Does a larger part of your organization work away from you, and each other?
As a field operations manager, you’re in a unique position because your team doesn’t work remotely out of choice, but because their work demands so. Moreover, they don’t even stay put in one place throughout the day, making things tougher for you!
Business goals paired with human dissatisfaction and weak communication pose huge challenges for you, don’t they?
So, to solve all those problems we have listed seven strategies to better manage your field employees and increase operational output in your field operations teams! Continue reading to find the best solutions through field force management software and other automation tools.
Mistakes to Avoid When Managing a Team of Field Employees
Regardless of how effective of an in-office manager you are, things can get pretty complicated when you’re managing field employees. After all, more than managing business goals, the primary problem lies in managing people from a distance.
To increase productivity or stay in control, managers often make some of the following mistakes. They might seem small but can make or break your field-based teams’ outputs and morale.
Making Them Feel Disconnected
On a general level, field employees tend to be disconnected from the entire sense of a team. However, when you’re working in a hybrid model where some of your employees have to run around in the field and some stay put in the office, the problem only worsens.
Executives in the office tend to be in better touch with each other and with their managers. Field employees, on the other hand, are a part of the team, but hardly get to communicate and connect with the team.
In the fast-paced and dynamic nature of your field employee’s work, it’s easy for field employees to feel alone and isolated in their job. This can lead to miscommunication or a looming negative perception of the management. All this, in return, can lead to field employees rebelling, being dissatisfied with their job, or not meeting their goals.
Not Setting Clear Expectations
Building on the previous point, communication can be a huge challenge while managing field employees. Both managers and executives struggle to set clear boundaries and chart the expectations of the team and individuals.
The problem arises when expectations are not set in stone but still exist. Therefore, it is up to the executives to guess what managers want from them and then live up to those standards. Understandably, that can brew a lot of negativity and can be taxing on the employees, while also costing you business.
Not Outlining Company Values With Them
As long as the goals are being met and field employees are doing their share, they don’t need to know what the company stands for, right?
Field employees are often the primary representatives of your company to your target clientele. Be it a sales executive, after-sales executive, or even a retail store employee, it is them who interact with customers, not the senior management. If they are oblivious to the company’s values, they will not translate the passion to the clients.
For example, Decathlon has a very strong brand value of promoting sustainability and sports in society at large. All their employees are very aware of this vision, and it shows in the way the sales representatives interact with customers and maintain their stores.
Micromanaging employees or helicopter-parenting them is a common practice when managers cannot see them working in person. However, micromanaging makes employees, especially when they work in the field, feel untrusted and subdued. Naturally, putting your employees in such a headspace is not going to get you many benefits.
Not Paying Attention to Their Activity
While micromanaging is not the way to go, neither is not looking into their work at all. After all, people are prone to sinning and will steal time from you if they do not feel the need to be accountable. This way makes profits and productivity suffer like nothing before.
At the end of the day, you need to strike a balance between monitoring field executives’ activities and avoiding being a CCTV aunty!
Setting Unrealistic Goals
Sure, while not seeing people conduct tasks in person, it is hard for field operations managers to know just how much time and effort it takes to conduct specific tasks. Resultingly, it is common for them to set unrealistic goals for their team of field executives. However, that is extremely detrimental to your team’s productivity.
Because setting unrealistic goals will make employees lose morale and keep them stressed about meeting impossible deadlines. This will lead to more frequent burnouts, making your team’s employee turnover skyrocket, and you lose business and the company environment goodwill you’d need to hire new talent.
How To Make Sure Your Field Employees Are Staying On Track? Workforce Management Software
When nobody is close and you’re responsible for keeping every field employee on track, it is hard to manage everything manually. The more the number of people in your team, the more complexity in tracking and managing, and keeping everyone’s productivity at a maximum.
Some problems you’re sure to feel while managing a team manually are:
Maintaining accurate timesheets and attendance records
Managing ad-hoc tasks and allotting the right work to the right people
Tracking the field expense reimbursements you’ve to make to employees
Maintaining a smooth workflow and communication between employees
The list can go on.
And the one-stop solution to all these problems is Field Force Management Software. While the purpose of the software is to automate field tasks, even if you’re only interested in tracking and maintaining records, it’ll come in handy to you.
With solutions such as leave and attendance management, task management, expense records, digital documentation, and analytical reports, you’ll feel a lot of your burden lessened. Wondering how? We’ve dedicated an entire section to discussing how you can strategize to keep your field employees on track with field force management software!
