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Manage Field Staff
Manage Field Staff: Below the 90 second video are 5 things you can do to manage field staff and create a good management environment for your mobile workers, while increasing their productivity AND your profitability.
How to Manage Field Staff – 5 things you can do
1 — Use technology to complement your management
If you currently manage field staff then you probably understand the challenges a mobile workforce can present. In fact, many managers have successfully handled the shift from managing office workers, through the use of technology. Those managers are now able to effectively Manage Field Staff. Some examples of how technology can be used to address those challenges are:
- How can you manage field staff without them being physically present?
- How can you accurately measure employee performance?
- How do you ensure compliance with your company policies?
- How do you know what employees are actually doing on company time?
Warning: Even though technology may help, it will never replace you as a manager, for example:
There are many communication tools available, but it should never replace a face-to-face conversation. Online meeting tools like Skype or Webinars can improve productivity, but should not replace regular team meetings. Technology such as Cloud and Mobile-based software for recording time-sheets, sending and receiving e-mails, or monitoring staff locations are valuable tools to keep track of your employees. Just remember to avoid using technology to spy on your staff. MobiWork can help you by defining your workflows and activities, so that you can focus on the more important aspects, and not be worried about all the details.
2 — Measure so that you can Manage
We know that it is almost impossible to manage something which you can’t measure. In the office environment, measuring staff performance seems easier because you can “manage by walking around”. Today, many employees work in the field, or are part of the growing mobile workforce. The result is that if you still want to measure, you need to track. You would like to know, for example:
- How long are employees busy at a customer site?
- How much traveling does the employee do in a day, week or month?
- Which employee is closest to the next customer call?
- How many jobs were completed by employees?
These are just a few examples of some aspects you want to know about, in a real-time. MobiWork Mobile Workforce Management software helps you to Manage Field Staff without being intrusive.
3 — Open Communication Lines
You don’t need to talk to your employees all the time, but you do need an easy way for you and your workers to communicate when needed. A good manager listens more than talk, so it really needs to be a two-way process. Technology such as MobiWork provides various means of communicating with employees in the field. Gone are the days of only voice communication, send employees text messages, e-mails and “in-app notifications”. Assign tasks and activities via their mobile device. Attach documents, pictures, site plans (and almost anything else) to an electronic work-order. Now you can empower your employee to do the job right, the first time around.
4 — Do not focus only on inputs (activities), rather focus on outputs (deliverables)
Managers can not be obsessed with controlling their employees’ day-to-day activities, especially while employees are in the field. Instead, you have to step back and realize that mobile employees changed management dynamics. What are the goals you want your field staff to achieve? How do you adequately empower your field staff to be effective? Communication is important, but providing field staff with the right information to successfully complete their tasks may be even more important. Assist them with the right technology. Let your field staff plan their own routes, schedule their jobs and accept online customer payments, to mention a few examples. Keep your mobile workers in constant touch with the office and customers. Provide employees with the right “tools” and you can leave them to determine “how” to accomplish their deliverables. This has the added bonus, of using that same technology, to do the important measurements you need to manage. To mention a few examples, metrics such as on-time deliveries, number of jobs completed, start and stop times while driving, time on customer sites, and much more can be available at the press of a button.
5 — Manage exceptions in stead of details
If you’re used to a hands-on management style, you should start trusting the technology to take care of the detail. Decide what exceptions you need to manage. Such as Service Levels missed, customer escalations, time overruns etc, rather than managing the detail of each activity. This can be difficult when you’ve been managing the details for many years, but the level of trust between you and your field staff will most definitely improve. MobiWork allows you to set-up custom reports to manage these exceptions. Then automate the report generation and delivery. If you want to remain “on top” of things at a glance, MobiWork has a fully customisable Dashboard where you decide what real-time information you want, all in one place.