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Training Makes Deskless Workers Feel Connected and Secure in Their Jobs

October 31, 2020

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Deskless workers, also known as frontline workers, are people who don’t do their jobs from behind a desk. Unlike people who work in traditional office settings, deskless employees are on their feet or on the move throughout their workday. Deskless workers make up 80% of the global workforce, and yet research has focused largely on their employers, until now. A new TalentCards report, The State of Deskless Workforce Training, shines a spotlight on these deskless workers and the state of their training.

Examples of deskless workers include nurses, teachers, salespeople, construction workers, truck drives, etc. When asked what types of training their employers have provided in the last 12 months, compliance (72%) remained the most common topic with COVID-19 related training not far behind (70%).  Soft skills came in at only 41%.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 64% of deskless workers wouldn’t switch to a desk job – even given the same pay and benefits.
  • 1 out of 3 forget most of the training they receive from employers just 30 days after completing it.
  • Exploring which industries offer their frontline workers COVID-related training, healthcare (82%) and retail (76%) lead the way. While in the education industry, only 1 in 2 employees have received COVID-related training.
  • 56% of deskless workers believe that additional training will improve their chances of surviving in a job market that is constantly changing due to advancements in technology.
  • 80% prefer short training sessions that happen at regular intervals over long, one-time training events.
  • 19% of respondents feel “somewhat” or “very” disconnected as a result of working away from the central company location.
  • 63% of respondents agree that additional training would help them feel more connected to their company’s values and mission.

COVID-19 has made deskless workers feel more at risk.

When asked if they’d be willing to switch to a desk job with the same pay and benefits, 24% of respondents answered “yes”, while another 12% said “maybe”. Here are some of their reasons why:

“I might consider it now because of the dangers of COVID.”

“I work in hospital emergency rooms which feels much more dangerous given the pandemic. Would feel better protected behind a desk in an office.”

“Currently with COVID I would.”

“Yes, COVID has made me scared to work with the public. If I could do my job without that interaction for the same pay I would.”

“Yes, current pandemic puts me in close proximity to too many people.”

 Training by Industry

Have received soft skills training in the last 12 months:

  • Healthcare – 46%
  • Education – 48%
  • Retail – 39%

Report training as too boring or too long:

  • Healthcare – 44%
  • Education – 60%
  • Retail – 44%

Choose smartphone or tablet as their preferred training device:

  • Healthcare – 22%
  • Education – 11%
  • Retail – 30%

Remember less than half of their training 30 days later:

  • Healthcare – 29%
  • Education – 51%
  • Retail – 26%

Training is an important component of employee engagement and retention, especially for deskless workers who might already feel disconnected when working in the field.

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