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Study: 50% of frontline workers planning to resign; burnout cited as top reason

Burnout is causing frontline workers — particularly those in the retail and grocery industries — to leave their jobs.

Nearly 50% of all frontline workers said they are planning to leave their current jobs, citing burnout at work as the No. 1 reason (58%), according to Axonify’s 5th annual “Global State of Frontline Work Experience Study.” Gen Z workers are the most eager to leave, with 63% planning to quit.

The other top reasons driving frontline resignations are a lack of appreciation from management and/or peers (53%) and a lack of interest in daily work (52%). Poor compensation (52%) came in fourth. When looking at the different industries, retail workers reported burnout (63%) as being a more important motivating factor for resigning compared to compensation (50%).

How can employers prevent frontline employees from jumping ship? Compensation matters, but employees say they also want more flexible scheduling (44.2%), more appreciation (42.6%) and more positive relationships at work (42%), according to the study.

The study also revealed a clear gender gap in the frontline work experience. Employees that identify as male reported higher satisfaction with their compensation (70%) compared to employees that identify as female (60%). These same employees reported greater satisfaction on issues like manager trust (72% vs 62%), pandemic support (78% vs 70%) and career development (69% vs 59%).

In other findings, full-time employees reported higher job satisfaction compared to part-time workers. Just a little less than two-thirds of part-time workers (vs 80% of full-time workers) were satisfied with the support provided by their employers during the pandemic. Half of part-time workers trust their manager to consider employee wellbeing when making decisions compared to 72% for full-time workers

“Everyone is talking about the future of work, but too many of these conversations focus solely on the corporate employee experience and don’t consider the frontline. said Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify. “The time has come to rethink the frontline work experience.” Successful companies realize that frontline workers are the face of their brand. We need to emphasize the importance of this group’s experience to ensure they are supported and provided with equitable opportunities so they can advance their careers - and serve as brand ambassadors.”

Other highlights from the study are below.

  • Corporate workers were much more satisfied (86%) with their support vs. retail (61%) and grocery (72%) frontline employees.
  • • Over one-third of employees say they only receive training during big job changes like transfers and promotions (36%) and nearly one-quarter reported rarely or never receiving additional training (20%).
  • Training and skills development is even worse in retail and grocery with only half of retail workers and less than two-thirds of grocery getting new opportunities to advance their careers.

Conducted in the U.S., UK and Australia, the Axonify survey engaged over 2,500 frontline employees from a range of industries including retail, grocery, finance, banking, insurance and professional sales to learn more about the experience of working on the frontlines through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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