26 May 2021

Are you maximising the impact of your mobile workforce?

Lady working remotely at a laptop screen with People First on it

Gaining the visibility to increase efficiency and productivity

When all your employees are in the same place – head-office, factory floor, warehouse – it’s relatively easy to see how they’re deployed and maximise their productivity.  But when you’re highly dependent on mobile, remote, dispersed workers, how can you gain the visibility you need? 


Do better by seeing better 

We’re not talking about big brother making sure everyone is pulling their weight. It’s a question of enabling your mobile workforce to be an active and visible part of the organisation, recognised, understood, and valued for their contribution. And when you can see who’s doing what well, you can replicate the model. 

Historically, managing a mobile workforce has been the responsibility of a few specific roles in a small number of industries, where being on the road was an essential part of the job. Today, supporting dispersed employees – including those who were traditionally office-based – is a challenge for a wider selection of roles in many different organisations. 

82% of organisations intend to permit remote working some of the time as employees return to the workplace

And optimising resource planning and increasing efficiency across your mobile workforce – doing more with less – means addressing a number of barriers. 


What’s getting in your way 

Flying under the radar: when employees are off-site, they can often be off-radar, with limited means for checking-in. Lack of easy, mobile-first access to core business systems and collaboration tools leaves them flying solo. This can introduce significant delay while also diminishing visibility of any problems that employees may be encountering, hampering swift resolution. 

Data silence: many businesses lack HR insights to inform department and board level conversations and aid resource planning, particularly when employees are dispersed. Inaccessible people data – which is difficult to control – not only limits visibility, but also creates compliance risks.  

Yesterday’s tech: legacy HR systems and processes are not mobile-first. They’re often complex and time-consuming, and build excess cost into the operation. This is particularly true for organisations with large numbers of mobile workers who aren't able to manage their own records or interactions, placing an unnecessary admin burden on centralised HR teams.  

Confusing complexity: many HR systems have evolved in a piecemeal fashion, using add-ons to fill capability gaps or bolting on multiple different systems. The average large company now has 9.1 core talent applications, making it exceedingly difficult to get one clear picture of the truth. 

Too stiff to stretch: HR systems often lack the flexibility to respond to future changes in working practices, such as a greater number of mobile workers or a more transient/contingent employee base. 


Your five daily essentials 

To gain the increased visibility that supports resource planning, identifies issues early and optimises business outcomes, your HR system needs to do five key things, day in and day out. 

  1. Perform the fundamentals of workforce management, including analysing work time and activities while providing the analytics, proactive alerts, and easy-to-use dashboards that ensure issues can be identified and resolved quickly. 
  2. Keep people connected by providing visibility and easy communication within and between teams – wherever everyone is – to ensure that processes run smoothly and remote employees have the support that they need.
  3. Enable collaboration, bringing people together to pool expertise, solve problems and foster innovation.
  4. Provide recognition by recording the contribution of all individuals, so that their achievements can be recognised, shared and rewarded. 
  5. Identify skill gaps and cross-learning opportunities so that mobile employees can develop new skills which will benefit both themselves and the business. 


Pocket it 

These five essentials can only be achieved if you have a single database that gives HR teams and managers one, easily understood version of the truth. It’s vital for accessing the metrics they need to inform efficient resource planning. 

You also need a mobile-first design so that employees can access the system easily from a smartphone, delivering an entire HR system in their pocket. Your remote employees can then check-in, collaborate and solve problems on-the-job, avoiding unnecessary delays. 

Using an advanced-tech, mobile-first HR system like People First can dramatically improve visibility and insight across all employees (no matter how remote), enabling you to optimise resource planning and gain maximum impact from your valuable talent. 

Andy Davies

As an expert in human resources and a member of the CIPD, Andy is now responsible for developing the implementation strategy for People First partners. Passionate about the future of HR, employee engagement and performance management, Andy often writes and offers best practice advice on the need for archaic HR practices to evolve in order for organisations to stay relevant within the ever-changing world of work

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