Frontline Innovators
The Right Elements in Place - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 028

The Right Elements in Place - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 028

December 3, 2021

On today’s episode of Frontline Innovators, the guest went to school for chemical engineering and has spent his entire life in technology. Alok Pant, the CEO at Unvired Inc, joins host Euegene Signorini. Together they go over some of the biggest challenges that deskless workers face, such as learning new apps designed to make their lives and jobs easier out in the field. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed every company to switch as much as they can to digital rather than paper, and this creates more technology for those on the frontline to learn with very little training and constant updates and changes
  • There are 4 challenges that frontline workers face; making sure they can do their work effectively, user adoption change management, how do you train those in these field on the new app, and how do you deploy the app.
  • Training and change management are not one in the same, although mos think that they are. 
  • Communication between everyone ranging from the vendor to the CEO is key to running a successful business, and that doesn’t stop with deskless workers.
  • A mobile app is a great way to stay in touch with those who work in the field. Oftentimes they might not even have an email, but you can send a notification right to them.
  • When developing new technology, you want to make sure it is user friendly and intuitive for those on the frontline.
  • Projects are more successful when an executive sponsor or somebody else on the customer’s side are heavily interested in the project.

Quote of the show

17:03 “If you think of change management, OCM, it starts with leadership. Right from the CEO to the vice presidents, everybody has to be committed to something they're trying to change, the process. And that's why digitization is happening. So I think it starts from leadership.

 

A very important component of change management is communication to all stakeholders, to all your employees, even to maybe board members, investors. the money spent is significant, and of course, to your vendors. Communication has to be key. That's what we found.”

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Conceptualizing the Changes - Frontline Innovators - Episode #027

Conceptualizing the Changes - Frontline Innovators - Episode #027

November 30, 2021

The pandemic has had an effect on all frontline workers that we are still trying to understand today. That’s what today’s guest sees as one of the major issues that frontline workers face. Cristina Rivera, the Manager of Future Ready Workforce at PepsiCo, has a passion for finding new ways to make others lives easier. She joins host Justin Lake to sit down and talk about how not only the pandemic, but the speed of change are some of the issues that currently plague today’s deskless workforce. 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the frontline workers today is the speed in change of skills.
  • Learning new skills while being a frontline worker is a multi-generational issue. It doesn’t only affect the older workers in the position. 
  • Those on the frontline often feel overworked, feeling like they are doing more work with less people. A way to combat this is to make sure those on the frontline are up to date on their skills and fully trained.
  • Those in a position of change management need to take into account the fear that frontline workers have that technology will replace them, and help them understand that it won’t take their job away. 
  • Frontline workers need to hear from other frontline workers who have gone through the changes to know what to expect, hearing it from someone in corporate isn’t as impactful to them. 
  • You would use different strategies to communicate change in a typical corporate job than you would use with frontline workers. 
  • The biggest question right now is how do we get more people back in the workforce and increase the amount of workers taking  frontline jobs.

Quote of the show

15:34 “​Any time we want to roll out something with the intent to make their lives easier that with the intent to make things smoother or more effective, the fear comes in. I think that fear is one of the biggest things that people who are in charge of change management and any culture shift in an organization, those human elements are the pieces that we have to tend to the most because that's what is changing much more than my behaviors and me pushing whatever buttons.”

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The Leadership Behind Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 026

The Leadership Behind Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 026

November 23, 2021

Kristi Walker, Change Management Consultant at Arizona Public Service, joins host Justin Lake to discuss the constant changes that frontline workers are seeing and what tools are out there to make their lives easier. With over 20 years of experience in change management, she was also the assistant executive director at the Arizona Exposition and State Fair.  

