Book a demo
Guided product tour

Frontline training requirements are not being met despite the frontline workforce being a valuable and much-needed employee segment for almost any company. This is proven by the fact that 80% of the entire global workforce is composed of frontline workers. Most organizations do not have an easy way to deliver, engage, or provide training in the flow of work. They attempt to provide their workers with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs well, but it is not usually effective.

Frontline training must be integrated into the frontline work culture. This will ensure that employees have the right capabilities to address customer demands. Companies can benefit by building capability through continuous frontline training to amplify skill development and growth. 

Kevin Carmody, Senior Partner, McKinsey Transformation, reveals in one of his interviews that Capability building programs for frontline workers are not a “nice to have”. They are a critical and essential success factor that fundamentally changes an organization and drives performance at scale.”

The Importance of Training Your Frontline Workers

In today’s digital-first world, frontline positions aren’t confined to flipping burgers, unloading cargo, and taking orders. They must operate modern technologies and adapt to new ways of working to offer a seamless customer experience.

To ensure frontline workers are future-ready, it’s crucial to make systemic changes to frontline employee training experiences. This is possible by implementing modern training strategies like mobile learning, on-the-job training, and KPI-based coaching. This helps to build frontline capabilities to thrive amidst digital disruption. 

A Forbes study entitled “Going Digital? Your Firstline Workers Will Pave Your Way To Success” stated that 43% of companies having a higher percentage of digitally empowered frontline workers had reported excellent progress. As compared to only 21% of companies with a smaller number of digitally empowered workers

4 Reasons to Rethink Your Frontline Worker's Training Strategy 

Obsolete training methods can’t withstand the heat of rapid transformation. To enhance frontline resilience and readiness for an uncertain world, it’s crucial to reassess frontline training strategies. 

Let’s take a closer look at the top frontline challenges that will give you a strong reason to re-strategize and create a frontline training experience that positively impacts development:   

1. Digital disruption  – Frontline is in a blindspot with rapid digital transformation 

Businesses have made significant progress toward digitalization. However, in the midst of the rapid digital evolution, frontline team members are frequently left out and are not provided with the necessary training to function efficiently in the digital-first landscape. The distributed workforce requires the right set of skills to navigate smoothly in a technologically advanced world. 

To empower their frontline staff, renowned brands, like Coca-Cola, are implementing learning initiatives. In the McKinsey Talks Operations podcast, Gigy Philip, Coca-Cola’s Transformation Director, discusses the company’s innovative approach to frontline employee training. He stated that “Our digital academy is designed really to build foundational knowledge and skills on core digital, analytics, and agile topics so that our frontline associates can be successful in operating in a digital world.”

Digital transformation is a great way to enhance customer experience. To be truly successful, it’s critical to bridge the digital skill gap. This can be achieved by offering the right training experience to the frontline workforce.

2. The wild tide of attrition – Employee retention is a pressing issue 

McKinsey’s survey of over 2,100 frontline workers revealed that despite economic instability, 70% of them are willing to take the risk of quitting their current jobs in search of career growth opportunities. Retaining frontline staff requires organizations to tap into their potential. Giving them a platform for training and professional development is essential. By doing so, employers can improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover rates, leading to a more stable workforce and increased productivity. 

table showing frontline training needs

Amazon is a great example of a company that has prioritized employee development and has become a preferred place to work. In fact, over 90% of Amazon employees cited access to free skills training opportunities as one of the top reasons they continue to work for the company. 

3. Bridge the frontline training gap –  Lack of consistent information and knowledge  

As we’ve mentioned, frontline workers are the backbone of many industries, yet they often have limited opportunities to learn and improve their skills. You prioritize learning and development to bridge this training gap. 

It’s important to make frontline workers' training accessible and convenient, with flexible schedules and online training options to offer consistent information. Providing classroom and on-the-job training with the right L&D platform can ensure continuous learning. This in turn empowers the distributed workforce to expand their skill set. 

4. Manager growth is overlooked - Frontline managers aren’t offered training opportunities   

Most frontline managers fail to create a winning environment without adequate training. In fact, they cannot communicate effectively with the team due to a lack of interpersonal, problem-solving, and leadership skills. 

