Enabling Today’s Mobile Workforce
The need to hire and retain qualified workers is growing steadily more intense—and so is the pressure on your organization to develop and deploy a practical mobile workforce strategy. Whether you’re a small start-up, a multinational corporation, or a government agency, the chances are your employees expect to carry out their jobs with at least some of the flexibility they enjoy as consumers. Are you ready?
There’s more at stake than implementing a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy and setting up an IT infrastructure and security policies to support it. In today’s environments, you need to consider the services, support and user experience you deliver to mobile employees. You also need to think about the way you monitor, manage and measure performance in a mobile environment. In this era of digital transformation, you must still help ensure your organization’s mobile strategy aligns with its business goals. Here are some best practices that can help:
1. Assess where mobile makes sense. The key benefits of mobile-enabling your workforce tend to center around increasing staff productivity, satisfaction and effectiveness. But not all functions or positions may lend themselves to a mobile strategy. While it may make good business sense to mobile-enable your customer service representatives and other knowledge workers, the case may be less clear-cut for very specialized functions.
Although the sky is the limit in terms of the types and numbers of devices your employees may want to use, do the devices make sense for your business? Be wary of devices that you can’t manage remotely. You don’t want to abdicate control when employees use their own devices and networks to store and transmit company data. As an employer, your legal obligations to maintain data privacy don’t go away when employees use their own devices. This is especially true in finance and healthcare, where the Graham Leach Bliley Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA ) Security Rule, and other regulations regulate the types of data you can collect, store and use.
2. Make information readily available. Knowledge management (KM) systems can play a vital role in the mobile-enabled organization by providing employees with fast access to critical information. This is especially important for helping ensure the consistency and quality of information you deliver. KM systems offer powerful capabilities for search that can incorporate intelligence, context, dynamic taxonomies and a variety of ways to filter information.
Advanced KM systems allow searches via keywords, natural language, Boolean queries and parametric inputs, but also provide browse trees, bookmarks, guided process flows and contextual knowledge. As a result, users can find knowledge in a way that suits their needs. Contextual information, such as user-type and location, can filter searches and provide personalized results. Context-based search can even be triggered automatically to offer staff the right information at the right time, often without the need to type a search query.
3. Consider the user experience. The days of designing applications for desktop systems and treating mobile as an afterthought are over. Savvy organizations design for mobile first but deliver a continuous, consistent user experience, even if employees initiate contact in one channel and complete it in another.
Consider providing your employees with self-service through mobile apps. Look for solutions that can enable you to launch self-branded apps for tasks important to your employees, such as requesting vacation time or reporting an issue, right from their mobile devices. With live chat optimized for mobile devices, you can deliver real-time service to employees anywhere. It’s especially helpful for offering additional assistance when employees just need a little extra guidance or information. Blending social media elements with KM software may even help employees engage and communicate more effectively, since social elements have become second nature to many.
4. Don’t overlook the basics. As an employer, you need to be able to monitor and measure the performance of your mobile employees as effectively as you would for a traditional workforce.
Workforce optimization solutions can enable your managers and employees to access and perform a variety of activities from their mobile devices, such as reviewing key performance indicator (KPI) scores by business objective, comparing performance against peers and goals, and monitoring KPI trends over time. Managers can take quick action on employee requests, schedules and performance, without the need to be physically present in the office. Other useful capabilities include calendars that enable supervisors and employees to view daily and weekly schedules, as well as time-off request features that enable employees to submit, edit, wait-list and withdraw time-off requests. Managers can approve, deny, edit or waitlist the requests—all without the need for a computer and an Internet connection.
5. Solicit employee feedback. One of the most important aspects of mobile-enabling your workforce is to continually solicit and evaluate feedback. Enterprise feedback management solutions offer an immediate, convenient way to collect feedback from employees at the point of experience, through their preferred channels. Whether online or offline, or via web, email or SMS, these solutions can give you fast feedback from mobile surveys rendered in device-friendly formats. Look for solutions that provide detailed reporting and offer security features for data protection. By putting real-time information right at your fingertips, these solutions can help you make informed decisions quickly in the dynamic mobile environment.
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