When a small business invests in mobile tracking software, it needs to bring its workers along for the ride.
Mobile workforce management software allows managers to track their mobile employees’ every move. While this is good for overall job efficiency and business productivity, it may leave some mobile workers feeling vulnerable. They could believe the boss is looking over their shoulder all day … and possibly all night, too.
The key to convincing staff that mobile tracking technology is good for them is firstly addressing their underlying fears and emotions, says business resilience expert Andrew Hughes. The most common emotional response they will have in this situation, he says, is to feel threatened or that they are not being respected or trusted.
“When you introduce any change, and especially when you’re introducing any automation or innovative process, you have to first communicate [to staff] in a way that enhances their sense of significance or enhances their sense of autonomy.”
Hughes says managers looking to bring in any work change need to convince staff that they are still valued, and that the new technology is only there to help them work a bit smarter. “You can beef up their sense of significance and how important they are to the business,” he says.
For employees who enjoy their work, Hughes says it will make them feel like they are making more of a contribution. “[For them] it’s not about profit … it’s about serving customers, making people’s lives better.”
The other factor in winning over mobile workers with any new technology is making them feel like they are part of a team that is in this together. “People love to be part of the group, they generally like to be connected,” Hughes says. “We all want to be part of something.”
Ken Mackay is the manager of Christchurch-based Appliance Pros. The company, which installs, repairs and services whitegoods in New Zealand’s Canterbury district, has five mobile workers, including Mackay himself.
Mackay says the team was very relaxed about using the company’s choice of mobile job management software, GeoOp. “As long as they’re getting their work done in a timely manner, we’re not pointing fingers or anything like that,” he says. “I don’t believe the boys feel like they’re being watched 24/7.”
He says Appliance Pros didn’t need to “sell” the technology to its employees. Technology that tracks jobs and schedules is now just a fact of life for anyone who works on the road, he says. “The boys appreciate that they’ve got the vehicle to use, and after hours, and I don’t think it’s a bother,” he says. “It’s certainly not a bother for me.”
Peter Gearin writes small business technology articles for the GeoOp website. He is a former assistant editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald.
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