Beekeeper: Solving Disconnects Between Frontline Workers And Managers In A $30 Billion Market

By Amit Chowdhry • Jun 6, 2024

Beekeeper is a company that solves the disconnect between frontline workers and their managers in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and construction industries. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Beekeeper CEO and co-founder Cristian Grossmann to learn more about the company.

Cristian Grossmann’s Background

What is Grossmann’s background?  As a former frontline worker, Grossmann understands first-hand the technology required to make the frontline workforce more effective. Before founding Beekeeper, he worked for Accenture on high-profile international projects in IT Strategy for the financial and public sectors. And Grossmann said:

“I’ve been fascinated by mobile technology since I was 12 and began assisting with IT tasks at my dad’s company. I pursued chemical engineering for my undergrad and electrical engineering for my doctorate, with ambitions to eventually launch my own company. After years of working for Accenture’s IT strategy, I ended up developing a dating app for students. With the same founding team that would eventually evolve into Beekeeper. Thirteen years later, I’ve committed myself to bridging the disconnect between frontline workers and their companies.”

Formation Of Beekeeper

How did the idea for Beekeeper come together? Grossmann shared:

“Many people are surprised to learn that the first product we made as a founding team was a dating app. We were inspired by the popularity of anonymous flirting apps in US colleges—platforms that let people initiate conversations they might have been too shy to have in real life. My co-founder and I had just completed engineering school, so we understood some of the social challenges some people face when trying to date. We thought: why not bring this idea to Switzerland? So, we worked together and created an anonymous dating app called BlickKick.”

”The response was great—in a very short time, we had many Swiss university students using the app. What was fascinating, though, was seeing the platform evolve on its own. What we’d launched as a dating app for university students soon became more of a community for students.”

“The breakthrough moment came in 2012 when the Swiss hotel chain Swissôtel started using the community solution to handle communication with its non-desk workforce during a merger with two other global hotel chains. We’d stumbled upon this whole communication ecosystem that our services suited well and really helped: businesses that needed an effective way to connect with their frontline workers.”

”We recognized that this audience was important, and we developed Beekeeper, a platform that was designed for their needs from the beginning, and started the growth phase that continues to this day.”

Favorite Memory

What has been your favorite memory working for the company so far? Grossmann reflected:

”In January 2023, we gathered all the Beekeepers from around the world in our main office in Zurich. It was amazing to have 200 bees buzzing in the hive for one week!”

Core Products

What are the company’s core products and features? Grossmann explained:

”Beekeeper provides a comprehensive system for frontline success. The solution is designed for the frontline workforce and it tries to meet and predict their daily needs. Its solutions include:

Employee services 

Beekeeper makes it easy for workers to check their schedules and request shift changes, which simultaneously reduces the rate of absenteeism and gives workers the flexibility and transparency they need to manage their lives. Beekeeper conveniently consolidates core onboarding and offboarding features, allowing essential documents to be submitted remotely from the field. This saves both employees and employers a lot of time since frontline workers often work far from headquarters. Beekeeper supports ongoing training through its app, including safety tutorials that can be vital in frontline situations like construction work. Employers can even create and distribute quizzes instantly through the app.


Beekeeper keeps employee-employer communications safe with best-in-class encryption, advanced firewall protection and access controls, regular external security audits and more. Employers can distribute pulse surveys through the Beekeeper app to quickly measure how their workforce feels and get useful information about employee satisfaction.


Beekeeper’s maintenance management software helps frontline employees work faster and easier, eliminating paper checklists and forms and reducing the time to fix equipment and assets. Beekeeper’s AI-powered analytics allow employers to see more than basic patterns and data to understand how employees feel, which projects need attention, and where they can do better.”

Challenges Faced

What challenges has Grossmann faced in building the company? Grossmann acknowledged:

”At Beekeeper, we have faced a significant challenge with some frontline employers who have a low level of awareness. Some of these frontline companies have a long history; they have followed the same methods for many years and are resistant to major changes. These employers often do not recognize what we call the “frontline disconnect”—i.e., the outdated practices that are hindering productivity and communication between employers and their frontline workers.”

“Some businesses are still resistant, but we have found that most of them change their mind when we show them the clear cost benefits that come from improving frontline communication. For more than 10 years, our company has been working hard to communicate about the frontline gap—and how fixing it can benefit both employers and frontline workers. It hasn’t been a smooth journey—but we are very pleased with the progress made in this area lately.”

