CGS Survey Finds Companies Are Struggling To Support Deskless Workers Through The Ongoing Pandemic Disruptions

Companies must rethink their approach to employee development to ensure retention and satisfaction

CGS, a global provider of business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services, today announced new insights from its 2020 Deskless Workforce Learning and Development Satisfaction Survey. These “deskless workers” do most of their professional work in the field, away from a desk and are often on the go, spanning industries such as construction & engineering, healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, education, hospitality and retail. With COVID-19 continuing to upend businesses globally, employers must re-examine their approach to developing and training this essential workforce.

In 2020, companies evolved and shifted much of their businesses to address the pandemic. The recent KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook found that a majority of the CEOs surveyed are changing their strategic response to the pandemic because they were personally affected. To understand how employees were feeling about businesses’ response to this crisis, CGS surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. deskless workers as to their day-to-day training needs, access to collaboration tools and safety concerns.

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Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents said they were satisfied with their employers’ investments in health and safety training. Yet, there were several areas related to training and development where employers could improve their approach. Key findings include:

Employers fell flat in providing wellness programs and crisis resolution

Many companies embraced remote work for the first time in March. To support this transition, one-third of survey respondents said that they received new digital learning and/or collaboration tools, such as augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR), from their employers. However, only 12 percent received mentorship or wellness sessions and even fewer (10 percent) had access to conflict resolution or management training. For those individuals employed in the retail industry, nearly half (42 percent) said they did not receive any tools or training. Given the recent national uptick in COVID-19 cases, it is even more crucial that employers develop a plan to support their employees’ emotional needs and personal development.

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Increasing workloads may push retail, education and manufacturing employees out the door

More than half (52 percent) of respondents claimed that their job responsibilities and workloads increased during the pandemic, stemming mostly from staffing changes, increased demand and new work policies. Many stated they are prepared to leave their job once the pandemic ends. Retail workers are the least confident about committing to their current employers, with 53 percent stating they would remain in their current roles. In education and manufacturing, nearly one-quarter (24 percent) plan to change jobs, careers or retire. Offering relief from the increased demand will be essential to retaining talent, especially in industries such as retail where turnover rates are often high.

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