According to Business Insider’s research, “There is a communication failure between managers and frontline workers, which is leading to feelings of isolation and disengagement, stifling innovation and creativity.”

Managers are the linchpin for a team’s success. They need learning and development opportunities to excel in their role and lead the frontline in the right direction. Hence upskilling the frontline managers is critical to ensure they communicate and coach the team efficiently. 

3 Strategies to Bolster the Frontline Training Experience

Enhancing your frontline staff training experience with the right strategies is the key to better workplace productivity, performance, and engagement. Therefore, adopting modern strategies for designing an impactful learning experience is essential for the frontline. It should fit right into their daily workflow and help them overcome on-the-job obstacles.

Effective digital-first frontline training strategies can catapult growth in your organization. Use these strategies to unleash the full potential of your distributed workforce.

top 3 frontline training strategies

1. Implement structured frontline onboarding: building a strong foundation for the frontline workforce

Many companies focus on hiring the best talent but overlook the importance of proper frontline training during the onboarding process. In fact, 88% of new hires aren’t satisfied with their company onboarding. This dissatisfaction in turn leads to new-hire turnover, with 80% of new hires who receive poor onboarding planning to quit

Let’s try to resolve this issue by looking at the problem and its ideal solution. A very large restaurant chain hired Kevin as a front server and provided him with an onboarding packet. This packet had information on the policies, protocols, and roles. He was expected to start implementing these the next day.

Kevin made several errors due to his lack of training. He couldn’t answer basic customer questions on payments and discounts. Which led to a poor dining experience that propelled several customers to write negative restaurant reviews. 

Let’s look at this same scenario with a streamlined onboarding process that includes effective frontline training.  As the first step, the company should invest in a frontline solution. Leveraging this technology enables the team to offer seamless digital onboarding and continuous on-the-job training. Using a training solution, the L&D team can create a comprehensive onboarding journey for this frontline worker as follows:

Day 1: Kevin completes a microlearning module introducing him to the restaurant’s brand, history, culture, protocols, policies, leadership information, and his role. 

Day 2: Kevin participates in a live training session with the regional restaurant manager, general manager, and kitchen manager. At this time, they explain the restaurant’s core values, behavioral standards, and expectations. 

Day 3: Kevin enrolls in multiple frontline training modules that teach him how to provide a great guest experience, how to serve another table when their server is occupied, information on the restaurant deal app, details on how to accept digital payment, and tips on how to handle an agitated client. 

Day 4: Kevin takes assessments to evaluate the training and knowledge he acquired so far and has one-to-one feedback sessions with the manager.

This was just an example of how to effectively apply frontline training to your onboarding process. The same strategy can be applied to various other frontline-focused industries such as logistics, hospitality, or construction. 

Disseminating the right knowledge at the beginning can improve time to productivity and enhance the new hire experience. Effective and immediate frontline training opportunities allow new hires to be job-ready and prepare them to better manage day-to-day tasks.

2. Modernize your on-the-job training strategy with mobile learning

Frontline workers are geographically dispersed. So the best way to utilize their time is to train them on the go through mobile learning. Mobile learning provides employees with the flexibility to access frontline training at their fingertips, boosting employee performance and engagement in their day-to-day roles.  

70% of learners feel more motivated when they are using their mobile devices for training, as opposed to when they are using a desktop device. 

An e-commerce company analyzed mobile learning data to measure its training effectiveness. They split their frontline into two groups: Group A completed mobile courses, while Group B did not. Surprisingly, 80% of Group A met their quarterly targets after learning on mobile. There are several such examples that validate the effectiveness of learning on mobile. 

Lara Albert, Global Vice President of Solution Marketing SAP SuccessFactors, mentioned in Forbes: “ When workers are constantly in transit and have limited time to complete developmental activities, making learning experiences accessible within their flow of work makes skills growth more efficient.”

Mobile learning takes frontline training flexibility to the next level as it comes with the unique benefit of 24/7 learning availability. Below are a few tips to offer mobile learning to employees:

  • Keep it simple: Leverage a mobile-first frontline training solution that enables you to customize and add easy-to-understand widgets for hassle-free learning. 

