Frontline Innovators
The Science of the Employee Experience - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 041

The Science of the Employee Experience - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 041

January 18, 2022

Sarah Lang is the Learning and Change Manager at BNSF logistics. She’s a Master of Science, Chemistry from Texas A&M University, and she found her way to helping manage change and says she uses her science skills everyday. She joins host Justin Lake to sit down and talk about some of the biggest challenges that frontline workers are facing today. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the frontline workers today is that they are overloaded with information. There are so many apps and different software that it can be daunting.
  • You need to understand the audience. You need to know who is using the technology and tailor to benefit them and make it easy to use.
  • It’s a good idea to have a system in place that goes over a step by step guide on what process to follow should frontline workers have any questions.
  • It’s easier to manage the change of new employees because they are like a blank slate and they will learn how to properly get things done. 
  • You want to focus your change on each individual person rather than a large group as a whole, that way everyone will understand the change thoroughly. 
  • Managers are critical in making change happen. Management is the one who has to sell it to the employees. 
  • When working with a manager to get their buy-in on the change, you need to benefit of it to them and their employees. 

Quote of the show

32:58 “If you have a situation which typically you have seasoned people at your company, middle of the road for three or four years in, and then you have brand new people and you have a change coming, you really have to sit down and do that change impact for every single role. And then down to that individual level, I know that sounds really time consuming, but I promise, there's a benefit to doing that.”

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Being A True Leader - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 040

Being A True Leader - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 040

January 14, 2022

Sonya Shelton, CEO at Executive Leadership Consulting, joins host Eugene Signorini to discuss the importance of being a good leader to those on the frontline. Also the author of “You’re An Executive But Are You a Leader?,” Sonya shares her invaluable insight on what it takes to be a true leader.

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • Burnout is the biggest challenge facing the frontline workforce today. Going through the pandemic and supply chain issues has been a struggle and those on the frontline are the ones dealing with all the challenges.
  • Frontline workers experience anxiety just like everyone else, and their mental health should also be paid attention to.  
  • Culture and Strategy shouldn’t be enemies, but they should be working together in order to create a great employee experience.
  • You want to inspire people and be a leader. You want to have followers, not people who are compliant with you. 
  • A lot of companies lose sight of what it means to be a frontline worker. You want to make sure deskless employees are given everything they need to succeed.
  • It’s easy to lose sight of the small wins in a company because of what is happening in the world right now, but it’s important to celebrate even the little victories to motivate your employees.
  • Having a set process in place is critical. You need to have this so the employees know what steps to follow and it eases the burden on them. 

Quote of the show

 

9:20 “If you're just relying on your position or your title, or the power that the organization has given you through that title, then you have compliance, you don't have followers. It's really about how can you inspire people and lead them towards a vision.”

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Laying the Tracks for Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 039

Laying the Tracks for Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 039

January 11, 2022

Sydney Henry is the Organizational Change Practitioner at Norfolk Southern Corporation. She’s an experienced and passionate change leader, and she comes from a family of railroaders. She joins host Justin Lake to talk about issues that frontline workers are facing today. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • Communication is the biggest issue facing the frontline workforce today. Constant communication is really important to keep them updated in the field. 
  • It’s important to ask questions throughout the year, as different issues can arise at different times with technology. 
  • A change manager should do a walk along with a frontline employee or talk with them in person, as it’s important to see what a day in their life is like for them.
  • Always make sure there is a backup plan. Not everything can be stopped until a new process is implemented, so having a backup plan is extremely important.
  • Observe frontline workers and how they do their job before you implement change. That way you can see if the change is necessary and how it will help.
  • There are many different ways of communicating with frontline workers, so it’s important to take advantage of those tools rather than using emails.
  • It’s important to be empathetic for those on the frontline. They are the ones facing the customers and having to answer questions while working in the field. 

Quote of the show: 

 

0:47 “I've been a victim of the same thing: communicating in the very beginning with the frontline workers to get their opinion about something, but not following up enough throughout the process. 

 

I think that initial testing, in the field or on the frontline testing, the technology or the process changes. It's very important, but even, especially using an agile methodology, that constant communication of, Hey, did something new come up or is there some special circumstance we can talk about that you didn't talk about before? I absolutely think that communication is key.”

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The Lighthouse of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 038

The Lighthouse of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 038

January 7, 2022

Ken White, Change Manager at Lowe’s, shares his experience having worked for the state department of Tennessee to bring all their workers online. Ken joins host Justin Lake to discuss some of the issues that are facing the frontline workforce today and ways that we can work on solving those issues. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the frontline workforce today is technology driven change saturation.
  • Communication is the backbone of change management. It helps to have a good back and forth communication to incorporate change and have it be positivity received. 
  • Project lighthouse was Duke energy’s flagship product to digitally transform itself. 
  • Never stop listening to the customer. You are there to digitally transform products to make their life easier. 
  • There’s no such thing as a bad idea. You want everyone in the company to feel heard and you can always learn something new from any idea. 
  • An empathy map is when you take a typical employee and you take how they feel about their job and what they do into account and try to make them happier. 
  • Every company is turning more and more to technology to get work done because of the pandemic. 