Tips To Manage Your Field-based Team And Improve Your Operations: How Field Force Management Software Helps
By now you know the things youshouldn’tdo to keep productivity from falling. Now let us discuss the thingsshoulddo to keep productivity at an all-time-max in your organization!
Here are some tips to manage your field-based team with aid from workforce management software.
Make Them Feel Connected With Proper Communication Tools
The job description of a field employee might as well include – lonely workday management. Therefore, making sure that your field employees do not feel isolated at their job should be your number one goal as a field operations manager.
To make sure that your field employees can feel as connected with the organization and their team as they have to be with the clients, make sure to:
Use TrackoField’s chatboxes to constantly stay in touch with employees
Resolve all their problems as and when they come to make them feel supported
Engage with them through regular team meetings
Use TrackoField’s announcement feature to keep them posted or motivated
Maintain Task, and Locational Transparency with Accurate Monitoring
Knowing where each field employee is and how their tasks are coming along is crucial for you. After all, how would you know if work is being done and who is closest to an ad-hoc task site?
However, you cannot keep calling employees to know their whereabouts, can you?
This is where field force management software comes in. It allows you to track tasks and locations without making the employees feel like they are constantly under strict surveillance3. However, knowing that their locations and tasks are transparent will also help them stay accountable and vigilant to not waste time on the field.
Skip Micromanaging Tasks by Pre-assigning
It’s time to break the habit of assigning the day’s work in the morning and then keeping an active eye on employees throughout the day. If you keep doing that, when will you get the time to read blogs like these and strategise?
Field force management software like TrackoField let you let go of micromanaging and gives you more time for managerial tasks by letting you pre-assign tasks. Therefore, you can plan in advance and assign all tasks to all employees a week in advance. After that, let them do things at their pace and in their own way. All you have to do now is manage the ad-hoc tasks!
Make Use of Alerts to Encourage Response, not Reaction
Transparency and open communication are two great ways to keep your team connected, motivated, and on track. If you want to stay in control while macromanaging your team, keep tracking everything through the system and set alarms and alerts for emergency issues.
This way, when a blunder happens, you will know as and when the problem needs to be addressed. Not when the problem has had a butterfly effect and disrupted other operations as well. When you know what to address when the problem arises, you can respond to the situation and manage it effectively instead of reacting to it.
Monitor Them Without Hovering By Complete Data Collection
As mentioned before, both helicopter parenting and careless management are not acceptable in field services. Therefore, through afield employee management software, you can accurately collect all the data you need to stay in the know.
The best thing about such software is that you do not have to sit through masses of boring data. Instead, it will present reports in bite-sized formats for you to easily digest!
Give Accurate Feedback through Personalised Performance Analysis
Employee training is important. Most important. Especially in the dynamic world of field operations. According to studies,37% of employees leave their jobswhen they do not feel like they’re learning anything or growing professionally.
You must frequently offer feedback and conduct training programs. However, general training and feedback might not work for experienced employees. Therefore, you must leverage data from field force management software.
Get dedicated performance reports for each employee
Learn about their weaknesses and strengths
Offer constructive feedback that is personally directed towards them, not just the team as a whole
Conduct training programs that help employees hone their skills and fill the gaps evident from their performance
You can also use these reports to strategically assign the perfect task for each employee according to their strengths and experience.
Set Achievable Goals By Analysing Them Full Capacities
With software aid, you can look at tasks not from just the ground level, but also a bird’s eye view. Therefore, even if goals are not met, you can understand why that is and how you can meet those gaps.
You should also use performance reports to understand your team’s full capacity and only assign goals and tasks accordingly. If the data shows you that everyone has their hands full, do not overburden them with unrealistic goals that might make them feel overwhelmed and dissatisfied.
TrackoField Will Make Your Field Operations Easy-breezy
The best strategy to manage your field employees and maintain full productivity in the team is trusting them. You should not hand-hold your employees or micromanage them, and you will see them shine!
This is why you should offer your team the right tools and let them take care of the rest. You could either opt for a variety of tools or get a one-stop solution for all your field-related work – TrackoField!
Get in touch with us to discuss the issues you face with your field operations
Ayushi Nagalia is a Senior Content Specialist at TrackoBit. She is passionate about music, writing, and reading. When not abusing her keyboard, you will find her lost in her playlists or organizing things.
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