You've heard it before: Your employees are your biggest asset. They are your link to customers and your means to meeting company goals. But when you're managing a frontline mobile workforce, how can you be sure that employees you don't see every day ARE an asset? How do you make sure they have the information they need and are focused on the company's core values? The key is training.
Good training is how you control turnover, align work practices to company goals, and build strong leaders. Here are simple steps to create a training plan that will drive you down that road to success. Even if your employees are all driving in separate vehicles and along different routes, you can help make sure that they are all headed in the same direction.
Start with the big picture
When new employees join your mobile workforce team, show them the big picture before throwing them into specific tasks. Begin by describing the company's overall values and explaining their role in the company's overall goals. Be sure to define what success looks in their new job. This is your chance to be sure new employees understand the company's core values and goals, so everyone is focused on the same steps toward success.
Prioritize what new employees need to know first
Make a list of knowledge and skills that your employees need for success. Then sort the list from basic knowledge to more advanced skills that build on earlier training. This will help successfully onboard new employees by providing the most important knowledge first and helping them find success in their new role faster.
Include non-work routines when training new employees. They may need to know what to wear, how to log their time worked, where to look for pay and benefit information, how to request time off, or how to reach a coworker or manager when they have a question.
Helping new employees feel comfortable and confident from the start is a key to higher productivity and lower turnover. Once you've been through the cost of hiring, it's worth your time to make sure new employees stay.
Decide on the best methods for mobile training
Once you have your list of training, find the best ways to deliver it using a variety of methods. A mix of formats is ideal because people learn differently and will engage better when there is variety. Options include training videos, eLearning courses, over-the-shoulder training, and learning by observing.
Workforce enablement software that includes eLearning can be a great choice. eLearning may be the best resource for deskless workers' training, because it can be delivered to mobile devices and in a format that is familiar, such as on a phone or tablet. eLearning can take 40-60% less time than face-to-face training and boost retention by 25-60%. Check out our infographic, Time to Competency, which compiles more statistics and information from the Research Institute of America, The Brandon Hall Group, and other research firms.
With these systems, supervisors can create an employee profile and queue up training before onboarding a new employee. Then the new employee can sign in and begin training immediately. This takes the burden off supervisors and coworkers, and allows new employees more independence and flexibility to begin training as they come on board.
Using technology to provide training helps to standardize training, ensuring that each new hire gets all the information they need in a faster, more efficient way. These training methods can combine testing and game formats, engaging employees in a modern way. And because they can be accessed when and where the employee needs it, this is ideal for providing ongoing training and engagement to a mobile workforce.
According to a Forbes post, "The Future of Work" by Alexander Young, digital training is not only more cost-effective and scalable, it also leads to feelings of empowerment and improved focus within a team. That, in turn, can lead to higher employee success, satisfaction and retention.
Use trusted peers as mentors
Give your new employee a good model by assigning your best workers as peer trainers or mentors.
Peer trainers have a deep understanding of the work tasks, how to do them efficiently, and the problems that may come up when getting them done. Also, a peer mentor can give your new employee ongoing feedback and support.
With a mobile workforce, the key challenge here is communication. New employees need a reliable method to collaborate. They will feel more connected and be more engaged when they can communicate and share information, work collaboratively, and stay in touch, even when they're not standing side-by-side.
Set training goals
For new employees, the training plan should outline how long it will take to receive training, how long new employees should learn with a mentor, and when they are expected to handle tasks on their own. Having a flexible but engaging training plan will accelerate time to competency.
For existing employees, you can set training goals by looking for gaps in performance. Watch for areas where performance is falling short of expectations. Then find training in that area to boost performance.
Employee evaluations are also a good time to set training goals. Ask current employees what difficulties they face in their job and find training to help them. Also ask employees where they would like to work within the company in the future, and define training required to make that promotion or transfer possible. These trainings can be added to their queue for the coming year.
Workforce management system focuses on the big picture
Who has time to work on a training plan when you're so busy dealing with day-to-day problems, staffing shortages and poor work issues? You should, because good training will fix all those issues, and more.
But there's no reason to struggle with all the individual pieces separately. If you're looking for a system that pulls it all together, a mobile workforce management system may be your one-stop solution. It can provide employee training, corporate communications, and operational checklists in one system. And all in a self-serve, mobile format that employees and managers can access whenever they need it, from wherever they are.
For more information, check out out guide, The Mobile Workforce: Ramping up Your Organization for Success.