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.

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.