Evolution Of Beekeeper’s Technology

How has the company’s technology evolved since launching? Grossmann noted:

”Some apps are complete from the outset: after launch, they only need minor adjustments to the core product. Beekeeper has followed a different path. In the beginning, after our previous incarnation as a community platform for students, we had the communication functionality well established, and that was largely what we concentrated on. As we shifted to frontline work, our technology suite grew significantly, as we diversified to cover almost every element of the frontline work experience.“

”I’ve already outlined some of those solutions—tools for managing shifts, secure communication, and software for maintenance and management. A recent and exciting development has been the introduction of our Frontline Intelligence platform, which enables managers to gain insights into employee sentiment and productivity. With AI-powered sentiment analysis, sophisticated analytics dashboards, and tools for onboarding and activation, employers can now make smarter choices and address the needs of their frontline teams in advance.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of the company’s most significant milestones? Grossmann cited:

”The launch of our Frontline Intelligence Platform was a landmark in Beekeeper’s decade-plus history. We’ve always cared about frontline success—in providing employers and employees with the tools they need to excel. The Frontline Intelligence Platform was the result of all these efforts, combining more than a decade of knowledge about frontline work with the latest AI technology to give employers unmatched visibility into how their companies operate every day.”

“Our first in-person Frontline Success Summit was another highlight for Beekeeper. It happened in Nashville, Tenn., in October 2023. This summit—which had keynotes and masterclasses on practical ways to deal with a frontline disconnect—made us very proud of our work. A few years before, the pandemic closed the world, making frontline workers more visible than ever. For Beekeeper, we always cared about frontline workers, and seeing how people changed their views was very rewarding. The summit, which included interactive workshops with top experts, felt like witnessing a new reality emerge in real-time—one where all kinds of businesses are actively working to fix the ongoing frontline disconnect.”

Customer Success Stories

After asking Grossmann about customer success stories, he highlighted:

“Caribou Coffee’s story illustrates how Beekeeper is helping businesses every day in practical ways.”

“Caribou Coffee is a worldwide chain of high-quality coffee shops with 7,500 employees in 11 countries. Before they used Beekeeper, Caribou Coffee kept all their shift notes and product information in a red notebook, one for each store. This system caused many issues—for example, the information wasn’t searchable, and couldn’t be cross-referenced with information from other Caribou Coffee locations.”

“Caribou Coffee switched from its “red book to nowhere” to Beekeeper’s app during the pandemic—giving the company instant visibility into its remote operations, and greatly improving employee satisfaction in the process.”


Upon asking Grossmann about the company’s funding and revenue, he revealed:

”We’ve secured over $100 million from international investors in the US and Europe. We don’t share revenue numbers, but our growth has been remarkable over the past years, especially since the pandemic, when the world recognized that frontline workers are essential for keeping our societies running.”

Total Addressable Market

What total addressable market (TAM) size is the company pursuing? Grossmann assessed:

“We estimate the TAM is over $30 billion—making a huge possibility to become a real leader in the category that focuses on meeting the needs of the frontline workers from the bottom up.“

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates Beekeeper from its competition? Grossmann affirmed:

“Beekeeper is the only platform that focuses on every aspect of the frontline work life cycle and success. Other tech companies may attempt to adapt their existing technology for frontline work, but they cannot match the specialized and complete features that only Beekeeper provides. Many apps can perform single tasks related to frontline work, such as onboarding, shift management, etc., but Beekeeper’s unique advantage is that it covers all the needs of the frontline work experience in one place.”

Frontline Worker Challenges

Do frontline or deskless workers and their leaders encounter different difficulties than those who work in an office?  Grossmann replied:

”Communication is easy for desk-based work: office workers can quickly Slack their manager or email a colleague if they have a problem to solve. The challenges that desk workers face every day are very different from those of their frontline counterparts. Some of these frontline workers are working with dangerous machines; some are dealing with volatile customers; some are commuting to unfamiliar locations regularly. Also, their hours can be unpredictable. While the desk worker has the mental comfort of knowing that they’ll start at 10 am and finish at 5 pm, Monday through Friday, frontline workers may only know their schedules days or even hours in advance. This can be stressful for many frontline workers who have children or elderly family members to look after—and who may have one or more jobs—the irregular schedules can make them quit more easily, as we saw earlier.”

Learnings From 2024 Frontline Workforce Pulse Report By Beekeeper

The 2024 Frontline Workforce Pulse Report by Beekeeper, a survey of 8,000 managers and frontline workers, revealed specific difficulties that frontline workers face. What is the strategic importance of these results? Grossmann emphasized:

”The 2024 State of Frontline Success Global Survey Report suggests a growing disconnect between frontline workers and management, leading to increased disengagement among frontline workers.”

