Training Read Time: 16 minutes

Frontline training: 10 best practices for companies with deskless staff

Image of Fredrik Selander
Fredrik Selander
Feb 07, 2024

 

Frontline training: 10 best practices for companies with deskless staff

Frontline workers are the backbone of many companies, performing essential tasks that keep businesses running smoothly. However, training these employees can be challenging, especially when they’re constantly moving or working in remote locations. Companies must adopt effective frontline training practices to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to excel in their roles. This article will explore ten best practices for companies with deskless staff, providing valuable insights and practical solutions to improve training outcomes.

 

What should you know about frontline training?

Effective training is crucial for frontline employees as they directly interact with customers, provide services, and represent the company's brand. However, traditional training methods for office-based employees may not suit this unique workforce. These best practices will help companies tailor their training programs to meet the specific needs of deskless staff.

Frontline employees play a vital role in any organisation. They are the face of the company, the first point of contact for customers, and the ones responsible for delivering exceptional service. Whether it's a retail store, a restaurant, or a hospitality establishment, these employees are the backbone of the business. Therefore, providing them with the necessary training to excel in their roles is essential.

Deskless staff, unlike office-based employees, do not have the luxury of a fixed workspace. They are constantly on the move, interacting with customers, handling various tasks, doing reports, and representing the company's brand. This dynamic nature of their work requires a different approach to training. It is crucial to design training programs that are accessible, engaging, and relevant to their specific needs.

By incorporating various training techniques, such as videos, interactive simulations, and group activities, companies can cater to different learning styles and ensure maximum engagement and knowledge retention.

 

Understanding the frontline workforce

Before delving into the best practices, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the frontline workforce. These employees include field service technicians, retail associates, delivery drivers, healthcare workers, and others who work directly with customers or perform operational tasks.

Frontline workers often face unique challenges, such as limited access to technology, varying schedules, and high turnover rates. Recognising these challenges is the first step towards designing effective frontline training solutions and programs.


Types of frontline workers

Field service technicians are the unsung heroes of many industries. They are the ones who respond to customer calls, troubleshoot technical issues, and provide on-site support. Whether fixing a broken machine, installing new equipment, or conducting maintenance checks, these technicians are the backbone of any service-oriented company.

Retail associates, on the other hand, are the face of the brand. They interact with customers daily, assisting them in finding products, answering questions, and ensuring a pleasant shopping experience. Their knowledge of the products and their ability to provide excellent customer service can make or break a customer's perception of a brand.

Delivery drivers play a crucial role in the logistics industry. They are responsible for transporting goods from one location to another, ensuring they reach their destination safely and on time. These drivers often navigate through traffic, adverse weather conditions, and tight delivery schedules, making their jobs both physically and mentally demanding.

Healthcare workers, and professionals including nurses and doctors, are at the forefront of patient care. They provide medical assistance, administer treatments, and offer emotional support to patients and their families. Their work requires expertise, compassion, and the ability to make split-second decisions that can save lives.


Challenges for frontline training

While each frontline role is unique, they all share common challenges. 

 

1. Limited access to technology

Limited access to technology can hinder their ability to access important information or communicate with colleagues. For example, field service technicians may not have real-time access to manuals or troubleshooting guides, making resolving complex issues harder.

 

2. Varying schedules

Another challenge faced by frontline workers is varying schedules. Retail associates may have to work evenings, weekends, and holidays to accommodate customer needs. Delivery drivers often work long hours, sometimes even overnight, to meet delivery deadlines. These irregular schedules can disrupt their work-life balance and affect their overall well-being.

 

3. High turnover rates

High turnover rates are also a significant challenge in frontline industries. Due to the demanding nature of their jobs, many frontline workers experience burnout and seek employment elsewhere. This constant turnover can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and disrupt team dynamics, making it harder to maintain consistent service quality.

Recognising these challenges is crucial for organisations to design effective training programs for their frontline workforce. By understanding these employees' unique needs and constraints, companies can develop tailored training solutions that address their pain points and enhance their skills and job satisfaction.


The evolving landscape of frontline training

The traditional classroom-based training approach is no longer sufficient for frontline employees. With advances in technology and changing work dynamics, companies must adapt their training methods to meet the needs of the modern workforce.

Mobile and accessible learning platforms have emerged as powerful tools for frontline training. These platforms enable employees to access training materials anytime, anywhere, making it convenient for deskless staff to engage in learning activities.

In today's fast-paced business environment, frontline employees are crucial in delivering exceptional customer service and driving organisational success. As customers' first point of contact, they are responsible for creating a positive and lasting impression. Therefore, companies must invest in their training and development to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles.


