Front line managers are the first or second managers who are involved with the production process directly. In simple terms, they’re the ones you see standing atop, watching the workers manufacture goods. It is not wrong to say that front line managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations. Front line managers have a lot of potential, but most of it is never actually utilized.
In fact, they’re the ones who make it work. But when it comes to the involvement of frontline managers in decision-making, higher ups (senior management) are reluctant to involve them. Why is this so? A lot has been written on why it is necessary to involve front line managers in leadership and decision-making.
Direct Involvement with Workers
First things first, front line managers are directly involved with workers. Since they are directly involved, they know about the workers and they can directly affect them. A senior manager or the CEO of the company would almost never come into contact with workers. Even if they rarely do, it doesn’t last long.
But front line managers are involved with the workers daily. Whether it is about their pay, productivity or if they’re choosing to take a day off. All of this is known by the front line manager. So doesn’t it make sense for the front line manager to have more involvement in the decisions? Let’s say there is a company that has 100 workers. All of these people report to the front line manager. The front line manager then reports to the higher management. This chain ends at the top where the CEO is told about the important briefings of the company.
Strikes and Production Halts
However, the CEO or the senior management is never informed about small details that concern their workers. So, who knows about the demands of these 100 people? Let’s say they want a raise in wages, and the management decides to cut their pay (without knowing their demands), then it can create chaos. The workers may choose to stop working or worse, they may threaten the organization. In case of a strike, work will entirely stop and this will result in losses for the business. No business wants to go through a phase where production is halted.
Due to a halt in production, orders will be incomplete. This will disturb the shipments and the buyers won’t get their products on time, which will result in more losses for the company. This time, not only in monetary terms, but the goodwill of the business will suffer as well.
Speaking of a fall in production, a big issue that organizations suffer from is employee turnout. When employees are unhappy with the current conditions of the organization they work in, they leave. This results in a gap in the production process. These days, a vacancy is not easy to fill. You may find people in supply but not everyone’s worth the job. If the front line manager is trained and knows how to tackle employees and their demands, employee turnout can drop significantly. This will also save hiring costs, in case the firm is outsourcing.
What Happens When Front Line Managers Are Involved in Decision-Making?
According to a study, there are different types of front line managers. These managers have different roles in the organization, but we’re keeping this term general for now. Since front line managers are not experienced when it comes to decision-making, they may not know the proper way to make decisions when they’re pinned up against the wall.
A big part of the organization’s work is involved in dealing with customers. These customers are what the organization essentially runs on. Without them, there will be no sale. No sale means no profit. No profit means that the organization cannot sustain.
Since front line managers also have to deal with customers face-to-face, it will be wise for higher ups to invest in front line managers. This will result in better negotiations with the customers, which can bring higher chances of profits for the organization as a whole. If front line managers are trained, they can learn how to make a better argument in case there’s a debate on the price or anything else that concerns the organization.
There’s a lot more that the front line manager is expected to do. So it only makes sense for them to undergo training, and for their higher ups to invest in them more.
Quality of the Products
Let’s be honest, at the end of the day, quality is what matters. It decides everything. From sales to brand loyalty, quality of the products/service is what keeps the organization alive. Where do the products come from? They’re made by workers. Who are those workers monitored by? Front line managers, exactly!
It is the duty of a front line manager to ensure that the workers who are working under them are motivated throughout their work hours. If at any point they are not working or if the production rate decreases, then the front line manager should be equipped with the necessary tools to motivate the workers. Motivation brings two inevitable benefits. First, it improves speed. When the speed of work increases, the supply of the products goes up. Second, chances of errors are reduced. This saves the organization’s time and allows for better work. Of course, efficiency brings higher profits.
Every organization/business aims to reduce errors to boost productivity. There are various tools that a front line manager can use to motivate the workers. These are simple financial motivators that are ideal for workers. They can motivate them to work better. Now, since middle and senior managers are not directly involved with the workers, they can’t offer them motivators. The line manager has to do that and provide the results to the higher ups. That’s how it works.
According to HBR.org, front line managers make up almost 60% of the company’s management ranks. This means, most of the management consists of them. That’s why it is highly important for middle and senior managers to realize how important front line managers are.
They’re the glue that keeps the organization attached with the workers, employees, customers, and consumers. Boosting them would mean benefitting in all avenues of the organization. This is one bet that will always pay off, no matter what. It’s a great way to bring about stability in your business.