A Comprehensive Guide to Mobile Workforce Management
The workforce can make or break any field service enterprise. Field agents and technicians are often the only enterprise employees who come into direct contact with the customers. An enterprise’s success depends largely on how it engages with its customers and how well its mobile workforce attends customer requests. IDC estimates that by 2024, mobile workers will account for nearly 60% of the total U.S. workforce. The role of the mobile workforce is more crucial than ever today. Having said that, how can you improve your organization’s mobile workforce management? Here are a few ways.
1. Proactively engage with the mobile workforce
Most enterprises have a high turnover of field agents. The reasons include the isolated and unpredictable nature of fieldwork and having to slog it out in the sun and rain. They work outside the office environment, leading to a disconnect between the field agent and the rest of the workforce. Such disconnect soon leads to dissatisfaction.
About two out of every three U.S. workers are not engaged at work or even actively disengaged. The numbers are even worse among service workers. Disengaged and dissatisfied employees do not put in their 100% at work. The result is low productivity and low quality of work. The collateral damage is a downward spiral of poor customer satisfaction and high employee turnover.
A Gallup survey estimates U.S. companies lose over $500 billion in costs due to low employee engagement. This loss is in addition to the turnover costs. When an incumbent employee leaves, enterprises spend on recruiting, training, and onboarding. Customers have to suffer delays and other inconveniences as the new employees go through a learning curve. All these costs are avoidable with effective mobile worker engagement strategies.
The solution is to engage with the mobile workforce proactively.
- Nurture the mobile workforce. Understand what motivates the mobile workers to put in their best effort. Devise strategies and tactics to keep them satisfied.
- Establish a positive connection with co-workers, and develop a shared vision. Strive to align the enterprise goals and mission with the goals of individual employees. In such a work culture, employees tend to stay.
- Offer opportunities for professional and personal growth. Younger workers seek challenging assignments to hone their skills. They prefer doing independent project work, attending conferences, and joining professional organizations. Equip them with the resources to do their jobs. Investing in an efficient mobile workforce management solution pays off through lesser HR costs, improved productivity, and better customer satisfaction.
- Transparent performance evaluation. Communicate the real expectations to the employees. Use data to make explicit the performance gaps. Offer training and other support materials to facilitate work and bridge the skill gaps. Regular communications, especially feedback, make the employees feel valued.
- Recognize individual contributions. Find out the root cause for shortcomings, and work together with the employees to eliminate such room cause.
- Ensure the mobile workforce has a healthy work-life balance. Do not overload field employees for short-term profits. Also never leave your company understaffed to cut costs. Overworking may deliver short-term gains. But the enterprise will soon lose more in HR costs, such as costs associated with attrition and recruitment costs.
2. Provide the tools of the trade
Provide the mobile workforce with the right tools to complete their job.
- Invest in the latest technology. Offer the mobile workforce state-of-the-art tools that enable them to complete their jobs well. Consider mobile apps with helpful technologies. For instance, Augmented Reality enables a field agent to connect with a remote expert and get the job done without scheduling a revisit. Best-in-class field enterprises deploy mobile workforce management software. A good field management suite empowers the workforce and delivers multiple benefits.
- Offer seamless communication channels for the mobile workforce to engage with their supervisors, dispatchers, managers, and other colleagues. Keep the mobile workforce connected with the happenings in the enterprise. Devise a seamless messaging system to communicate with field agents regularly, and keep them in the loop.
- Develop an information depository. Most mobile workers have a complex schedule and juggle multiple jobs. Scrambling for details or searching for customer information distracts them. An organized knowledge depository or knowledge base offers customer information, training information, service history, on-the-go directions, and other relevant data. It helps field employees stay focused on the job at hand.
3. Deploy a mobile workforce management solution
A good field management suite streamlines work orders, improves scheduling and dispatching, and reduces wait times.
Mobile workforce management software:
- Integrates other enterprise systems such as inventory management and finance, HR, accounting, and others to streamline processes and improve effectiveness.
- Offers complete visibility into field operations, enabling supervisors or managers to make prompt interventions when needed.
- Delivers mobile forms to make field audits and inspections easy and fast. ReachOut’s advanced digital forms allow field techs to capture photos, record videos, and keep the data up-to-date so that they can quickly generate reports once they get back to the office.
- Ensures compliance. Allows checks and filters to ensure the work gets done in compliance with the laid down standards.
- Offers field agents real-time updates through interactive dashboards to give a fillip to productivity.
A vital component of a field management suite is a mobile workforce management solution. A mobile workforce management solution has all the ingredients of a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and some additional features to cater to the mobile workforce.
Good workforce management software:
- Enables dynamic workforce scheduling that ensures an efficient allocation of resources and meets complex scheduling goals. The scheduling algorithm resolves the complexity of time, location, availability, and service levels, to ensure the workforce does not waste energy moving around excessively.
- The best mobile workforce management strategy builds schedules around availability. It keeps track of employee work hours, mandatory breaks, off-days, and leaves, to assign work orders to available agents. The computer algorithm syncs scheduling with employees’ availability so that customers do not bear unnecessary waits.
- Calculates work hours, leaves, and LOPs to pass on the information to accounts and other departments for seamless payroll management.
- Automates paperwork and administrative tasks. Mobile workers prefer to stay focused on what they do best. Wasting time on paperwork will prevent them from addressing another customer request. It can even demotivate the employee, sap their energy, and cost the enterprise more money.
A mobile field service solution enables the mobile workforce to capture data and access information when needed. Rich data fed into connected analytics tools offer employees deep insights. It raises their self-confidence, morale, and loyalty.
A high chunk of the existing mobile workforce is close to retirement. The younger post-millennial generations are less interested in a career in field service. Already, about 54% of employers cannot find people with the right skills they need to fill open positions. Effective mobile workforce management is now a competitive strategy to attract and keep talent. Proactive mobile worker engagement leads to happy employees. Happy employees give more to their work, delighting customers.
ReachOut’s field service management software offers all the features required for your mobile workers to carry out their jobs efficiently. Your team can access the ReachOut app using smartphones, iPad, tablets, or any other mobile device they carry to the worksite. It also serves as the ideal companion for field service managers, administrators, supervisors, and business owners to manage their business end-to-end. Talk to an expert to learn more about ReachOut.
ReachOut: Inspection & Work Order Management Software
Do you still use paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage your service business? ReachOut is a web and mobile solution for companies to schedule, dispatch and deliver inspections, work orders, ticketing and more.