October 2022
Issue Map
A manager shows two restaurant workers different wine glasses
TD Magazine

Train to Retain Deskless Employees

Friday, September 30, 2022

To overcome hiring and retention challenges among deskless workers, companies would be wise to invest in onboarding them.

An estimated 80 percent of global workers are deskless, and most organizations rely on them to operate, according to Quinyx's State of the Deskless Workforce 2022. However, TalentCards's Onboarding Deskless Employees 2022 report reveals that nearly three-quarters of onboarding managers say their companies are struggling to find qualified deskless workers. They also report that nearly 60 percent of those workers leave within three years.


Deskless workers comprise construction, warehouse, and manufacturing workers; restaurant servers and kitchen staff; healthcare professionals; retail employees; and others who do not regularly work at a desk.

With companies constantly filling talent gaps, they have many new employees to onboard, train, and engage. Those experiences influence new hires' decisions to stay or leave. More than two-thirds of onboarding managers told TalentCards that the onboarding process is very important to deskless employees; without it, those employees would fail in their roles.

In-person, face-to-face training is the most common format, but some deskless workers may also onboard via a computer; virtual, face-to-face training; or a smartphone or tablet. Regardless of the method, managers face challenges preparing new hires. Nearly half said that new deskless workers require a lot of training because they lack the necessary skills. Among other challenges, managers pointed out that they don't have enough time to devote to the training; struggle to share training materials that workers can access easily; and lack the proper software, communications devices, and equipment.


"What's interesting about the challenges that onboarding managers most commonly face when training new deskless employees is that they can almost all be solved by finding and implementing the right tech solution," says Leonidas Palaiokostas, product owner of TalentCards.

Managers mentioned computer-based or smartphone- or tablet-based training platforms as ways to speed up and improve the process. Other options they noted are a communications or messaging app, a scheduling app, and a videoconferencing platform. Companies can also offer additional training opportunities for new deskless hires. According to TalentCards, only one-third of deskless workers receive training at least once a month; the same amount receive it every six months. With the right on-boarding and training tools, companies can set up both the business and deskless employees for long-term success.

About the Author

I'm a developmental editor at ATD Press, working primarily with books. I joined the ATD team in December 2014. I review manuscripts and team up with authors to produce well-written and well-developed books. Before ATD, I worked as a jack-of-all-trades editor for a small editing and design firm in DC. with a focus on economic and development reports. I have a master's in publishing from George Washington University.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.