As of 2014, more than 3.5 million people in the U.S alone identify as teleworkers and work remotely from their office.
Keeping the field team connected becomes more important as your workforce matures and more employees approach retirement age. Maintaining an effective connection with the team may be attributed to establishing a culture and a semblance of continuity that permeates throughout the hierarchy of the entire organization. Provide the team with continued learning, reliable data and knowledge on best practices and they’ll deliver far more value in accordance with the organization’s vision.
Build a Foundation for the Team
Finding a way to retain the most competent employees with the most expertise should be one of the top priorities. It’s also important to utilize the technology that can help you capture and distribute vital information on best practices to the field team. Focus on building a bridge between the knowledge of the senior staff with the upcoming wave of team members in the field. The field team should not be left to feel as though they are out on an island alone. A solution like SimpliField allows to share best practices between all teams, from HQ to Store Managers.
Get Better Oriented with the Team
You can accomplish these priorities by measuring the field team’s engagement frequently and training mentors and coaches to pass their knowledge down. Understand how different types of incentives resonate with individual team members in order to avoid low productivity or high turnover rates. Understanding how to motivate field team members is vital to retaining them long-term. In an attempt to be proactive about identifying and mitigating potential liabilities, many best-in-class organizations monitor the engagement of their field teams so they may act accordingly.
Provide the team with continued learning, reliable data and knowledge on best practices and they'll deliver far more value in accordance with the organization's vision.
Assess Potential Headwinds for the Team
Identify the top field workers working with the organization and how to motivate them to assist with training the next wave of incoming employees. Under-performing organizations typically struggle with identifying who their top field team members are. This makes it difficult knowing who to retain or who to empower to help the rest of the organization to excel. Mentoring programs are one of the most effective ways to ensure that field team members and upper management are well connected. Potential issues to be aware of between managing office workers and a field team include resentment, distrust, misunderstandings and miscommunication.
Improve Connections with the Field
Stanford researchers found that teams are more motivated when working towards a common goal together than when handling things separately as individuals. Granting the field team access to enterprise software from their remote location makes them feel more like a part of the organization. Using intranet to ensure team members can access updated documents from their own smartphone or tablet is also very effective. Utilizing video calls and conference calls helps mitigate a lot of the misunderstandings, distrust and miscommunication that can occur between the home-office and field team.
Support Field Connections with Corporate Culture
Establishing a corporate or team charter can help keep disparate teams together on the same page and working towards a common goal. With a charter, all parties involved will be aware of the roles, tasks, responsibilities and behavior that is expected. Creating a common point reference that is accessible to everyone helps instill a culture that is everlasting, regardless of the time or distance away from the office. The field team also needs to have the ability to sync their devices so they can remain updated with any recent changes made from headquarters. With everyone operating on the same model, collaborating becomes much easier and far more effective.
According to the Field Service 2016 Report, managing field teams successfully hinges on fulfilling multiple priorities, including cutting costs, recruiting, investing in tech to support field work and improving efficiency. The field team usually has the most direct contact and impact on customers’ perceptions, and consumers’ expectations of the service industry are on the rise. As of 2016, four out of ten service organizations now want to increase customer engagement, so improving the connection with the field team has become more important than ever.
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