  • Embed learning in the flow of work: Create role-based and interest-based drip journeys. Enable them with stipulated time frames to ensure frontline employees enroll and consistently train on the job.

  • Evaluate using scorecards: Make sure you implement a mobile learning solution that offers scorecards on the completion of the journey. This will help you track the training progress of your employees. 

  • Make training content visually appealing: Present bite-sized content on digital flashcards to ensure employees easily remember and recollect vital information. 

  • Tap into multi-lingual learning: Break the language barrier and boost frontline training by presenting learning in the language your employee understands. 

  • Create graded assessments: Test frontline knowledge and uphold the integrity of online assessments with AI-enabled proctored assessments.

  • Integrate with content providers: Ensure the frontline mobile learning solution integrates with various content providers to curate and assign content easily. For instance, Disprz’s mobile-first frontline enablement solution integrates with content powerhouses like Udemy and OpenSesame to enable users to manage their content easily. 


3. Provide KPI-driven coaching to direct frontline employees toward success

KPI-based coaching is an effective strategy that links employee training with performance to drive frontline success. Managers use measurable values to make informed decisions to enhance employee strengths and address improvement areas.  

For example, an e-commerce L&D manager measured a delivery associate’s performance on five key metrics, including failed scans and wrong deliveries. Upon identifying areas for improvement, the manager assigned relevant courses to boost performance. By focusing on KPIs, L&D managers can eliminate guesswork and measure training effectiveness accurately. 

So how can you conduct KPI-based coaching? Well, you must implement a frontline training solution that enables you to track KPI scores and design effective skilling programs. For example, you can ensure KPI-driven coaching through Disprz frontline solution that allows you to: 

  • Define KPI metrics for each frontline role in your organization and assign a value for each metric.

  • Establish benchmarks for each value. Determine coaching interventions if the value falls below or exceeds the benchmark.

  • Decide how frequently you will calculate KPI values, whether daily, weekly, or quarterly.

  • Develop assessments/quizzes to assess the KPI score. 

  • Connect learners to the managers so that the manager can monitor the learners’ KPI score.

  • Enable automated workflows to assign the courses to learners automatically based on the KPI score. 

Taking a KPI-driven approach with an advanced frontline training tool will enable you to monitor and enhance your frontline’s key performance indicators that can positively impact your business’s bottom line.

How to design effective frontline training experiences in 2024?

Once the frontline training budget is approved, it is enticing to hop right into creating the L&D journey. However don’t rush, as Benjamin Franklin rightly said, great haste makes great waste. So, pause and answer three essential questions to ensure the learning journey is aligned with the organizational and frontline employee needs.

Have you created a learner persona? 

Creating a learner persona helps combat stereotypes and target the right learner needs for effective frontline employee training.  Below are the best practices for designing personas for your frontline skills.

  • Gather information about learners’ roles to understand their problems and learning preferences.

  • Check if you need to churn out the training content in a specific regional language. 

  • Understand their comfort level in adopting new technologies, list their goals and motivations.

  • Benchmark their required skills and competencies.


Is your organization equipped with the latest technology for frontline training? 

Traditional instructor-led training may not be suitable for frontline employees, given the nature of their work. Therefore, organizations must have a frontline enablement solution that offers a mobile-first learning platform to ensure on-the-job training. This prepares frontline employees for their jobs and improves their performance. It also upskill them for future roles, managing their entire employee lifecycle.

Below are a few steps to consider while choosing the right front training platform for your employees

  • Analyze your training requirement for each employee persona. 

  • Make a list of the required features, such as customizable dashboards, learning pathways, mobile compatibility, and reports and analytics. 

  • Check the price structure of the solution to avoid any hidden costs. 

  • Make sure to choose a user-friendly platform. Choose one that integrates with multiple third-party applications, such as CRM and HRMS, as well as content-providing apps. 

  • Ensure the platform integrates with multiple third-party applications like CRM, HRMS, and various content-providing apps.


Do you have an impactful content strategy for training your frontline workforce? 

