Managing a Mobile Workforce Starts With Communication
Last updated on November 15, 2022 at 09:04 pm
Successfully managing a mobile workforce 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 unique pain points, needs, and expectations at work, so they 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. They 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 1.87 billion people.
Historically, a disproportionate amount of technology and resources are given to deskbound workers. Because most of their focus and resources go towards deskbound and not mobile workers, communicators continue to list the mobile workforce as an audience they struggle to reach.
But the tech 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 improves right along with it.
Challenges of Managing Mobile Workers
Not having the right technology to connect and communicate with mobile workers creates big challenges.
- Added pressure falls on people managers. It’s an age-old problem, isn’t it? Not all managers are great at communicating and leading people. We think this comes down to major gaps in training and ongoing comms support.
- You have to train people on new tools. The truth is, not everyone is a digital native who can pick up just about any tech and be an ace at it. You do need to invest the right time into training people on the new tool. Training should be a key part of your rollout plan to implement a good change management strategy.
- Mobile employees have different needs than deskbound workers. To successfully reach and support this key group, you will need to do your due diligence in getting to know this employee group and building out their persona.
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 to support 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 is vast. They cover everything from employee comms (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 comms 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 material in a binder.
For us, the secret is in the name: mobile workforce management. Mobile devices are the key—and since 97% of U.S. adults own a smartphone (Pew Research), the infrastructure is already there. You just need to tap into it.
Mobile Workforce FAQs
- What is a mobile workforce? This is when your employees are not bound by a central location. This would include factory workers, hospital staff, hotel workers, truckers, etc.
- What are some best practices for communicating with a mobile workforce? You have to meet your employees where they are, which isn’t behind a desk for this workforce. Mobile phones and mobile apps are a great tool for the mobile workforce because we are already used to getting information on our smartphones. We always recommend crafting messages best suited to the medium, including shorter pieces of written copy, more video and audio messages, and localizing messaging by enabling executive and field or line manager comms.
- How is mobile technology altering workplace communication? Historically, deskless or mobile workers have not had the same access to messages and resources that office workers do. Mobile technology has enabled companies to reach these employees through their mobile phones and BYOD (bring your own device) structures. This technology is also enabling a different way of communicating than traditional internal comms platforms like Intranets and Email. Mobile messaging is more accessible, appeals to all generations, and is optimized for multimedia content, which suits more learning styles.
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 key in MWM:
- Mobile, web, tablet, and desktop enabled for easy access
- Platform alerts & push notifications to break through the noise
- Document folders with easy search to help teams 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 way
- The ability to access content offline
- And more!
Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.
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