”There is a gap between what managers assume frontline workers experience, need or desire and the real needs of these workers. It causes companies to lose millions of dollars, and it’s likely the most hidden and overlooked issue in the industry, leaders usually don’t know how big this problem is.”

“Furthermore, blocked communication channels make frontline workers feel insecure and unsatisfied and reduce their efficiency significantly.”

Economic Impact Of These Challenges

What are the economic and bottom-line business impacts of those challenges? Grossmann noted:

“This widespread dissatisfaction has severe economic effects, including an estimated $8.8 trillion in lost output and 40% to 50% of workers across frontline industries quitting their jobs for both better work/life balance and pay.”

“These things matter a lot more: lack of acknowledgment, low communication between teams, and not having enough staff on shifts.”

”Most surveyed Head Office employees (52%) noted low morale among frontline workers as an impediment to productivity, but only 15% of frontline workers felt this way.”

Consequences Of Feelings Of Disconnection And Addressing Those Challenges

What are some consequences of the feelings of disconnection and how does Beekeeper address those challenges? Grossmann answered:

“The disconnect between the frontline and the rest of the organization has different dimensions:

  1. Cultural and mindset differences: historically entrenched and going back to industrialization, is the concept of “replaceable parts in the front.” While sad and tough, it’s strongly felt among workers.
  2. Misunderstanding the needs of the frontline: this is where much of our survey data points to the biggest pain point—the distance between the frontline worker and the head office.
  3. Operational disconnect workers have limited or no access to systems, information and resources needed.

The result is the astonishing rate of frontliners switching jobs—half of the industry is leaving every year. That costs $350 million for an S&P 500 company.

At the organizational level, actionable recommendations can reduce stress and increase productivity among frontline workers.

  1. Driving today’s worker/manager disconnect is inadequate communication and a lack of insights into frontline needs. Managers need to better understand their teams’ needs to be truly successful in their roles.
  2. Frontline workers and managers who engage in a continuous two-way conversation on expectations, performance, job safety, and satisfaction create an environment of trust and mutual respect.

Technology plays a significant role in reducing the jungle of antiquated point solutions.

  1. Productivity tools that blend seamlessly into a worker’s daily routine can radically simplify complicated tasks such as onboarding, shift allocation, cross-team collaboration, and learning and development.
  2. Mobile-first platforms provide every worker with the tools required to sync effectively and efficiently with other teams, reallocate shifts effortlessly, and learn new and needed skills thoroughly and promptly.
  3. Bringing all communication into a single platform establishes desperately needed lines of communication and ensures that every worker feels that their voice is heard.

Beekeeper sees a strong pull from the market. Frontline companies are adopting and deploying technology at a record-high pace. We had our strongest quarter ever in Q4 2023.

Instead of separate solutions—a new intranet, shift or payroll system, or training and development platforms—it’s important to integrate them into a system that is purpose-built for the frontline worker. Frontline success systems do this by combining everything into a system that meets the needs of the frontline worker.”

 Future Company Goals

What are some of the company’s future company goals? Grossmann pointed out:

“We believe that AI has a lot of promise for the future of frontline workplace management. That’s why our focus for the near future is to expand our Frontline Intelligence Platform, looking for new ways to use this developing technology to benefit frontline workers.“

”Consider translation as an example. On many front-line work locations, managers and workers speak different languages, often relying on team members to serve as go-betweens (if anyone with that skill is available). By incorporating real-time AI-enabled translation into the Beekeeper platform, we’ll be able to address this issue right away, avoiding confusion and improving efficiency.”

Additional Thoughts

Any other topics you would to discuss? Grossmann concluded:

”I think it is very important to address the persistent frontline disconnect—it cannot be overstated. Frontline workers are essential for many different industries: they communicate with customers, they maintain operations, and their productivity is one of the main drivers of business growth. However, the disconnect keeps eroding the trust between frontline workers and employers, leading to dissatisfaction and lack of motivation.”

“This is happening right now across the US, with many strikes by prominent workers disrupting business operations throughout 2023. We can also see this in the sheer frequency with which frontline workers are changing jobs—in some sectors, attrition rates are as high as 50%. These trends—which show no signs of slowing—are reducing efficiency and costing employers significant amounts of money. For both sides—employers and frontline workers—the situation is untenable.”

“It is not hard to understand why this worker disconnect and demotivation exists. Our 2024 Frontline Workforce Pulse Report shows that frontline workers urgently need more supportive, engaging workplace cultures, ones that cater to their diverse needs. Unsurprisingly, that same report reveals that the three main obstacles to frontline productivity are not having enough staff on shifts (36%), lack of recognition (26%), and poor team communication (18%)—all of them signs of frontline disconnect, and all of them fixable through a focused effort to improve communication.”