10 best practices for effective frontline training

Frontline training ensures employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to excel. However, it is important to go beyond the basics and implement best practices that maximise the effectiveness of frontline training. In this section, we will explore ten such practices that can significantly enhance the impact of training programs.

 

1. Customised and role-specific training

One size does not fit all when it comes to frontline training. Tailoring training programs to employees' roles and responsibilities ensures they receive relevant and focused content. Customisation helps employees see the direct applicability of their training to their day-to-day tasks, increasing engagement and knowledge retention.

For example, a customer service representative would benefit from various training modules focusing on effective communication skills, conflict resolution techniques, and product knowledge. On the other hand, a sales associate would require training in sales techniques, product features, and customer relationship management. By customising the training content to match the unique requirements of each role, organisations can ensure that employees receive the most relevant and impactful training.

 

2. Utilize mobile and accessible learning platforms

In today's digital age, mobile learning platforms like Lingio have become increasingly popular. These platforms, whether through apps or web-based interfaces, allow employees to access training materials on their smartphones or tablets. This level of flexibility enables frontline workers to learn on the go and maximise their downtime.

Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that learning platforms are accessible to all employees. Designing platforms with intuitive navigation and compatibility with assistive technologies ensures that individuals with disabilities can train regardless of their technical proficiency or physical abilities. By embracing mobile and accessible learning platforms, organisations can provide their frontline staff with convenient and inclusive training opportunities.

 

3. Incorporate microlearning techniques

Short bursts of training content are more effective in a fast-paced work environment than long, extensive sessions. Microlearning involves delivering small information units through videos, quizzes, or infographics. This approach is highly engaging and fits well into the limited attention spans of frontline workers.

Breaking complex concepts into digestible modules increases knowledge retention and allows employees to apply their learning immediately. For instance, organisations can create short videos showcasing each feature and its benefits instead of a lengthy training session on product features. By adopting microlearning techniques, organisations can ensure that frontline employees receive targeted and easily digestible training content.

 

4. Hands-on and experiential learning

Frontline employees learn best through hands-on experiences. Incorporating practical tasks, simulations, and real-life scenarios into training programs helps employees understand how to apply their learning in real-world situations.

This experiential learning approach improves knowledge retention, enhances problem-solving skills, and builds confidence in deskless staff, enabling them to handle challenging situations effectively. For example, a training program for restaurant staff can include role-playing exercises where employees practice handling difficult customers or resolving conflicts. By providing opportunities for hands-on learning, organisations can ensure that frontline employees are well-prepared to handle the demands of their roles.

 

5. Flexible and self-paced learning options

Flexibility is key when designing frontline training programs. Deskless staff often have irregular schedules and varying workloads. Offering self-paced learning options allows employees to engage with training materials according to availability and individual learning pace.

Providing pre-recorded training modules, interactive e-learning courses, and virtual classrooms ensures employees can access and complete their training at their convenience, without disrupting their work or home routines. Organisations can maximise training participation and effectiveness by accommodating frontline workers' unique needs and schedules.

 

6. Continuous learning and skill development

Frontline manager training should not stop after the initial onboarding process. Companies should encourage a culture of continuous learning and skill development among their deskless staff.

Ongoing training and upskilling opportunities empower employees to enhance their knowledge and stay updated with industry trends, contributing to their career growth and overall job satisfaction. For instance, organisations can offer regular workshops or webinars on emerging industry practices or provide access to online courses that enable employees to acquire new skills. Organisations can foster a motivated and skilled frontline workforce by prioritising continuous learning.

 

7. Incorporate feedback and adapt training

Feedback loops are crucial for improving training effectiveness. Regularly gather feedback from frontline employees to understand their training experience, identify areas of improvement, and address any challenges they face during the training process.


Use this feedback to refine training materials, update content, or modify delivery methods to ensure employees receive the most relevant and engaging training possible. Additionally, involving frontline staff in the training design process can increase their sense of ownership and engagement. By incorporating feedback and adapting training programs accordingly, organisations can continuously enhance the impact of their frontline training initiatives.

 

8. Invest in trainer expertise and resources

Effective trainers play a crucial role in frontline training success. Invest in trainers who have experience working with deskless staff and understand their unique training requirements.

Equip trainers with the necessary resources, technology, and support to deliver engaging and impactful training sessions. Providing ongoing professional development opportunities for trainers ensures they stay updated with the latest training techniques and industry best practices. By investing in trainer expertise and resources, organisations can ensure that their future frontline employees receive high-quality training that meets their needs.

 

9. Blend technology with traditional training methods

Combining online and traditional training methods, blended learning approaches offer the best of both worlds. While online platforms provide flexibility and accessibility, in-person training sessions offer collaboration, team-building, and hands-on practice opportunities.

