Selecting the ideal employee software for your deskless workforce: 7 essential ingredients

The deskless workforce – so important in retail, hospitality, and countless other industries – needs a tailored solution to ensure they receive a workplace experience that optimizes productivity, communication, and engagement. There’s a new way to connect with your deskless workforce – and some employers are reaping the benefits. Here’s how you can join them.

Ruben Wieman

Selecting the ideal employee software for your deskless workforce: 7 essential ingredients

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Deskless workers are unlikely to be far from most HR managers’ thoughts – they make up approximately 80% of the global workforce, after all – but the employee software at their disposal isn’t usually given much consideration.

These workers often operate without a desk, from different locations, and have inconsistent shift patterns. They may not even have a work email address. As such, employers can’t expect to engage with them using the same methods that work for their office employees.

Instead, the deskless workforce – so important in retail, hospitality, and countless other industries – needs a tailored solution to ensure they receive a workplace experience that optimizes productivity, communication, and engagement. There’s a new way to connect with your deskless workforce – and some employers are reaping the benefits. Here’s how you can join them.

Importance of employee software tailored to deskless workers

Despite the number of deskless workers in the world today, their employee software is often little more than an afterthought. In fact, just 1% of business software spending is focused on solutions for deskless workers.

This means that deskless workers are asked to simply get by with outdated solutions, tools that are better suited to their office-based colleagues, and one-way communication methods. Investing in employee software tailored to deskless workers can help with employee satisfaction and retention.

The essential ingredients for effective employee software

If businesses are to improve their employee software for deskless workers, they first need to understand what it is their deskless employees are asking for. We’ve outlined seven essential ingredients to keep in mind.

Ingredient 1: Seamless mobility and accessibility

The everyday experience of deskless workers involves significant variations in where and when they work. As such, a mobile-first workplace solution is essential. Currently, over a third of workers say that they can’t easily access workplace resources on their mobiles. The figure for frontline workers will be even higher. This means that employers need to improve the mobile compatibility of their software, but be careful not to focus single-mindedly on mobile.

Make sure your solutions are cross-platform compatible so deskless workers can also access resources via the web. A survey by Samsung found that 75% of frontline workers had to juggle two or more devices throughout the workday. The flexibility of a truly cross-platform solution avoids this.

An example of a mobile-first employee software solution

Ingredient 2: Intuitive user interface fit for the modern workforce

When choosing the right solution for deskless workers, companies should look at who their employees actually are. Gen Z will soon represent the largest demographic in the workforce and employee solutions need to reflect the needs of this younger cohort. As such, a good user experience is key, one that promotes diversity and an entrepreneurial mindset. Gen Z are digital natives, so expect their workplace tools to be accessed through an intuitive, personalized user interface.

Ingredient 3: Internal Communication Features built for the deskless workforce

Research shows that there has been a significant increase in the use of mobile communication channels among frontline workers. Traditional methods like newsletters or noticeboards can result in disappointingly low levels of engagement. Instead, digital internal communication tools can revolutionize your communication, using video, collaboration, surveys, and social media. The days of one-way communication are gone. Deskless workers want to communicate with colleagues and managers – and the right software can help them do so.


Ingredient 4: Comprehensive training modules

Deskless workers crave career progression. According to McKinsey & Company, 70% have applied to career advancement opportunities but many aren’t given access to the training they need to take the next step on their career journey. That’s why eLearning should form an important ingredient within your employee software.

Microlearning, short modules that can be quickly digested on breaks or between shifts, are ideal for frontline workers. And don’t forget, training starts from day one – or even earlier. Preboarding and onboarding can be greatly enhanced by incorporating them within your employee software.

Ingredient 5: Employee survey component to gather feedback from the heart of the organization

When you equip deskless workers with the right digital solution, you don’t only have an opportunity to improve the employee experience, you also gain a vehicle for gathering essential information about that experience. That’s why incorporating employee feedback within your workplace solution is so important, providing businesses with a cost-effective way to measure employee satisfaction and engagement levels.

Employee surveys also give deskless workers the opportunity to make their voices heard. These surveys come in many forms, from pulse surveys to onboarding feedback forms, but the important thing is to make them engaging. The average response rate to employee surveys is only around 30%. Mobile-friendly surveys, integrated as part of broader Employee Experience software, can deliver a much higher figure.

Ingredient 6: Standardize communication flows with forms and checklists

Although it may be widely agreed that employee software can greatly improve communication, how exactly this is achieved remains up for debate. Many industries with a higher number of deskless workers, such as retail, hospitality, or logistics, continue to rely on pen and paper for forms, checklists, other internal reports and requests.

This old-school approach leaves communication unstructured, inefficient, and inaccessible. Software offers the chance to standardize your communication with deskless workers by digitalizing your forms using templates and real-time reports to deliver fast communication and insights.

Ingredient 7: Secure Data Handling and Privacy

One of the perceived challenges holding back the adoption of better employee software is security.  Won’t the digitalization of your employee data increase the likelihood that you’ll face a cyberattack? The truth is, this depends on the digital solution you use and its security credentials.

At Oneteam, we obtained the ISO 27001 certification, an internationally recognized standard on the overall management of information security. Whichever workplace solution you choose, standards like these are essential to give you peace of mind when launching new employee software.

Organizations that have successfully implemented employee software for their deskless workforce

The potential for digital tools to improve the employee experience of frontline workers isn’t some sort of hopeful aspiration – it is already the reality for many companies. Organizations across a host of sectors have used digital tools to boost engagement levels among their frontline workers.

Fashion brands H&M and Norah have used digital workplace solutions to revamp their communication and improve productivity. Hospitality brand, Stayokay has used Oneteam to develop over 20 different eLearning modules, witnessing a significant increase in engagement. And global building materials retailer Toolstation went from engaging 20% of their workforce to 91%, after implementing Oneteam’s employee experience software. Many other organizations are enjoying similar results.

🎥 Have a look at the success story of Toolstation in the interview below.

The impact of the right software on engagement, productivity, and loyalty

More than three-quarters of deskless workers say that technology is a key factor when choosing a job. But the right software has a hugely positive effect on productivity, retention, and engagement too.

Request a guided demo and learn how Oneteam can help you make your employees successful and engaged. There’s no need to treat your deskless workers as second-best. Grant them access to a modern employee experience app today.

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman is the founder of Oneteam. He mainly writes about the future of deskless employee experience and key frontline HR trends. Fun fact about Ruben: He started his professional career as a deskless employee at supermarkets and a pizza delivery guy. The frustrations he encountered lead him to build an employee experience app focused on making the deskless workforce successful and engaged.

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