Quote of the show

 

17:57 “An empathy map is taking your typical job roles, say line technician, and we divide them up into four categories. And as the development team, we talk about the typical line technician, and we talk about what the line tech is thinking, what they're actually doing on their job on a daily basis, what they're feeling about what they're doing and what they're saying about what they do and the organization.”

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The Readiness of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode #037

The Readiness of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode #037

January 4, 2022

Kate DeGon is the Founder and CEO at Changesync. She’s a prosci certified management consultant. She was formerly the President of the Arizona chapter of the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP). She sits down with host Eugene Signorini to discuss what some of the challenges are that frontline employees are facing. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the frontline workforce today is time. These employees are incredibly busy and when change comes in, that adds extra work onto their plate. 
  • Most frontline employees are remote, so you want to make sure the change you are working on is something that can be done remotely for them and with ease. 
  • Most people are not a huge fan of surprises in the workforce. It’s best to take the time and slowly incorporate the change, so everyone is on the same page.
  • It’s imperative to use technology that is easier to use. There’s no need to use software that makes your job more complicated.
  • The employees are the ones who make the change stick, so making sure they are happy and they understand what is happening is key.
  • Change management teams are typically small, which allows them to quickly pivot to new changes and focus on what employees are saying.
  • You want to find people who will champion the change. They will help facilitate the change and address any issue with it. 

Quote of the show: 

 

5:15 “Readiness is really helping to prepare the employees who are impacted regardless of the level of impact, really helping to prepare them for the impending change. And this precedes the actual formal training.  Let's be honest, most people are not huge a fan of opening up their computer or getting a message somehow and hearing that there's a big change. Those surprises just really aren't welcomed in the workforce.”

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The Bell Curve of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 036

The Bell Curve of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 036

December 31, 2021

Mario Aguirre is the Project Manager of Programs, Change & Analytics at a Major Electric Utility. He has over 15 years of management experience in diverse areas. He is driven by his profound desire for a positive impact on others. He joins host Justin Lake and together they talk about some of the biggest challenges the deskless workforce faces. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The deskless workforce is becoming less and less deskless. Innovation in technology is great but with it comes technology that makes those frontline workers tied to certain areas such as trucks or cars. 
  • Listening to employees on the frontline is a key company for management. They have some great insight into what works and doesn’t work in the field. 
  • If you’ve worked as a frontline employee before, you understand the impact of change and decision making and what it really means to those on the frontline.
  • There’s always going to be a bell curve when it comes to change, so it’s important to make sure that frontline employees are aware and prepared for any change and the challenges that come with it. 
  • There are opportunities for any industry to improve. Change enablement is a growing field and it’s important to take advantage of that. 
  •  It’s important to build a great relationship between management and those working on the frontline. 
  • Showing appreciation for those on the frontline is something that can motivate them and make them feel heard and understood.

Quote of the show

 

0:42 “The deskless workforce is becoming less and less desk-less as innovation is being deployed much closer and closer to those frontline employees… As leaders of innovation, we have to ensure that our leaders are engaging those frontline employees and making sure to have a process to do that. What we're deploying is ensuring that our leaders observe the frontline employees and that they seek input from those frontline employees, they solution the opportunity, then they communicate the solution.”

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Different Frontline Personas - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 035

Different Frontline Personas - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 035

December 28, 2021

Sally Fahey, a Global Black Belt - Modern Work Specialist, and First Line Worker at Microsoft, has had the privilege and experience of working with some of Australia's most iconic brands. After graduating from school she worked with a large telecommunications company, where she discovered she really likes how technology can help organizations. Sally is also a Prosci certified change practitioner and she joins host Eugene Signorini to discuss some of the biggest challenges that frontline workers are facing. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the deskless workforce is being understood. It’s important for management to understand the role frontline workers play in the company so they can better help.
  • Those who work on the frontline are multifaceted and can handle many different types of tasks, but that doesn’t mean they should be overloaded with work.
  • Communication is key. You need to have an open channel of communication that is effective in order to better understand and cooperate with deskless workers. 
  • The pandemic has created a fear among frontline workers because they are the ones facing the public which means they are likely to contract the virus.
  • A problem in many organizations is trying to solve niche issues. Rather than doing that, it’s better to have a frontline manager look at this issue and try and solve them.
  • There are many different frontline personas within an organization, and this helps to make it so that change can be incorporated into a company in a smooth manner.
  • Technology is an enabler, but you can’t use technology just to say you are using it. It needs to have a purpose and serve the company in a good way.

