- One-quarter of frontline workers in companies using communication and collaboration software feel connected to their business' headquarters, compared to the 14% of workers who don't use the software, according to a Workplace by Facebook survey of more than 2,000 senior business professionals and 2,000 frontline employees.
- Frontline employees often find themselves "stuck as passive recipients of information" and 22% said their ideas come up in conversation with their bosses. More than half of managers feel the opposite, which contributes to a disconnect in communication.
- Without collaboration tools, less than half of employees think their head office understands their work and value, whereas 63% of workers using collaboration tools feel the same. Despite this, 83% of managers "confidently claim they give all employees a voice within their business," according to the survey.
Every employee, whether on the frontline or in the back office at corporate headquarters, uses similar data and tools for different reasons. Silos in ideas create different meanings for different departments, unintentionally promoting multiple versions of the truth for the frontline and leadership.
The perspective of upper management and frontline employees tends to diverge. The gap between what frontline employees and management do can set a company up for failure. Frontline employees work directly with customers, performing the tasks that keep a business operating. Ignoring their ideas is akin to ignoring where the business needs improvement.
"Frontline workers must be more fully incorporated into the distributed work environment and viewed as a key component of integrating workflows at the edge," said Raul Castanon-Martinez, workplace collaboration and communication senior analyst at 451 Research, in an emailed statement to CIO Dive.
Ignoring gaps in communication and understanding can create a feeding ground for "shameless ignorance." There is a natural silo between frontline employees and corporate headquarters despite available communication tools.
Business leaders are often aware of the value of clear communication but lack a controlled way to facilitate it. If needed, back office employees are likely to take communication into their own hands, which is easy to do with free versions of software like Microsoft Teams and Slack. However, a rise in shadow IT creates another layer of unintentional security silos for the entire business.