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the deskless worker today is the transfer of information between people.
  • Always know your audience. If you are trying to sell change, you want to know what your selling can actually help those deskless workers.
  • Promote the “desire” piece of change. Those on the frontline should have a desire to try the new change you are promoting, and it makes it harder to accept if they don’t look forward to it.
  • Working from home was a difficult task for frontline workers. They still have to go out everyday while others don’t have to, so making sure they are acknowledged and rewarded for their hard work is a key to keeping them happy.
  • Having field workers on your change champion network is a great idea. Not only do the frontline workers feel more valued in that case, but there might be an issue they are having that upper management might not have known otherwise.
  • Face-to-face communication is always better than electronic communication.

Quote of the show:

 

0:43 “The biggest challenge for them right now is communications. We have such a hard time making sure that they get the information they need to be successful. We've worked with their leadership to get involved, they have these tailgate meetings before the start of every shift. You really have to get in front of them, kind of face-to-face if you can, to get the information across. So that's our main way of working with them, but we're always exploring new ways to really reach out and make sure they have what they need.”

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Drip Feed Learning - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 025

Drip Feed Learning - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 025

November 19, 2021

Listening to deskless workers can provide valuable feedback for those in the management position. On this episode of Frontline Innovators, host Justin Lake is joined by Shelby Matzell, Manager, Gas Transformation Change Office at National Grid. Together they talk about how utilizing feedback from the frontline workers can make those hard workers feel heard and understood, while also answering questions that management may not have known where being asked. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing deskless workers today is being able to reach them with communication. 
  • With frontline workers not being in the office, it’s important to stay in touch with them. All teams should be on the same app to make that easier. 
  • Repetition is key. You can’t expect people to understand new technologies or new plans on the first try, so it’s important to have a process and plan in place to explain it all.
  • Listen to those on the frontline. They might need a refresher on an app or a tool, whatever it may be, as long as you listen to them and help it only makes everyone’s job easier. 
  • Video presentations are an easier way of learning to use technology rather than just sharing screenshots.
  • Drip-feed learning is when you provide information to those on the frontline in a slow and methodical way, rather than overloading them with change.

Quote of the show:

 

11:51 “I would say if we could just take their feedback from any form that we're able to get that from, whether it's a survey, live feedback, anything that they're requesting more info on, or just like we talked about a tool.

If it's a tool that they need a refresher on, whatever it is that they're asking for. And if we have the ability to deliver that for them doing the best we can to meet them where they need to be. Because I do think if we were able to take their feedback or their suggestions and deliver, then they would be more receptive to anything else that we bring to them in terms of communication or in terms of what they need to know for their role, and being able to deliver that as well.”

 

 

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Keying In on Successful Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 024

Keying In on Successful Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 024

November 16, 2021

Corbin Kimberling, the ITSM Change Manager at Sage Therapeutics, knows that the process in change management and being proactive is key to change management success. Along with host Justin Lake, they go over ways that successful change can help those on the frontline, as well as the role empathy plays in understanding the struggles of the deskless workers.

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest issue facing the deskless workers today is the communication gap between those in upper management and the frontline workers themselves. 
  • The people who create changes to new applications and infrastructure have the best intentions for helping those on the frontline but they don’t understand what they really need.
  • Companies that don’t have a change management department are often being more reactive to change rather than being proactive. 
  • Frontline workers greatly appreciate communication in the field. It makes their lives and jobs easier and better.
  • You need to have processes in place to have successful change, but you also need a process in place in case of emergencies.
  • Incomplete Testing is when a change in a product is tested but only to see if the change works, not how it interacts with the rest of the product. 

Quote of the show:

 

4:33 “People that create these new changes to applications, new changes to infrastructure, their intention is to help out and to make it better. A lot of times what's causing these changes are the people that are on the frontline. They're sending in a ticket saying, ‘hey, it'd be better if it worked here.’

And I think the assumption is, well, if I go out there and change that everyone's going to celebrate me and I'm going to be great. It's gonna be awesome. And they forget exactly what they've asked for. But that was one person and that one person, may be in a specific place where they may not understand what all the other people are going through.”