Quote of the show

 

0:54 “I think it's as simple as being understood. So it's having people understand the work that they do, the environment that they do it in, and the tools and processes they need to do the work they do today. But also how their role fits in the broader ecosystem of an organization, because these are the people that are making the products for our customers.”

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The Shepherd of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode #034

The Shepherd of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode #034

December 23, 2021

Kristine Dunn is the Manager, Organizational Change and Learning at DTE Energy. She is a certified professional and talent developer with ATD. She has a background in developing cultures, leaders, and teams to create a positive employee experience. Kristine and host Justin Lake discuss some of the challenges that plague frontline employees.

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the frontline workers today is balancing their daily work while also staying connected to the extended teams back at the office. 
  • Investing in technology that can make communication easier for those who work on the frontline.
  • You want to make sure you are interacting and engaging with those on the frontline in a way that’s reasonable to them as that will positively impact how they react to change.
  • Those who work in change management are shepherds of change, leading the employees to a successful transition.
  • There’a a two pronged approach for change managers trying to help employees handle change; one is how do you personally show up and the other is how do you take action on the work that needs to be done.
  • Communications have really been disrupted in the last few years because of the pandemic, and that makes the lives of deskless employees harder.
  • New technology is constantly being introduced, it makes the learning curve steeper and those on the frontline are going from being an expert to being novice on a constant basis.

Quote of the show

20:39 “Right now we're introducing a lot of new technology to help them work more efficiently. And with that comes this major transition of going from an expert and having that expert status to a learner or a novice… but the reality is it takes time to move back into that expert status again.”

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Utilizing Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 033

Utilizing Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 033

December 21, 2021

Doug Eichhorn, Vice President of Change Enablement at Whole Foods Market has extensive retail experience with over 25 years in various leadership roles. He is both BMI and Prosci certified. Doug joins host Justin Lake to discuss what frontline workers are going through and some of the challenges they face, like the rapid pace of changing information.

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the deskless force is making sure that they have enough time to adapt to the changes that are coming towards them. 
  • When we get hyper focused on a project, we think that’s the only thing a frontline worker has but they have lots of projects going on all at once.
  • There is an inherent resistance to change. It’s the job of those in change management to show the frontline workers that change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  • A common issue is when people are trying to solve an issue they think the end users are experiencing when that actually isn’t an issue at all.
  • You have to remember that some frontline workers are part-time, so dropping new information on them constantly could confuse them and slow down their average work day.
  • If you have a way to communicate in an effective way and cut down on the number of messages sent out, you can increase proficiency and productivity.
  • Change managers are looking at three big things on a daily basis: utilization, proficiency and value.

Quote of the show:

 

0:38 “I think one of the biggest challenges they face is giving those team members that desk-less workforce enough time to absorb the changes that are coming down.

So many times there are multiple originators of work or multiple originators of change requests to that team and team member that they just don't get enough time to actually absorb the change and be able to process through what it means to them, how it impacts their day to day, what it means to do work differently before the next change is hitting them all.”

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Changes for the Mobile Workforce - Frontline Innovators - Episode #032

Changes for the Mobile Workforce - Frontline Innovators - Episode #032

December 17, 2021

Tulsi Keshkamat, Product Management Director - Modern Workplace Transformations at Microsoft has empathy for all the deskless workers and wants to empower them to be the best they can be. She recognizes that digital transformation impacts those on the frontline first and foremost. She joins host Eugene Signorini to talk about ways that upper management can better help those who work on the frontline.

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • Frontline workers need to be a prominent part in the conversation about digital transformation as it affects them more than anyone else. 
  • Frontline workers are mobile first and they are the ones who face the customers, so they need to be up to date on all the latest technology.
  • Communication is extremely important when it comes to upper management trying to be in touch with those on the frontline. A walkie-talkie is a great solution to that. 
  • When it comes to helping frontline workers be more effective in their job, look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as an example. 
  • The biggest things that deskless workers need is flexibility, access to information and then connection and collaboration.
  • Everyone in an organization learns in different ways. It’s important to take note of this and make sure you adapt to those different ways of learning.

Quote of the show:

 

1:13 “One of the things that this pandemic has brought front and center is that digital transformation, as we think about it for an organization, Critical information workers or what we call the people who have desks, but it is also critical to frontline workers or what you described as the set of people who are desk-less, they're typically mobile first, but the pandemic really did a good, good job of showing us how critical they are.

 

The world cannot run without them. That just became immediately obvious, but also it became important for us to realize that they need to be part of this conversation of digital transformation. If we don't include them, we are going to be left behind and we can't adjust to the changes that are happening.”

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