How to Use Mobile Technology to Effectively Engage Deskless Workers

The exodus of non-desk workers is forcing employers to pay attention and understand the needs of their workers. While many companies have begun to understand the needs of their employees, employees continue to leave. To understand where employers are failing when it comes to deskless workers, Workforce Software recently conducted a study. Check out the gist here.

As desk and non-desk workers began leaving in droves last year, organizations around the world began taking several steps to improve employee experience and retention. Many companies are assessing the often overlooked needs of their employees, especially shift workers. Yet employees continue to quit their jobs in search of better opportunities, leaving employers without the talent necessary to support their operations. So, where have employers failed?

To understand the perception gap between employers and employees regarding the latter’s needs, Workforce Software recently conducted a study. A key finding of the study is that there are significant differences in the views of managers and shift workers on how organizations operate, hire, retain and attract talent.

Below are details on some key takeaways.

see more: 63% of deskless workers feel more connected to getting additional training

A new gap between education and execution is emerging

compared to Previous year, this year’s research revealed a new gap between education and execution. While organizations have a better understanding of employee needs, they are lagging in taking action.

When it comes to job training, despite the growing number of digital natives in the workforce, companies are underutilizing mobile technology to engage employees. Compared with last year, more employees agree that their companies provide appropriate training and information to help them do their jobs. However, there is a disconnect between the way companies disseminate information and employees’ preferences for mobile training options.

When it comes to scheduling, many deskless workers prefer a schedule that is flexible, predictable, and easily accessible because it provides stability to their lives. Outdated and unreliable scheduling methods create a solid barrier between managers and their reports. For a better work/life balance, employees prefer processes that can be accessed from any device.

Because deskless workers vary in a wide range of expertise and skills, one-size-fits-all compensation cannot be considered. Organizations can consider task-based payments to attract and motivate employees. Employers who acknowledge this may recognize the benefits of scheduling shifts based on employee capabilities, knowledge, and equipment gaps, rather than traditional compensation practices.

Frontline workers have long been under intense pressure to run their businesses smoothly. Recognizing and celebrating efforts is critical to supporting these employees while reducing the risk of burnout.

Gaps in employee feedback and communication are evident

Companies can’t communicate the value of their employees through recognition alone. Employees want their voices heard, especially when critical decisions are being made. Some 74% of employees said they would prefer to work for a company that regularly solicits feedback over one that does not. Some 74% of employees also said it was important to regularly solicit feedback, while 61% of employers agreed.

When it comes to communication, smartphones are essential for most employees to manage their daily lives. Companies are increasingly using mobile devices to connect with workers in the field, on the assembly line or elsewhere. According to the study, employers and employees communicate more or less the same way (60% of employers vs. 65% of employees). That said, many employees still feel they don’t have the right tools to communicate and collaborate with managers and colleagues.

Communicate smarter, not louder

One way to effectively bridge this gap is to communicate smarter. Traditional communication structures can be tricky for deskless workers, who often don’t have access to their desktop or corporate email. In addition to being susceptible to miscommunication, these systems fail to ensure that shift workers receive, understand, and act on information.

Intelligent communication enables meaningful interactions between employees and their colleagues that are integrated into the workflow. In today’s work environment, companies need solutions that transcend hierarchies and engage frontline workers.

A single mobile application can be designed to communicate intelligently in real time, leveraging data, analytics and automation. It can provide a personalized experience in the workflow, while giving managers a deeper understanding of the workplace. By bridging the gap between business goals and employee needs, intelligent communications can create a connected workplace that can predict, adapt and implement change.

According to the study, 45% of employees prefer to use a single mobile app to communicate and collaborate with their managers and team members, while only 14% use company-approved apps.

key points

Here are the key takeaways for organizations to reduce the deskless employee experience gap.

  • Actively manage and engage today’s digital native workforce using mobile technologies

according to a Study at Citrix, by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be digital natives. Additionally, managing their personal lives is almost unthinkable for today’s workforce. They need mobile apps to communicate, shop and be entertained. Why should the job of managing them be different? Workplace-related mobile apps can help employees stay abreast of key information, collaborate with colleagues, access training, manage schedules, and provide feedback. At the same time, these apps can help managers better understand the needs of their teams and act on them in real time.

  • Promote work-life balance with predictive and flexible scheduling

Today’s workers want to feel that their organization is investing in their work and their well-being. This requires processes that are responsive, collaborative and adaptable to change. Predictable and flexible scheduling provides benefits such as increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, increased job satisfaction and better engagement, resulting in happy, productive and committed employees. Organizations can leverage modern workforce management software, especially mobile apps, to achieve predictive and flexible scheduling goals.

see more: 3 Communication Strategies to Engage Your Deskless Workers

  • Leverage real-time data and feedback loops to drive operational improvements

While the pandemic has brought deskless and frontline workers into the mainstream conversation, they don’t have to wait for another crisis to be prioritized by their organizations. Looking back at past and this year’s research, it’s clear that employees and managers mutually benefit when channels of awareness, communication, and understanding are open. To keep pace with a changing workforce, reduce the time between feedback and implementing change, and improve business performance, companies need channels to effectively connect with employees and understand their needs.

Modern workforce technology can connect employees and managers on a human level. Real-time data and analytics provide insight into employee performance and provide managers with opportunities to connect, support, and celebrate employees. These platforms can leverage real-time employee feedback and support companies in adapting to the changing workforce landscape.

Organizations have listened—now is the time to act

Mass resignations and a war for talent are forcing companies to focus on the needs of deskless workers. Companies are finally starting to focus on the work that employees need to be involved in. While today’s managers are more aligned with their employees, there are still gaps in implementing processes. Given that implementing the right workforce management processes and technology can improve productivity, engagement, and happiness at work, now is the time to act.

What are you doing to improve the engagement and retention of your deskless workforce?share with us Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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