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Aligning Technology with Business - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 023

Aligning Technology with Business - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 023

November 12, 2021

After working at companies like eBay and Sports Authority doing business and system analysis, Ashish Nangia, Program Manager II of Configuration and Change Management at Amazon, Inc. went back to school to learn about something he is passionate about; management information systems. Ashish, joins host Justin Lake to discuss ways that upper management can show their appreciation for deskless workers and come up with solutions for everyday issues that they face. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge facing the frontline workers right now is making sure they feel more valued and wanted. 
  • Safety is the priority with frontline workers. You want to make sure they are able to do their job safely but you also don’t want to diminish their abilities for incentives with all the change.
  • The pandemic has changed a lot for the frontline workers, but the biggest change is the mental aspect of it that is added to what is already a physically demanding job.
  • One way to help frontline workers understand the technology better is to offer a daily learning session where they can spend a certain amount of time asking questions and trying out different things on the new technology.
  • It’s better to explain why the process of new technology works rather than explaining how it works because everyone is at a different step with technology.
  • Changing technology is good, but it is changing at such a rapid pace that those on the frontline are struggling to keep up with it. 

Quote of the show: 

 

1:06 “What has not been taken into consideration is the thought process and the feelings that somebody who's at the front end, who doesn't have that flexibility goes through. And I think as a leader and as bigger companies, I think those thought processes are now being thought of at the front end. And some of the changes are coming through.

You see companies offering education, or funding, college tuition, and so on. So the biggest challenge is how do you make them feel more valued? So it's a level playing field for everybody in the organization.”

 

Links

 

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Getting Through the Change Cycle - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 022

Getting Through the Change Cycle - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 022

November 9, 2021

On this episode of Frontline Innovators, Michelle Pacilli, the Change Adoption Manager at Echo Global Logistics, joins host Justin Lake to talk about the biggest challenges facing frontline workers today and how a sense of community amongst deskless workers and management can help those on the frontline get through issues they are facing. 

 

 

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge that frontline workers face today is how they can make working from home easier on themselves.
  • The sense of community that has occurred during the pandemic is helpful for frontline workers. It helps them to feel connected to management and not alone.
  • During the pandemic, many companies switched from making their typical products to help those in need, which influenced how those on the frontline do their work.
  • The frontline workers are the ones that speak directly to the customers, so they need to be up to date on all the latest technology and information.
  • Letting the stakeholders and frontline workers try out new technologies is a great way to get realistic feedback on what works and what doesn’t.
  • TMS is a Transportation Management System; it’s how companies like Echo Global Logistics manage their day to day tasks such as billing and invoicing.

Quote of the Show: 

 

1:34 “The silver lining of everything that's happened over the last two years is that we've developed a community in a sense, in any aspect, whether that be at work or at home frontline workers.

 

We've developed this sense of 'got to get through this together and what are you doing to help you get through this?’ And so it's very interesting.” 

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Heroes within a Pandemic - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 21

Heroes within a Pandemic - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 21

November 5, 2021

Maddie Neuman shares her admiration for the bravery and courage of frontline workers - particularly during the pandemic. Neauman, is the Manager, Learning & Development & Organizational Change Management Office within the Technology organization at T-Mobile. She joins host Justin Lake to give her insight on how upper management can show appreciation for those deskless workers.

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest issue facing the deskless worker is the lack of communication. Sometimes communication can be like a game of telephone tag and the meaning of the message gets lost on the way to those on the frontline.
  • There isn’t one certain way to do change management. There are plenty of different strategies and it’s worth trying a few different ones to get the one that works for you.
  • Those on the frontline are the ones who have the best perspective of what the customers want or need.
  • With everyone working remotely, it’s important to think of ways to have employees be engaged, and a great way of doing that is by listening to the questions deskless workers have.
  • Frontline workers were the ones keeping the stores alive during the pandemic, going into the store everyday and answering the phone and providing anything customers need.
  • Change fatigue is what happens when humans reach their limit of how much change they can handle.

