Working in sectors like retail, hospitality and care has always had its tough moments, but the pandemic has made this even harder. The Good Jobs Project looked into how businesses can improve the frontline experience of work. In this blog, Dr Helen Fitzhugh introduces resources created by the team and shares how to get involved in the second phase of the project.

The upheaval from the pandemic has threatened the security of businesses and employment, and placed new pressures on managers and employees, as well as exacerbating old inequalities – factors which impact on both the wellbeing and performance of workers at all levels.

In response, the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Norwich Good Economy Commission launched ‘The Good Jobs Project’ to find ways to support managers and employees to embed good employee experiences of work into the way they build back after the crisis. The project focused on the challenges for workers in areas such as care, hospitality and retail.

The project brings together academic findings on what supports wellbeing and performance with first-hand accounts of the challenges and successes facing organisations and their staff. The team identified ‘4 Boosts for frontline workers’:

  • ‘Let me connect’ – Give frontline workers the time, support and flexibility they need to be able to connect with customers and feel pride in their work;
  • ‘Care about me and my life’ – Get to know workers and show care for their needs and goals, e.g. around childcare, working hours or learning;
  • ‘Have my back’ – Ensure workers feel safe and are trained and supported to deal with difficult situations;
  • ‘Make me part of the conversation’ – Involve workers in discussing decisions that could impact their lives, ensuring managers are open and approachable.

To learn more about the 4 boosts and how to apply them, view the video here and download the accompanying infographic and 8-page handbook below.

The handbook includes a section on each boost called ‘why is taking action on this a win-win?’ This part is written in plain English without references, but if you are interested in the academic sources of each statement you can download the reference supplement below.

Now, in 2022, the next phase of the Good Jobs Project is underway and we need input from employers of frontline staff in Norfolk. We have two aims, we want to:

  • Hear the opinions of more employers and employees on what makes a good job in their local area – Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn, Breckland and North Norfolk.
  • Share the ‘4 Boosts for frontline worker wellbeing and performance’ with employers and hear what is relevant, useable or challenging about acting on them.

Get Involved

Employers: Would you be happy to discuss the experience of employing frontline workers (e.g. retail, hospitality, care, tourism, charities) in Norfolk with one of our researchers?  

  • The discussion will take approximately 30 minutes via video call and everything we hear will be anonymised before we use it for our research report.
  • We will offer insight into the ‘4 Boosts’ for frontline workers during the discussion and answer any questions you have about the evidence that underpins them.

Please contact R.Woodard@uea.ac.uk before the end of June 2022 if you are happy to add your voice to those of other Norfolk businesses. One of our researchers – Ritchie, Helen or Andrea – will get back to you asap.