How to Effectively Manage Frontline Staff

Managing a mobile workforce can be challenging because of the shoddy lines of communication. The key to effectively managing a workforce on-the-move is to use a combination of good communication practices and the right software tools. This blog outlines the three ways to effectively manage frontline staff keeping these two methods in mind.

When you manage a group of frontline, mobile or on-the-ground employees, you encounter a set of problems unique to remote working conditions. You are hindered by disjointed and delayed lines of communication, you have a lack of clarity over your ‘mobile’ staff’s activities leading to the wrongful assessment of their performance and disgruntled clients, meanwhile your staff is also disadvantaged because they are unable to share regular updates or report incidents if and when the need arises, for eg. if they encounter extenuating circumstances.

Technology can help us improve management

With the advent of smartphone technology and mobile-first software solutions, these bottleneck conditions need not be a concern today. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, ‘effective communication strengthens the connections between a company and all of its stakeholders and benefits businesses.’ Meanwhile, Salesforce experts believe ‘when you communicate with people in your organization more effectively, you’re more aware of potential problems and better able to implement solutions.’

Extrapolating the need for communication in any business setting, the same principle can be applied to improve mobile workforce management. Through the use of the appropriate communication tools and the implementation of communication best practices, mobile workforce management can be improved significantly.

Here are three tips to harnessing good communication practices to manage mobile workers better:

1. Offer clarity to mobile workers: clearly define employee objective

If you expect your mobile workers to perform according to your and your clients’ expectations, then you need to convey what these expectations are to your employees. You should offer your frontline employees readily-available information outlining their daily tasks as well as set their daily, quarterly or annual objectives. With these definitions ironed out, your employees will have more clarity on what they have to do.

Employing this tactic will lead to greater employee engagement and allow for easier accountability tracking on your end. A grave concern of mobile workers is that they often feel disengaged with their work, but giving clear instructions will guide them in their day-to-day. If you can offer insight to the greater span of things, i.e. how their ‘remote’ activity lends to the overall departmental and organizational goals, then your employees will be that much richer for it.

2. Instill a company-wide communication culture: Empower your employees to offer regular updates and share them with company-wide stakeholders

While you set clear goals for your employees, you also need to encourage your employees to adopt transparent communication practices. This means giving your mobile staff easy-to-use tools to convey information more readily. Through the use of a good mobile workforce management software that has nifty features such as real-time incident reporting or ‘daily activity report’ creation, your employees will be able to communicate on a regular basis.

You will be able to use your employees’ activity information to prepare data-driven reports for clients and other C-suite executives to aid in their business decision-making process.

3. Use a central communication tool

After adopting sound communication strategies in your firm, the next step is to define the communication channels that permit the flow of information. You shouldn’t have to navigate through several communication media to sift through your mobile workers’ communications. Through the use of a centralized communication tool with appropriate communication protocol measures, you will be able to remedy this dispersed information problem.

Today’s connected climate expects more

In this age of information, businesses are waking up to realize that technology is not only helping us to push our innovation boundaries but are also setting new standards for client expectations. Clients expect to be in-the-know constantly and it’s deemed unthinkable to be unresponsive or delay communication.

In order to be able to meet these lofty expectations or exceed them, you have to start with effective flow of information between the back-end of the operations to the front-end of your operations and vice versa.