Mobile workforce management is more than a passing trend. The majority of the world’s working population is now out of the corporate office and on location. What are they doing? They’re selling, making, building, serving, fixing, cleaning, repairing, and so much more. And their numbers are growing.
By 2022, 1.87 billion people will be part of the world’s mobile workforce.
Whether it’s a customer a few miles down the road or in another time zone, the ability to serve a widespread client base allows a company to be more competitive and increase revenue streams. So companies have ramped up their operations and added to their frontline teams to be able to grow their company. That’s where mobile workforce management comes in.
But as modern companies expand their reach and their teams become more dispersed, communication becomes that much more critical — and more difficult.
Today, mobile communication tools create an agile workplace, able to support a widespread network of employees. Enterprise-wide communication is no longer confined to one facility. Thanks to mobile workforce management software, information continuity can align an organization no matter where their teams are for superior productivity and greater efficiency.
What Is A Mobile Workforce?
Mobile workers can include anyone who works away from the office. But the mobile workforce definition we use is a team of non-desk workers that are not stationed at computers, desks, or tethered to one single location. In short, they are employees that are always on the move to accomplish their jobs. We also like to call them frontline workers.
Mobile workforces are the backbone of many industries, like healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and hospitality. In fact, 80% of the workers fall into this category. They might be in the field, at a cash register, helping patients, or on a retail floor.
What Is Mobile Workforce Management?
Mobile workforce management includes both the tools and methods a company uses to communicate and engage with their frontline teams. With staggered shifts, irregular schedules, and limited, if any, access to company computers or email, leaders often use mobile workforce management software, like a communications app, to connect with these employees.
The best mobile workforce management solutions are secure, cloud-based platforms that facilitate real-time connectivity with employees no matter where they are.
The most effective mobile workforce management software programs:
- Connect an entire workforce regardless of location
- Have an analytics dashboard to track adoption and engagement
- Facilitates real-time communication and collaboration between every worker
- Have survey feature to gain valuable insight from frontline teams
- Enable easy shift schedule management
Mobile Workforce Management for Higher Engagement and Productivity
If employees are not engaged, it’s often a red flag that they don’t understand the purpose of their work. For a mobile workforce, that feeling is amplified. Away from managers and colleagues, they often do not feel the morale and energy that an office environment can have.
A mobile workforce management app bridges this gap. Business leaders can use the platform to share corporate information and raise awareness of the company’s mission. This allows field workers to feel included. In turn, they’ll have the resources to accurately represent the vision and values a company is built on when they’re on the job with a client.
Holcim is a leading manufacturer of building materials, like cement, aggregates and ready-mix concrete for infrastructure and construction projects. In their Italy and Switzerland branches, they have 1,500 mobile workers spread across 70 locations—including plants, quarries, and job sites.
When Holcim gets a new client or secures a new partner, they share the news over Beekeeper, the platform they’ve chosen to connect their teams.. The ability to align positive messaging like this to every worker has been a boon to productivity by letting employees know their hard work is paying off.
Through leveraging the mobile workforce management platform Beekeeper, Holcim has since been able to save a whopping $50,000 in reduced printing costs.
Streamline Information for Greater Efficiency in the Field
In the past, mobile workers called in updates from the field or had to come into the office to report back and receive new tasks from their managers. Between drive time and information lost in the time-delayed transmission, it was an inefficient way to communicate.
More than 5 billion people around the world own a mobile device. More than half of those are smartphones.
With mobile workforce management solutions, teams save critical time in relaying information. They can file job reports in real time so the main office gets immediate updates on projects. Architects and engineers can share documents and plans with on-site construction workers to keep projects on track.
Opening continuous, unobstructed two-way channels of information between field workers and the home office allows jobs to be completed smoother, and faster.
Know What Your Mobile Workforce Needs
Your mobile employees are out there representing your company and your brand. The truth is, they have a different, and deeper, insight into how your company operates. To provide supportive leadership, initiate communication to ask them if they have all the tools they need to perform their job safely, effectively, and efficiently. If not, ask them what they need. You can open this dialogue by sending a survey through your team app or through direct messaging.
Always follow through when your employees reply and get them the tools they need. The insights from your frontline employees will open your eyes to your field operations. It also increases morale and productivity which ultimately leads to a high-performing workforce.
Mobile Workforce Technology Makes Information Accessible from Anywhere
With so many employees coming and going, it can be difficult to distribute important information to every one of them. The traditional office bulletin board won’t work with a distributed workforce. Employee software allows managers to communicate information in real time so all employees get the same message at once.
Managers can also use mobile workforce management software to share documents such as training information, safety guidelines, and job protocols. Aligning employees on standard operating procedures creates consistent customer service throughout an organization. And if a worker needs to reference a company policy or pull up a training manual, they can simply access it through the app’s document library on their workforce app.
Mobile Communication Tools Help Managers Excel as Leaders
The relationship between a manager and their team is undeniably important. For mobile workers, a manager is often the only person they are in touch with at the office. It’s the manager’s job to provide the tools and information employees need to do their jobs. This level of support allows managers to build trust with their teams.
Mobile workforce management software creates a strong connection between managers and employees, which often results in a more engaged workforce.
- Employees can give managers status updates directly from the field.
- Managers can instantly answer questions via voice messaging, video call, or chat.
- Managers can give their employees regular feedback in real time.
- Managers can — and should — use the app for employee recognition to boost morale.
Pro tip: Have manager-specific training sessions to show them the best ways to engage their teams.
Manage Logistics With Ease
Managing the scheduling, paperwork, and payroll for a large, dispersed workforce is a time-consuming task, not to mention tedious. Traditionally, each task had its own siloed data tank accessible only by the HR team. Mobile workforce management technology is changing that.
For 60 years, Sky Climber has specialized in work-at-height job sites, with mobile workforces hundreds of feet up. One of their latest ventures is Sky Climber Renewables, providing services for wind turbine repairs and maintenance.
With employees spread all over the United States, and way up high, Sky Climber Renewables connects with their field workers over Beekeeper. And the company’s HR team has been able to create a more efficient digital employee management system. Every employee goes through onboarding and training over Beekeeper. They also have access to all of the manuals, their personal data, and employee documents.
When managing a mobile workforce, Beekeeper’s platform:
- Creates a secure, single sign-on platform to manage all employee data
- Integrates with HR software that’s already in place, like ADP, Workday, and SAP Success Factors
- Has a Shift Schedules feature that allows companies to build their own shifts integration
- Integrates with Microsoft programs, like Azure AD, to synchronize secure user information
- Allows employees to access their information directly through the app
- Integrates with learning management systems like Coursepath for mobile-first employee training
Eliminate the Risk of Security Breaches When Managing a Mobile Workforce
92% of businesses are growing worried about the security risk mobile workers pose for their organization.
These fears are well-founded. Data breaches cost companies an average of $3.9 million a year, which breaks down to $153 for every stolen record. It also jeopardizes their information as well as their customers’, not to mention lost revenue once the breach becomes public.
Companies will sometimes make the mistake of allowing employees to use a consumer app for work communication. While these platforms have none of the features a company needs for effective internal communications, they’re also not designed to keep data secure.
Well-established mobile workforce management solutions will prioritize data security. Platforms like Beekeeper use a virtual private cloud and encrypted data storage, not to mention hiring a Data Protection Officer and cybersecurity specialist.
Your mobile workforce management is only as strong as your communication. Choose a digital platform dedicated to employees who are always on the move for your most engaged and effective mobile workforce yet.