on the job. All too often, companies believe that career development is beneficial only for professionals, managers and executives. PSP’s career development approaches can be appropriately customized to the needs of frontline employees and work teams, enhancing their motivation, performance and loyalty to the company.
Establish Trust with Employees
Leaders can show their respect for employees by sharing company goals and business information as well as by providing opportunities for employees to have input into decisions that affect them. These actions help establish trust with employees. Leaders must walk the talk of corporate values and make decisions based on what is good for the company and its customers. This creates a touchstone that employees can relate to in their day-to-day work activities. When decisions seem to be arbitrary or to benefit only executives, employees’ motivation goes negative, as does ROI.
To obtain high performing frontline employees, companies need to select workers who are skilled and motivated, as well as to provide leadership that promotes trust, motivation and respect. Careful selection and strong leadership maximize ROI on each million dollar employee investment.