For managers, motivating mobile workers can be a real issue.
How do you build and maintain morale with employees who spend a significant chunk of their time out in the field? How do you prevent frustrations and resentment from the building?
Trying to meet tight deadlines while negotiating Britain’s congested roads isn’t always a barrel of laughs for mobile workers. In fact, it’s more likely to be a stressful slog as they try to meet expectations from above and below.
The consequence of poorly motivated workers can stifle a business. It fuels poor performance, causes staff churnover, increases absenteeism, affects mobile workforce productivity and raises the likelihood of customer/client complaints.
5 ways of motivating mobile workers:
- Combat 'us and them' attitudes
- Provide rewards and incentives
- Give them more control
- Share the bigger picture
- Small gestures, big impact
1) Combat ‘us and them’ attitudes
One of the most common causes of demotivated mobile workers is as a consequence of ‘us and them’ attitudes. It’s the frustration and resentment that can build when mobile workers feel cut off from management decisions.
To counteract this, companies need to be proactive in making sure that mobile workers are kept ‘in the loop’. This could be regular scheduled meetings/contacts or with social events to bring employees together.
One way some companies are now trying to tackle this problem is with business orientated social media services such as Chatter and Facebook at Work for work chat and communication.
2) Provide rewards and incentives
With more companies using mobile workforce management systems, managers now have access to a wealth of accurate data on the performance of each employee. This information can be used to create incentives and rewards which help keep workers motivated.
These could be based on how efficiently they work or on the ratings they receive from customers and clients. Rewards can be anything from financial bonuses to a simple message of appreciation for good work.
One approach is to create a company awards night with best-performing employees in different categories receiving rewards. By turning it into a social event, it helps to incentivise all attendees.
3) Give them more control
A common cause of stressed and demotivated mobile workers is a feeling that they have no control over what they’re doing. With little say over their work routines and schedules, employees are liable to feel unappreciated and untrusted.
With the work of mobile workers now able to be monitored in real-time via digital systems, managers have the peace of mind needed to delegate more responsibilities to mobile workers.
It means that employees can be given more say over exactly how they meet targets. It gives workers the flexibility to find ways of working more suited to their individual preferences.
4) Share the bigger picture
Employees aren’t going to be jumping for joy at every decision made by management. But what’s important is that they’re able to understand why decisions are made - even if they disagree with them.
By keeping employees informed of the bigger picture, the long-term company strategies and goals, they’re better able to understand and accept any changes being made.
The more employees can feel part of a collaborative process, the less likely they are to resent whatever decisions are coming from above.
5) Small gestures, big impact
Something that mobile workers are prone to miss out on is those little things that office-based workers take for granted. It’s the cakes and chocolates brought in for somebody’s birthday or a card for a birth or any special occasion.
This kind of small gestures, things which acknowledge an employee has a life away from work, can have a big impact on raising morale and boosting motivation. Keeping a record of birthdays and significant events is a good way to keep tabs.
So while mobile working is never going to be a stress-free job, there are practical ways for motivating mobile workers. By understanding the symptoms of frustrated and unhappy workers, you can start to tackle the causes.
Here's why you should manage your mobile workers in real-time.