Managing a Mobile Workforce Starts With Communication
Last updated on August 23, 2021 at 08:09 pm
Successfully managing a mobile workforce really comes down to one thing: great communication. Communication is vital to productivity, conflict resolution, onboarding and training, and is a core component of the entire employee experience. And so when it comes to managing a dispersed workforce, establishing lines of communication that can reach those employees when and where they need it, is key.
What is the Mobile Workforce?
Before you can even think about managing the mobile workforce, you have to understand who they are. These employees have very unique pain points, needs, and expectations at work, so they really can’t be treated like their deskbound counterparts.
So, who are they?
Mobile workers are employees that do not sit at a desk for work and aren’t bound to just one location. These workers are your truckers, hospitality employees, plant workers, security guards, and so on. And they make up the majority of the global workforce, clocking in at a whopping 1.87 billion people.
Historically, a disproportionate amount of technology and resources go towards deskbound workers, a likely reason why communicators continue to list the mobile workforce as an audience they struggle to reach. The communication gap is real and many organizations are looking for solutions to shrink it.
But the technology revolution is here, and there are now so many mobile workforce management (MWM) solutions out there, it’s hard to know which one you need. But more on that later.
Benefits of Enabling Mobile Work
Before we get into the challenges of managing a mobile workforce, let’s talk about why it’s important to enable mobile work in the first place.
Mobile workers aren’t just frontline workers anymore. They’re remote workers too. And as more of the workforce isn’t working from an office, we need more mobile technology to enable their success.
An IBM study found that companies that embraced mobile work and adopted digital tech to support that work saw a:
- 67% productivity bump
- 53% higher employee engagement
- 43% revenue growth
Not to mention…mobile work saves money on office space and has such a positive effect on the employee experience that customer service improved right along with it.
Challenges of Managing Mobile Workers
If you don’t have the right technology to connect and communicate with mobile workers, there can be some big challenges.
- A lot comes down to the manager. It’s an age-old problem, isn’t it? Not all managers are great at communicating and leading people. We personally think this comes down to major gaps in training and ongoing comms support…but more on that in another blog.
- You have to train people on new tools. Truth is, not everyone is a digital native who can pick up just about any technology and be an ace at it. You do need to invest the right time into training people on the new tool. But if you implement a good change management strategy, this should already be part of your rollout plan.
- Mobile employees have different needs than deskbound workers. To successfully reach and support this key group, you will need to do your due diligence getting to know this employee group and building out their persona. And keep in mind, regional differences as this segment of the workforce is spread out.
What is Mobile Workforce Management (MWM)?
So…what really is MWM?
Essentially, mobile workforce management is the process of managing employees who do not work in an office. It consists of tools and systems intended for the specific purpose of supporting mobile work, taking into consideration the unique challenges that deskless, remote, or frontline workers experience.
The range of tools out there that exist to help you manage a mobile workforce are vast. They cover everything from employee communications (that’s us) to ops-focused activities like scheduling and payroll (but we integrate with these systems if you’re looking for a one-stop-tool).
Why Communication Is Key to Managing a Mobile Workforce
While the range of tools that exist for MWM is somewhat large, we’d argue that one of the first things you need to get in place is a solid communications solution.
Most frontline workers don’t have email or Intranet access. Many managers need access to critical talking points, real-time updates, and ongoing training…and they can’t easily coach their teams and use materials if everything is stored behind a firewall on an intranet or as printed printed material in a binder.
For us, the secret is in the name: mobile workforce management. Mobile devices are the key—and since 85% of U.S. adults own a smartphone (Marketing Charts), the infrastructure is already there. You just need to tap into it.
theEMPLOYEEapp as a MWM Tool
If you’re embracing the future of mobile work and ready for a solution, we’re here to help with a variety of options to suit your company’s needs.
We are champions of deskless workers, so all our standard features are instrumental in MWM:
- Mobile, web, tablet, and desktop enabled for easy access, anytime, anywhere
- Platform alerts & push notifications to break through the noise
- Document repository with easy search to make it easier for teams to find what they need in less time
- Employee directory to connect employees who may otherwise not get to interact face-to-face
- Full multimedia file support so you can share messages in the best format
- The ability to access content offline
- And more!
Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.