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Building A Resilient Grocery Frontline Workforce

By Dayeeta Das
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  • Grocery Frontline
    Grocery Frontline
  • The past 18 months have shone a spotlight on the grocery frontline, highlighting just how crucial it is to business efficiency and customer experience. 

    As the sector emerges from what has been the most turbulent period imaginable for the supermarket industry, business leaders should focus on ensuring that the frontline of the future is resilient, adaptable and able to support the evolving grocery model.


    The pandemic has shown us how quickly the landscape can change and how important it is for grocers to respond and adapt to new guidelines and policies. 

    Team huddles and staff room bulletin boards aren’t adequate enough anymore. 

    Grocery leaders need to find new ways to communicate efficiently and effectively with their frontline workforce, but in a way that doesn’t bombard them with information. Instead, tailored, timely and relevant information is key.


    Effective Onboarding 

    Traditional onboarding usually comprises a firehose of information over a short period of time, most of which is forgotten before the new hire hits the shop floor. 

    During the pandemic, the priority was hiring lots of people at a rapid pace.

    Grocery workers came from different backgrounds with different experiences and skills, but most will have gone through a cookie-cutter one-time induction. 

    The ‘one size fits all’ onboarding experience needs a rethink as the focus shifts to hiring fast and effectively for long-term success.



    Safety and compliance in grocery have taken on even more importance in the wake of the coronavirus, and frontline employees have dealt with an overwhelming amount of information to remember to keep themselves and their customers safe. 

    Unfortunately, we know from research that people forget 70% of new information within 24 hours. Having a mechanism in place for repetition and reinforcement is crucial for that all important information to stick.


    During the pandemic, the lines between grocery roles were blurred beyond recognition. 

    To respond to the changing customer expectations and staff shortages, frontline workers were expected to glide between roles and fill crucial gaps quickly and seamlessly, often without much support or training. 


    As we look back and learn from the pandemic, it is clear that having processes and tools in place to enable swift upskilling / cross-skilling makes good business sense.

    Learning In The Flow Of Work

    The grocery frontline is a deskless workforce, often reliant on staffroom notice boards for updates and external courses for their learning. 

    If grocers want to truly be agile as they emerge from the pandemic, then the frontline needs better access to the communications and training that will enable them to excel in their role. 

    Whether it’s BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or a shared device like hand-held scanners, it’s this approach that can have a huge impact on the outcomes that matter most.


    For more information about training and communications for the frontline, visit

    © 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Sponsored post. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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