Your content strategy is paramount to creating engaging learning experiences. That’s why it is crucial to implement a frontline training program that includes quality content, and here’s how you can do it: 

  • Clarify the training budget for content.

  • Decide on content creation vs. curation.

  • Research and select accredited sources for curation.

  • Brief content specialist for in-house content creation.

  • Determine in-house specialization for multimedia content.

  • Ensure the frontline enablement solution supports various content formats.

  • Avoid complicated phrases or jargon for frontline understanding.

  • Tailor content to different personas, and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.

  • Balance quality and quantity of content.


5 Best Practices for Driving Growth and Retention - Maximize Frontline Training

Frontline workers play a significant role in providing the utmost customer satisfaction. It is pivotal to pay attention to the frontline’s growth and development to ensure breakthrough performance at all times. Let’s look at some best practices for fast-paced frontline training. 

1. Train the trainers 

90% of McKinsey survey respondents say their companies’ frontline manager training doesn’t succeed in preparing managers to lead. It’s imperative that you empower frontline managers by providing the right coaching to manage and train the frontline employees. Frontline leadership training builds a manager’s capabilities for faster decision-making, greater efficiency and more adaptable leadership. 

2. Offer mobile-first microlearning experiences 

For frontline training to be effective, you must make learning precise and interesting. This is easily done by microlearning opportunities via a mobile device. The importance of this strategy is proven as 80% of companies have adopted, or plan to adopt, microlearning as a way to support employees. 

Microlearning for frontline workers is most effective when you offer quick learning moments with bite-sized content in under 10 minutes. Be sure to use infographics, videos, and statistics-based images to drive engagement. And avoid cognitive overload by focusing on one subject for each microlearning course. 

3. Reward learning efforts to motivate your frontline 

You must encourage your frontline teams to invest time in training by appreciating their efforts.  

With the right frontline training solution, you can drive extrinsic motivation through badges and ranks on the leaderboard. Then provide certificates to employees who complete the learning journey and score high on all the assessments. This type of recognition will boost employee engagement and ensure frontline training success. 

4. Drive frontline engagement with gamification

It’s become more necessary to optimize the training process by using gaming elements. That’s because 89% of respondents in a Forbes survey said they are more productive at work when learning is gamified.

Leveraging gamification will help your frontline workers retain learning insights by giving a fun twist to abstract topics. Using gaming elements like polls, quizzes, and breakout rooms will drive training engagement and improve learning adoption.

5. Boost productive collaboration with social learning 

Forbes finds that 32% of employees believe training should be both more social and updated more frequently. This tells us that successful frontline training programs encourage peer-to-peer learning.  With social learning, you can drive knowledge sharing and get queries resolved quickly.  You can also keep everyone on the same page by posting company updates on the social platform.  

Key takeaways to level up your frontline training experience

Skilled frontline employees lead to satisfied customers. That’s why driving frontline productivity with effective training opportunities results in excellent customer service that can, in turn, positively impact your business and help retain the best talent.

We know how crucial frontline training is for your organization.

Here are the key highlights to ensure you do not miss out on any point while training your frontline workers: 

  • Empower the frontline with the right skills to navigate smoothly in the digital-first world. 

  • Strike the right balance between better learning and work. 

  • Before designing a training program, ensure you create a learner persona, implement the right technology, and create an effective content strategy. 

  • Makes you design a structured onboarding process to reduce time to productivity. 

  • Tap into mobile for learning in the flow of work.

  • Monitor and improve on-the-job performance with KPI-based coaching. 

  • Train the frontline managers to coach the frontline employees. 

  • For effective mobile-first learning, make learning bite-sized by incorporating microlearning. 

  • Motivate employees to learn with rewards and recognition. 

  • Boost productive collaboration with social learning. 

With Disprz’s Frontline Training and Enablement Solution, you can do all this and much more to onboard your frontline workforce, train them, and prepare them for your organization’s next role. Request a free demo to find out how this frontline training and enablement solution can help you facilitate internal mobility and drive retention by upskilling your frontline workforce.

Meet Disprz CTA jpg


About the author

Discover how Disprz can align learning and upskilling with your desired business outcomes.