July 2021
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A woman working in a clothing store is looking at an ipad and a shirt on a rack.
TD Magazine

Where’s the Training, Frontline Workers Ask

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Mobile platforms and devices can help essential employees tap into the training they desire.

As the pandemic ramped up, so did attention throughout the world on frontline workers, from healthcare professionals to grocery store clerks and restaurant and store managers. The public shared its appreciation for these individuals who make up 80 percent of the global workforce and often earn low wages.


Yet, according to a recent survey from technology company YOOBIC, lack of training is a top barrier to frontline workers' on-the-job success. More than 1,000 essential employees who work across various industries—such as retail, manufacturing, and construction—in Canada, the UK, and the US participated in the study, which revealed that 40 percent of the world's 2.7 billion frontline workers receive training once a year or less.

"Training is how employers invest in their employees," the report states. "When that investment happens only once, it's no surprise employees feel unrecognized and undervalued."

Further, insufficient training prevents frontline workers from feeling fully empowered to do their jobs. The positive benefits that result from investing in employees' professional development range from increased productivity and retention to higher job satisfaction. So, what's preventing companies from training these essential employees?


The report notes that many frontline workers are deskless and often lack access to work email or a computer, which may prevent organizational leaders from effectively reaching this segment of the workforce. However, YOOBIC found that six out of 10 frontline workers use a mobile device at work. Seven out of 10 say that app-based training would make it easier for them to learn.

To combat insufficient training among frontline workers, YOOBIC suggests employers explore mobile solutions and seek ways to make training more accessible.

Earlier this year, US retailer Dollar General, for example, partnered with a mobile-based learning platform provider to deliver training to its more than 157,000 employees, including frontline, supply chain, and corporate workers. In announcing the initiative, Lori Bremer, Dollar General's vice president of talent management, said that delivering learning to employees in this format not only engages workers but fits into the flow of work and reduces training time.

About the Author

Derrick Thompson is a former writer/editor for ATD.

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