Organizations that rely heavily on a frontline workforce (nearly 90%!) are realizing that frontline employee retention has become their topmost concern. Leaders across industries have recognized the critical role that frontline employees play in driving customer satisfaction, maintaining operational efficiency, and ultimately contributing to the overall success of the company. That’s why frontline employee retention has emerged as the number one concern of leaders in 2023 (even above hiring). 


If that’s surprising to you, take a look at some of the major downsides of frontline turnover:

1. The Cost of High Turnover

The reason leaders are even more concerned with retention than they are with hiring? Retention is a lot cheaper than hiring new frontline employees. Recruiting, onboarding, and training new employees can be a time-consuming and expensive process. With frontline positions often requiring specific skills and knowledge, the constant churn of employees can lead to decreased productivity, increased operational costs, and potential disruptions in customer service. The good news? Leaders who focus on delivering a great onboarding experience (even better and easier if it’s automated) can increase retention by up to 80%. By focusing on retention, especially in the first 90 days of an employee’s experience, leaders can mitigate turnover costs and create a stable, experienced, and committed workforce.

2. Customer Experience Impact

Frontline employees are the face of an organization and directly interact with customers on a daily basis. Their level of engagement, expertise, and satisfaction significantly impact the customer experience. High turnover rates can result in a lack of continuity in service delivery, leading to inconsistent experiences for customers. Leaders understand that retaining skilled and motivated frontline employees is essential for creating positive customer interactions, building loyalty, and ultimately driving business growth.

3. Knowledge and Expertise

Frontline employees accumulate valuable knowledge and expertise over time. They become familiar with the organization's processes, products, and customer preferences, making them highly efficient and effective in their roles. When these experienced employees leave, it creates a knowledge gap that can be challenging to fill. And remember that one of those major knowledge gaps will be important customer insights. Often, frontline employees are the ones who carry the organizational knowledge of customer attitudes, desires, and challenges that can be so crucial to better customer experiences and products. Leaders are recognizing the importance of retaining these individuals to maintain great customer experiences and ongoing innovation.

4. Employee Morale and Engagement

High turnover rates can have a detrimental effect on the morale and engagement of the remaining frontline employees. Constantly witnessing colleagues leaving (and the increased stress and workload that come with a too-lean workforce) can lead to decreased job satisfaction and performance. Leaders are prioritizing retention efforts to create a positive work environment that fosters employee satisfaction, engagement, and a sense of belonging. It’s more important now than ever to create a great experience for frontline workers. The pandemic and current frontline employee shortage have shown us that employees have options. They are seeking better experiences and better pay (and finding them). By investing in the development and well-being of frontline employees, leaders can improve engagement, retention, and overall employer brand.

5. Talent Shortage and Competition

In 2023, industries who rely on a frontline workforce (to reiterate: most of them) are facing a talent shortage, making it even more challenging to attract and retain skilled frontline employees. As the job market becomes more competitive, organizations must differentiate themselves as desirable employers and show their frontline workforce they are just as valued and respected as salaried corporate staff. Leaders are focusing on implementing retention strategies such as offering competitive compensation, providing opportunities for growth and development, and cultivating a work culture of value and appreciation. We’d argue that’s the way it should always have been for frontline workers in the first place. 

Frontline employee retention has become the number one concern of leaders in 2023 due to the significant impact it has on the success of their organizations. High turnover rates result in increased costs, compromised customer experiences, knowledge gaps, and decreased employee morale. On the flip side, organizations who focus on creating a great experience for their frontline employees experience increased retention, better customer experiences, and even significantly higher revenue

The good news? Frontline engagement is a choice! Leaders who choose to focus on it will see improved retention. And there are strategies you can adopt today to start moving your employee engagement and retention in the right direction. 

If you’d like to talk through frontline engagement strategies, please reach out and have a conversation with a member of our team! Frontline engagement is what we do and we’re here for you.