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How to Engage Deskless Workers in Training

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul
March 5, 2024
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Restaurant Customer Service Training

80% of the world’s workforce is deskless. Deskless workers – waiters and servers at restaurants, nurses, retail workers, construction workers, fitness instructors – are a significant part in many industries. However, engaging this segment of the workforce in training initiatives presents a unique set of challenges. How can employers ensure that deskless workers receive the training they need to excel in their roles, even when they’re not bound to a centralized location? In this blog post, we'll explore strategies for effectively engaging the deskless workforce in training, helping organizations unlock the full potential of their employees, regardless of where they work.


Understanding the Deskless Workforce  

The deskless workforce comprises employees who do not primarily work from a traditional office setting. Instead, they operate in diverse environments such as construction sites, retail stores, hospitals, and more.  

Deskless workers are essential contributors to many industries. Their roles are often customer-facing or involve critical tasks that directly impact the organization's success. Therefore, investing in their training and development is essential for ensuring operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and employee retention. Understanding the unique characteristics of this workforce is crucial for designing effective training programs tailored to their needs.


Challenges Faced by Deskless Employees  

The deskless workforce encounters a myriad of challenges that impede their engagement with traditional training methods. Unlike their desk-bound counterparts, deskless employees cannot afford the luxury of setting aside time to sit at a desk or use a laptop to access training materials. They are constantly on the move, navigating dynamic environments where their primary focus is on completing tasks efficiently rather than undergoing lengthy training sessions.

One of the most pressing issues faced by deskless workers is the lack of accessibility to training materials. Many existing training solutions are designed with desktop users in mind, making them inaccessible to those who rely on mobile devices or have limited internet connectivity in their work environments. As a result, adoption rates for these solutions remain disappointingly low, with employees often feeling frustrated and disengaged.

Furthermore, even when deskless employees attempt to engage with training materials, they often find themselves quickly disenchanted by the content's lack of relevance and engagement. Traditional training materials tend to be lengthy, text-heavy, and monotonous, failing to capture the attention of individuals accustomed to short, visually stimulating content on platforms like TikTok. This is particularly true for the growing number of deskless workers from Generation Z, who have grown up in an era of constant digital stimulation and expect their learning experiences to be similarly engaging.

The disconnect between the training materials provided and the preferences of deskless workers exacerbates the challenge of maintaining their engagement. Many employees start the training process with good intentions but become disengaged and disinterested as they struggle to connect with the content. Consequently, organizations are left with a workforce that lacks the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their roles effectively, resulting in decreased productivity and customer satisfaction.

Addressing these challenges requires a fundamental shift in how training is delivered to the deskless workforce. Organizations must embrace innovative approaches that prioritize accessibility, relevance, and engagement to ensure that all employees, regardless of their work environment, can develop and succeed. In the following sections, we will explore strategies for overcoming these challenges and effectively engaging deskless employees in training.

Strategies for Engaging Deskless Workers in Training

Recognizing the unique challenges faced by deskless workers, organizations must adopt innovative strategies to effectively engage this segment of the workforce in training. By leveraging technology and embracing dynamic learning approaches, employers can create training experiences that resonate with deskless employees, driving higher levels of engagement and knowledge retention. Here are several strategies to consider:


1. Being Mobile-first: Given the mobile nature of deskless work, the first step of deskless workforce training should be being mobile-first. Mobile-first training solutions enable employees to access training materials anytime, anywhere, using their smartphones or tablets. By providing on-the-go access to bite-sized training modules, organizations can accommodate the busy schedules of deskless workers while maximizing engagement and retention.


2. Implementing Engaging and Bite-Sized Training Modules: Deskless workers often have limited time and attention spans, making lengthy training sessions impractical. Instead, organizations should embrace bite-sized learning modules, also known as microlearning, that deliver contents in short, digestible chunks. Best way to deliver bite-sized training and reduce training time is incorporating engaging formats such as short 1–2-minute TikTok style videos, or interactive step by step guides. By breaking down training materials into smaller segments and appealing formats, employees can easily fit learning into their busy schedules and stay focused on the content at hand.


3. Incorporating Gamification Elements: Gamification is an effective way to inject fun and interactivity into training programs, making them more engaging for deskless workers. Integrating game-like elements such as quizzes and challenges can make training fun and motivate employees to actively participate in their training. It also improves retention of knowledge. Contests and leaderboards can promote some healthy competition among peers and motivate employees to strive for mastery of key skills on their own.


4. Offering Personalized Learning Paths: Recognizing that deskless workers have diverse learning needs and preferences, organizations should offer personalized learning paths tailored to individual employees. By allowing workers to choose their own learning objectives and pace, organizations can empower them to take ownership of their development journey, leading to greater engagement and satisfaction.


5. Providing On-the-Job Training Opportunities: For deskless workers, hands-on experience is often the most effective way to learn. Organizations should prioritize on-the-job training opportunities that allow employees to apply newly acquired knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios. By integrating training seamlessly into daily work tasks, organizations can enhance learning outcomes and ensure that training remains relevant and practical.


6. Incentivizing with Tangible Rewards: Incorporating tangible incentives into training programs can significantly enhance engagement and motivation among deskless workers. By offering tangible rewards for completing training goals or achieving certain milestones, organizations can create a sense of excitement and healthy competition among employees. This can range from small rewards for completing individual modules to larger prizes for top performers in training programs.

Physical rewards such as gift cards, merchandise, or even experiences can serve as powerful motivators, providing deskless workers with tangible recognition for their efforts and accomplishments.


By incorporating incentives into training programs, organizations can create a culture of continuous learning and improvement, encouraging deskless workers to actively participate in their development journey. Additionally, the prospect of earning rewards can help overcome initial resistance or apathy towards training, increasing overall participation rates and driving positive outcomes for both employees and the organization.

By implementing these strategies, organizations can overcome the challenges associated with engaging deskless workers in training and unlock the full potential of their workforce. However, it can be difficult and overwhelming for a company to incorporate these strategies into their training. And this is where spoon.tech can help. spoon.tech is a mobile first training solution specifically catered towards the deskless workforce. It contains bite-sized training modules called “scoops”, which have 1-2 minute TikTok style videos, interactive and visual guides on any topic companies want to train their employees. It also has games like quizzes, identifying missing elements, putting processes in the right order etc. You can also launch competitions among employees. The best part? Employees stay engaged with spoon.tech because of immediate cash rewards, which employees can redeem instantly to their bank accounts, and it works as a huge motivator for them to engage with the training.  

In conclusion, effectively engaging the deskless workforce in training is essential for ensuring organizational success in today's dynamic business landscape. Despite the unique challenges they face, such as limited time, accessibility issues, and disengagement with traditional training methods, deskless employees represent a valuable asset for organizations across various industries.

By understanding the specific needs and preferences of deskless workers and embracing innovative training strategies, organizations can overcome these challenges and create impactful learning experiences. From leveraging mobile learning platforms and implementing bite-sized modules to incorporating gamification elements and offering personalized learning paths, there are numerous approaches to engage deskless workers in training effectively.  

In today's rapidly evolving work environment, organizations must prioritize the training and development of their deskless workforce to remain competitive and agile. By investing in innovative training solutions tailored to the needs of deskless workers, organizations can unlock the full potential of their employees and drive sustained success in the years to come. Let us embark on this journey of empowerment and growth, ensuring that every deskless employee has the opportunity to thrive and excel in their role.

If you found that blog helpful and want to engage your deskless employees in training, get in touch with spoon.tech by filling out this contact form. You can also e-mail us at hello@spoon.tech and call us at +43 670 655 56 82.

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

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