Retaining Frontline Talent in Any Labor Market Begins With the Right Training

Companies must focus on successful onboarding for new employees and continuous training for current workers to support retention.

In today’s dynamic and highly competitive labor markets, retaining frontline talent is crucial to an organization’s success. The frontline workforce is the backbone of any operation, as these are the workers who directly interface with customers and manage the daily tasks that keep businesses afloat. This workforce is increasingly critical as shifting employee priorities and economic factors across key industries like retail, grocery, and hospitality continue to impact retention. Many employers need to prepare more to retain top talent.
Regardless of the labor market, the foundation of any excellent worker retention strategy begins with a well-crafted and comprehensive training program. Companies should restructure training efforts to improve onboarding for new workers and implement continuous training programs for all workers at an organization.
Let’s discuss why workers expect continuous training, how upskilling is the linchpin of talent retention, and where artificial intelligence (AI) can help with organizational learning.
Workers need continuous training to keep their skill set current
Frontline workers face more demands now than ever before. Employees are juggling multiple responsibilities while working alongside emerging technologies. Employees today need continuous training and professional development to maintain the necessary skills to perform their work.
Employees understand that staying competitive in their respective markets and individual roles requires up-to-date knowledge and the skills to contribute meaningfully to business needs. Training has never been more critical to frontline staff and represents a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent.
Employers who invest in continuous training will not only improve their workers’ efficiency, productivity, and proficiency, but they’ll also see an improvement in confidence and versatility —all of which help contribute to employee engagement and long-term retention.

Upskilling is the linchpin of talent retention

The World Economic Forum’s 2023 Future of Jobs Report revealed that employers estimate that 44 percent of workers’ skills will be disrupted and must be refreshed within five years. The report also stated that only half of workers can access adequate training today.
To get ahead of this skills refresh, employers should start developing upskilling programs that equip staff with the tools and knowledge needed to anticipate and react to upcoming business demands, all a critical part of upward mobility for workers.
Upskilling should not only improve workers’ skill sets but also build upon existing skills to foster talent and find the next generation of leaders. By developing programs that instill a sense of purpose, workers are made to feel that they’re learning the skills needed to continue growing within the company, and employers are working toward instilling a greater sense of employee loyalty. This type of engagement helps employers retain institutional knowledge and keep building on it for the future.

AI and its impact on organizational learning

AI is transforming frontline workers’ skill development, training, and knowledge acquisition. With AI, employers can build hyper-personalized learning programs that are responsive and purpose-built to drive individual engagement and retention, which is good for your bottom line.

A few ways AI improves learning:

● Provides real-time feedback, answers, and support through conversational AI tools. Imagine a chatbot that can answer simple scheduling questions by quickly letting an employee know what days they work each week without the need to scroll and search for the answer. Having a responsive chatbot or virtual assistant (VA) can get answers faster, free up time to perform other tasks, and help workers serve customers on the floor.
● Tracks performance and gives valuable insight into the effectiveness of training programs, where gaps might exist, and how to improve learning initiatives across the board.
● Allows employers to provide more diverse learning paths. The frontline workforce doesn’t fit into a tidy demographic. For some workers, learning programs aren’t readily available in their preferred language, which can stifle their professional progress and create confusion and frustration. AI has the ability to quickly translate and adapt learning programs for every employee so that everyone has the same access to growth opportunities.

Key takeaways—and where to start when it comes to revamping training

In an environment where skilled workers are increasingly sought after, keeping valuable frontline talent can be a challenging task for many. To attract and retain workers, companies must prioritize comprehensive training programs that go beyond simple onboarding and offer key benefits like upskilling and continuous learning opportunities.
Employers looking for a place to start should evaluate what training looks like at their company today and establish a realistic plan to improve current programs and initiatives. From there, it’s about determining what the core training methods should be, creating relevant training materials, and investigating solutions that will help achieve the identified goals. Failure to improve training methods can result in losing frontline workers and impact a company’s overall success. Organizations that do the work to stay on top of new training practices and offerings will have a solid employee retention strategy in place and are better equipped to weather fluctuating labor markets.