Best Practices

Including Frontline Workers in ERGs May Be the Key to Workplace Development and Progress

November 2021

With the current worker shortage with 9.2 million job openings (a record high), the need for hiring, retaining, and developing talent is intense. That is especially true of frontline (usually hourly) workers who often deal directly with the public in industries ranging from healthcare to retail to utilities and/or are crucial to manufacturing and production demands.

Historically, lower pay, lack of flexibility, and fewer or no development opportunities have limited options for frontline workers and caused many to choose other job paths. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these limitations, with a huge number of these workers, especially women, exiting the workforce because of lack of child care or the growing realization that they don’t want to work at shift jobs.

While we know that employee resource groups (ERGs) build engagement, trust, and leadership development, companies have often shied away from including frontline workers in their ERGs because of concerns over paying overtime for hourly workers, inability to have them be included in ERG activities during scheduled hours, need to have bodies on shifts, geographic dispersion and more frequent turnover among frontline workers.

Retaining frontline employees is crucial right now and ERGs can be a differentiating factor to add value. This Best Practices resource for DBP members will address various concerns that companies face with involving these employees in ERGs and offer tactful solutions. We’ll cover topics including:

  • Involving union members in ERGs
  • Creating a successful communications strategy to frontline workers
  • Allowing frontline workers to hold ERG leadership positions
  • Engaging a transitory workforce in ERGs
  • Utilizing ERGs for recruitment, retention and leadership development

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