Quote of the show:

 

1:28  “I think sometimes even if communication is trickling down, it changes and morphes as it moves along. And so I think sometimes the issue is the lack of communication.

And sometimes the issue is the changing of the communication as it makes its way through. So I think that's a really big challenge. And I would also say an opportunity for organizations to look at how to get that right, and how to make sure that employee voices and sentiment from the frontline is heard and taken seriously.”

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The People Side of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 20

The People Side of Change - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 20

November 2, 2021

Today’s guest is a former frontline employee, and uses his past experience to help make life easier for other deskless workers. Lee Goldstein is a Change Manager at a major energy corporation, and he joins host Justin Lake to give his insight on how to help those frontline employees and make their lives easier through the use of new technology.

Takeaways 

 

  • The biggest challenge that deskless workers face today is communication. Often these employees are working odd hours, holidays, and weekends which makes it difficult for them to reach someone in management with any issues or questions.
  • Those in management can go out in the field or ride in a truck with those frontline workers to understand what their daily life is like and the struggles they face, and have a better understanding of how to solve any issues they face. 
  • It’s difficult to get frontline workers to adopt new technology. These employees are keeping the lights on and their job depends on understanding how the new technology works, if it’s too complicated there could be major issues. 
  • If you leave the frontline workers out when thinking of new technology, that isn’t helpful. Their input is incredibly valuable as they are the ones that will be using the technology all the time.
  • The buy-in for your organization starts with asking “why?”. Just asking why you are doing something can determine if it is something that is necessary or not. 
  • Getting to know the frontline workers in your company is a valuable thing. They are people with their own hopes and dreams for the company, it’s worth listening to them.

Quote of the show:

 

12:04 “There's two real parts to project management, change management, if you will. There's the technical side and then there's the people side. So I was on the technical side, so if you're creating a product or you're introducing something, building something, whatever, just call it technical. And then there's the people side of it. 

So I really made that jump from the operations technical side over to the people side because I've tried to tell people, it's just that altruistic jump that you make at some point. You really want to help people. And it might not make sense, but it's a path to get to the people in a new and special and impactful way. And so for the past couple of years, I've been in a change management role and it's been incredible.”

Links

 

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The Workers are the Solution - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 19

The Workers are the Solution - Frontline Innovators - Episode # 19

October 29, 2021

Making sure the lights and power stay on are often things that are taken for granted, but the men and women on the frontlines are hard at work every day keeping everything going. Kurt Kidwell, a continuous improvement manager for a major electric utility, joins the host Justin Lake to talk about ways that management can listen to those on the frontline and come up with helpful solutions to their problems. 

 

Takeaways 

  • The biggest challenge facing the deskless worker right now is how virtual meetings impact those frontline employees. Virtual meetings make it difficult to connect with those working outside on the frontline.
  • The frontline workers are the most impacted and the most at risk when it comes to technology. It’s important to make sure the technology is easy enough to master and able to use it anywhere on the road.
  • Give the deskless workers one device and have them do all their work from that one device and limit the amount of things they are asked to do. That will allow them to be freed up to do their job. 
  • A common problem when creating a new app or a new way of doing work for those on the frontline is that people focus on what sounds good in an office, but that often doesn’t apply to those deskless workers and it isn’t good in the field. You can't build mobile technology solutions from a conference room.
  • The worker is the solution, not the problem to be solved. Management often tries to find new technologies to help the frontline workers, and those workers are the most important part of the equation.
  • Frontline workers have been through so much change that the older workers won’t be as surprised as the younger workers will be.

 

Quote of the show:

17:08 In terms of developing new technology... “what sounds good in an office - most times that isn't good in the field. And a lot of times we see a transfer of responsibility of gathering information down to the field and it's not intentional. I think it's something that as this technology develops and we're learning and I'm trying to get better. It's something that kind of just happens and we have to really be careful to be mindful and watch what responsibilities and what things that are we asking of our frontline employees to do.”

 

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