Employers are overlooking their frontline workers when devising employee engagement strategies, according to a new survey.

Digital employee experience platform SocialChorus found that a fifth of HR and internal communications professionals admit to focusing their strategies on office and desk-based workers, and just 12% prioritise deskless workers.

The survey also highlighted a concern among HR teams about the lack of understanding their business holds about how to genuinely improve employee engagement for employees who don’t work from a desk, and those working from home or utilising hybrid working.

Nearly half (46%) of HR professionals said they have increased internal communications during the pandemic. A similar number (44%) said they are now tailoring their internal communications in response to employee feedback.

More than a quarter (27%) cited the need to reach all employees, regardless of their choice of device, as a major challenge. Employee expectations are also evolving too, the survey claimed, with 30% of workers expecting to hear more from senior leadership and 23% wanting to understand more about the business.

The study has highlighted the importance HR professional place on employee engagement, with 51% suggested it is an opportunity to maintain or increase productivity levels and 46% believing it can boost employee retention. They also felt it could ensure all workers are reached (39%), could help to mobilise staff (36%), and help to align the workforce with corporate goals (34%).

Nicole Alvino, founder and CSO of SocialChorus, said: “The pandemic reset the employment rules. The newly hybrid workforce has high expectations of how their employers should, and must, engage with them. HR and internal communications have become crucial to better business outcomes since the pandemic turned employee engagement and experience on its head.

“As businesses continue to develop and shape their digital employee experience in a way that works for their business and employees, the focus must be to ensure that all workers, both desk-based and deskless, are fully communicated with, feel totally connected and, crucially, feel valued by their organisations.”