Striking the right balance between technology-based training and face-to-face interactions ensures that frontline employees receive a comprehensive learning experience. For example, organisations can conduct virtual training sessions and on-site workshops where employees can apply their learning practically. By blending technology with traditional training methods, organisations can create a well-rounded training program catering to different learning preferences and maximising engagement.

 

10. Monitor and evaluate training effectiveness

Regularly monitor and evaluate training programs to determine their effectiveness. Collect data on training completion rates, knowledge retention, and on-the-job performance to assess the impact of the training on employees' skills and the organisation and overall business outcomes.

Based on these evaluations, make necessary adjustments to the training programs, ensuring continuous improvement and alignment with organisational objectives. For instance, if the data reveals that certain modules are not effectively addressing employees' needs, organisations can revise the content or delivery approach. By continuously monitoring and evaluating training effectiveness, organisations can ensure that their frontline training programs remain relevant, impactful, and aligned with their strategic goals.


Implementing frontline training programs

Implementing effective frontline training programs requires careful planning, stakeholder buy-in, and a clear roadmap. Companies should assess their current training processes, identify gaps, and develop a strategy to bridge them.

Consider partnering with training providers or investing in learning management systems like Lingio catering to frontline training needs. These resources can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the implementation process.

Regarding frontline training, it is crucial to understand the unique workplace challenges and requirements. Frontline employees are often the face of the company, interacting directly with customers and clients. Therefore, their training must be comprehensive and tailored to their specific roles and responsibilities.

One approach to implementing frontline training programs is to conduct a thorough needs assessment. This involves gathering feedback from frontline employees, supervisors, and other stakeholders to identify the areas where training is most needed. Companies can ensure that the training programs address their specific needs and challenges by involving the people who will benefit from the training in the planning process.

Once the training needs have been identified, developing a clear roadmap for implementation is important. This roadmap should outline the training programs' goals, objectives, and timeline. It should also include a detailed plan for how the training will be delivered, whether through in-person workshops, online modules, or a combination.

Partnering with training providers can be a valuable strategy for companies looking to implement frontline training programs. These providers specialise in developing and delivering training programs tailored to frontline employees' needs. They have the expertise and resources to create engaging, interactive training materials that convey the necessary knowledge and skills.


Closing thoughts

In today's rapidly evolving business environment, equipping your frontline staff with the necessary skills and knowledge is more crucial than ever. As we've explored the 10 best practices for effective frontline training, it's evident that a dynamic, tailored approach to learning is key to empowering your deskless workers. Implementing these strategies enhances employee performance and satisfaction and significantly impacts your business's success. In this journey towards creating more engaging and impactful training programs, leveraging innovative tools like Lingio can provide a significant advantage. 

Lingio's platform offers interactive, customisable learning experiences that resonate well with the on-the-go nature of frontline work. By incorporating such advanced training solutions, your organisation can meet the unique needs of your deskless staff and stay ahead in delivering exceptional service in any industry. Embrace these practices and tools like Lingio to transform your frontline training, fostering an environment where continuous learning drives continuous improvement.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. How can I customise training for frontline employees?

Customising training involves understanding the roles and responsibilities of deskless staff and aligning the training content with their specific requirements. Tailored training materials, scenarios, and assessments ensure relevance and engagement.

 

2. Can mobile learning platforms be used offline?

Yes, some mobile learning platforms offer offline access to training materials. This allows employees without constant internet connectivity to access training materials conveniently.

 

3. How often should training programs be evaluated?

Training programs should be evaluated regularly to ensure their effectiveness. Quarterly or bi-annual evaluations can provide valuable insights and allow for timely adjustments and improvements.

 

4. What is the role of trainers in frontline training?

Trainers play a critical role in frontline training. They deliver the training content, facilitate discussions and activities, provide guidance, and support employees throughout their learning journey.

 

5. How can companies encourage a culture of continuous learning among deskless staff?

Companies can encourage continuous learning by offering ongoing upskilling opportunities, recognition for achievements, and fostering a learning-oriented work culture that values personal and professional growth.

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Image of Fredrik Selander
Fredrik Selander
Fredrik Selander is the Head of Marketing at Lingio, an edtech company specializing in a Gamified Employee Training. With a passion for technology, aviation, and the limitless potential of generative AI, Fredrik brings a creative and innovative perspective to his work. His love for travel fuels his curiosity, making him a dynamic force in the world of digital marketing.

Table of contents

Frontline training: 10 best practices for companies with deskless staff

What should you know about frontline training?

Understanding the frontline workforce

Types of frontline workers

Challenges for frontline training

The evolving landscape of frontline training

10 best practices for effective frontline training

Implementing frontline training programs

Closing thoughts

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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