The traditional approach to employee appraisals just doesn’t work when applied to a mobile workforce.
A yearly top-down meeting to assess performance and set future goals may be effective for a stable, office-based operation but not for the dynamic demands of managing teams of mobile workers.
Staying competitive in today’s environment requires finding more adaptive and reactive ways of assessing staff and maintaining the required performance standards. It also boosts productivity for the mobile workforce as a whole.
Here are some areas of mobile workforce appraisals to look at:
- Regular assessments
- Digital tools
- Two-way communications
- Realistic goals
- Flexible format
Instead of appraisals being a dreaded annual event, a more successful approach for a mobile work operation, is to make them part of a continual monitoring process.
The challenging and dynamic nature of mobile services means that any issues or inefficiencies need to be identified quickly and tackled immediately. With digital communications, it’s possible for managers to review performance on a weekly or monthly basis.
Integrating regular appraisals allows operations to be constantly fine-tuned with employees being set smaller and more achievable goals than is possible with an annual review.
Technology has a key role to play in helping businesses to make appraisals more of a process, rather than an occasional event. The use of cloud-based systems and GPS tracking provides managers with an easily accessible source of accurate data on employee performance.
Trying to manually collate this kind of information can be prohibitively time consuming when it’s done manually. By removing that admin burden, managers have the data they need to review performance.
It allows every aspect of mobile services to be assessed - from the time it takes to complete a task to the feedback ratings provided by customers and clients.
Instead of assessments being a dreaded ordeal in which employees feel judged from above, a better approach is to make them feel more of a two-way process.
The physical separation between managers and mobile workers makes it particularly important to provide ways for them to provide feedback from the ‘frontline’.
Allowing employees to raise issues helps to prevent frustrations from building up. A more collaborative approach also allows ideas and suggestions to be shared that can boost efficiency.
Badly managed assessments can have a damaging impact on employee morale. A commonplace cause of this is the setting of goals that workers perceive to be unrealistic.
Rather than setting targets based on the outcomes you would like, they should be based on what’s genuinely achievable. Judging this is tricky but it’s an area where digital performance data can act as a valuable tool.
It’s also important to guard against the potential risks that can be caused by employees pushing to meet targets. Goals should be achievable without employees having to compromise service quality or safety.
Traditionally, appraisals have involved employees attending a face-to-face interview in an office. With digital communications, however, there are now alternative methods to be considered.
The use of virtual conferencing systems can help to integrate regular appraisals into mobile workers’ workflow. There are also a range of social media style systems designed for the workplace, such as Slack and Workplace, which allow real-time text or voice chats.
There are also management tools such as Trello which provide visual ways for managers to easily set and track targets for a mobile workforce.