Workforce Management Feature Article
November 06, 2012
Embracing Workforce Management to Support the Mobile Workforce
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
A focus in customer service has long been meeting customers where they are, whether that means physically arriving in their building or understanding their current problem. Today, employees are becoming even more mobile. Sales professionals are no longer the only ones able to pound the pavement to achieve common goals. To embrace an increasingly mobile employee base, businesses may need to consider the benefits of workforce management.
A recent Forbes article highlighted this trend, pointing out that 1.3 billion people already work completely away from a desk. While such flexibility may be liberating for the busy professional, it can be a challenge for administrators and managers trying to keep track of all individuals and their activities. Plus, employees want more flexibility and a better balance between work and home. Workforce management solutions help to balance productivity with this desired flexibility.
This type of environment is not for the micro-manager, one who wants to keep tabs on everyone, every activity and every minute of the day. Yes, workforce management solutions can help with tracking, monitoring and information, but it also helps to create an environment of collaboration. Managers must be able to relinquish some of their control and instead create a culture of creativity, teamwork, productivity and even excitement for the bigger picture.
With the technological enhancements available with workforce management solutions, information is more readily shared, decisions more easily communicated and projects benefit from easier collaboration. It’s not as simple as just handing over the devices, however. An effective virtual manager takes advantage of the tools available to enable optimal performance from his or her team, regardless of their location.
The manager can lead by example, performing to the same standards he or she expects of the team. This requires that the manager become engaged with individual employees, relying on more than the workforce management interface to communicate activities, progress and successes. If clear goals and expectations are set early and managed effectively over time, the organization as a whole is on a better course to enjoy the benefits.
It’s also important that all employees embrace the flexible lifestyle, and for some that may not come naturally. Managers must be able to provide the necessary support and communication to the virtual team, while also serving as the liaison between the employee and upper level management. Reports generated through workforce management platforms can help provide a true picture of performance, allowing managers to work with those who are struggling before inconsistencies or issues become bigger problems.
The mobility experienced in society today is still on an uptick, driving more and more companies to explore the options available to them in a mobile workforce. When implementing any type of change to the dynamics within the employee base, adopting the right tools to support that change only brings positive benefits.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli