If your favorite vegan ice cream flavor has been out of stock at your local supermarket for the last few months, you may be the victim of a labor shortage.

Current labor shortages are affecting supply chain issues from picking crops, manufacturing, and transportation to stocking shelves, and there’s no end in sight. Thus, that persistent empty shelf is where your ice cream should be.

As a business owner who employs frontline workers, this reality is a heavy weight to carry. Your profits hinge on hiring and retaining enough workers to keep business cruising, customers happy, and cash flowing.

employee retention

When your ‘help wanted’ ad gets nothing but crickets, and you receive resignation letters regularly, it’s hard to remain hopeful. But, rather than focus on the frontline employees you don’t have, it’s better to focus on keeping the ones you do.

Discover how an effective employee retention strategy is a long-term solution that will help your business thrive even during a labor shortage.

Why Employee Retention Is Better For Business

To meet consumer demands, you may have already resorted to reducing open hours, paying overtime for double shifts, or worse, panic hiring — in a worker shortage, anyone is better than no one, right?

With nearly five million ‘missing’ workers in the U.S, it’s no wonder a little slack in hiring standards is tempting. While there are temporary solutions to support quick, seasonal hiring efforts, the truth is, hiring workers for the sake of filling open positions can negatively impact your business.

For starters, replacing an hourly worker comes with an average price tag of $1500. And with turnover rates as high as 60%, loose hiring standards can cost your company more money in the long run.

Constantly replacing frontline workers requires continuous recruitment, onboarding, and training, all of which are costly. But the biggest financial hit from high turnover is a reduction in productivity.

It takes new employees time to learn their job, build relationships with coworkers and customers, and generally feel comfortable in their roles. Low productivity can also result from burnout among employees working overtime to compensate for staff shortages.

High employee turnover could also be damaging to your business reputation. If you’re known for having a revolving door of employees, customers may question the quality of service, and you may receive fewer resumes because people will assume it’s not a great place to work.

Employee Engagement is Key to Improving Retention

There is no fast solution to improving employee retention (sorry!). Retaining top talent requires a commitment to prioritizing people and begins with examining company culture.

High employee turnover is affected by and affects morale, and low morale leads to unengaged frontline workers. Unengaged workers tend to miss more days of work, do the bare minimum during a shift, and eventually leave in search of something better.

Conversely, engaged employees are more likely to remain with an organization long-term, and the kickbacks are huge.


In fact, the correlation between employee engagement and retention is staggering.

According to Gallup:

  • Engaged employees turn over 24% less than those who are not.
  • Organizations with an engaged workforce are 21% more profitable.
  • Highly engaged workplaces see 41% lower absenteeism.

An eleven-year study by Forbes discovered that organizations with company cultures that encouraged all-around leadership initiatives and appreciated their team members experienced a 682% increase in revenue growth.

And another study reports that 69% of employees say they’d work harder if the company they worked for appreciated them more.

Engaged employees care about the company they work for. They feel more connected and committed and want to help achieve goals and celebrate company wins.

Improving frontline employee engagement is a worthwhile effort as long-term workers will save your company money and increase profits.

Increase Employee Engagement with Better Communication

Employee engagement is not about better benefits packages or higher wages. Yes, those things are attractive and can help improve job satisfaction, but they don’t lead to more engaged frontline workers.employee engagement

The most significant influence on employee engagement is communication.

Because frontline workers don’t have the luxury of working from home, they want to know they matter to the company they work hard for. They are the ones who showed up during the pandemic and kept the world turning. And now that they understand their value, they want to be part of the larger company conversation.

They have let the world know they will no longer settle for work cultures that exclude them and still expect them to feel engaged in their work.

If you don’t have a frontline internal communications strategy, it’s time to develop one. And if your current strategy isn’t working, it’s time to try something new.

The first step to improving communication with your frontline hourly workers is to assess how you deliver that communication.

Do you still rely on a top-down strategy where messages can get distorted before they reach their intended audience? Or what about email that often gets lost in a messy inbox, lands in the spam folder, or gets read when the message is no longer relevant?

These forms of communication are outdated and simply don’t work. They aren’t reliable and send a message to your frontline employees that they aren’t worth the investment in a better system.

Considering 97% of Americans own a cell phone, a texting tool is the most logical choice to improve frontline communication.

Increase Employee Retention with goHappy

goHappy is an easy-to-use texting tool that will drastically improve your frontline messaging.

Schedule texts such as birthday messages, welcome to the team, happy national frontline worker day, and so much more — check out our employee engagement communications calendar to get some ideas!

Skip those emergency pre-shift meetings and send out text blasts when you have an important and time-sensitive message to share — like a big company win or last-minute changes to warehouse protocol.

You can even segment messages and send relevant texts to a specific group of employees. If your shift supervisors need an update on a safety issue but the rest of the team doesn’t, no problem. Create segments that make sense for your organization.

Book a demo today and discover how goHappy can elevate your internal communications efforts so your business can experience more engaged workers and improved employee retention.

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