Managing Mobile Workers is Employers' Biggest Challenge
You know your remote employees are working, you’re just not sure how much. Figuring out how to manage remote employees is their employers’ biggest concern, according to a new survey, which found that 54 percent of employees find managing their mobile work force a challenge.
Despite this concern, 26 percent cited employee satisfaction as a benefit of a mobile workforce, with another 25 percent saying it gives their company a competitive advantage.
The survey, conducted by Runzheimer International polled close to 100 executives – director-level and above – from a range of businesses across the U.S.
The survey also offers interesting contradictions that could indicate companies need to tighten management of mobile workforce programs. For example, most survey respondents (60 percent) believe their companies are effectively managing mobile workforce programs, but do not necessarily have measurement mechanisms in place. Thirty-three percent (33 percent) of these same respondents said they have not yet implemented formal, centralized processes that can be tracked or benchmarked over time.
Businesses define their mobile workforce programs as the use of mobile device use and business travel (the fasted growing programs) and virtual office/telecommuting and automobile programs/driving for work as steady/slow growth.
"The issues raised in the survey results highlight key considerations for companies as they contemplate future plans," said Greg Harper, president of Runzheimer International, a mobile workforce consulting firm. "Corporations need to look more deeply at the infrastructure supporting their mobile workforce and truly assess if perceptions match the actual processes and metrics that are in place. The biggest opportunities for improvement can be identified by asking employees and managers what is needed as well as using industry data to compare policies and costs."
- Develop corporate strategies for the coming year, a detailed review of mobile workforce programs should be on the agenda, including a close look at employee satisfaction, manager challenges, and cost/return-on-investment.
- Open lines of communication by asking questions related to what employees and managers like or dislike about current programs and what would increase productivity can go a long way toward increasing employee retention and promoting higher levels of customer service. Formalizing this process through an annual survey and employee reviews offers critical insight.
- Third party data that offers industry benchmarks on policy, costs and staff needed to support programs can offer valuable information. An organization may discover that the number of employees supporting a travel program is above a typical organization by 30 percent and steps should be taken to tighten policy and automate to reduce administration time. A comparison of business driver direct spend might reveal a spend 20 percent higher than the typical benchmark, which means an organization should revisit reimbursement policy.