The structure of today’s workplace is very different from how it used to be many years back. Today, the workplace has evolved. Although there are those who are still working in the physical office, many have already explored other locations. Given that the geographical barriers are diminishing thanks to technology, businesses are now more widespread and no longer confined to one area.
This is how the term ‘field employees’ was coined. As its name implies, field employees are those who are working on location instead of the main office. When managed well, these field employees play a key role in ensuring that the business operations stay smooth, efficient, and productive.
In this article, you’ll learn more about four strategies that will help you better manage your field employees.
1. Get The Right Tools For The Job
It’s because of technology that today’s workplace continues to evolve. So, it also follows that you also need to get the right tools for the job to manage your field employees well. This begins with investing in the right field activity management software, among many other tech tools.
When you have an effective field activity management software, your workflow will be more smooth and team members will be more productive. You’ll enjoy the ease of communication and promote accountability, since managers and field employees can now talk to each other and share records and documents even when the field employees are away.
The increasing number of field employees has also resulted in the continuously growing number of management systems and software. However, not all of these are equally effective, as some systems are superior to others. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to settle for anything less than the best for your business.
With that in mind, here are a few tips you can apply in choosing the best field service software.
- Understand and enumerate what your business needs are so you can check if the features of the field management software can help solve the problems you have in your business operations;
- Evaluate the after-sales reports, as you’ll be signing up to the field activity management software permanently. This means that should you have any problems within your contract period, you should know whom to reach out to from the provider’s side to solve your software issues;
- Make inquiries about the latest technology, just so you’re also certain that your chosen software is making use of the best technological advancements available.
2. Trust Your Field Employees And Give Them Space
If you’ve heard of the term ‘helicopter parenting,’ you should know that this can happen in the workplace as well. There are so many managers who still follow outdated standards of micromanaging, feeling as if they need to have control over every single movement and decision of the employees. However, when it comes to field employees, micromanaging usually does more harm than good. Therefore, you need to trust your field employees and give them space.
This process can be as simple as relying enough on the hiring process and the attributes that qualified the employee to work in your company. After all, you didn’t just hire random people to be a part of your team. You know you have a strong set of qualifications and standards. So, when an employee is hired, try to trust them. After all, since they’ve made it through the hiring process, you’ve recognized their potential to deliver quality services.
When the employees are out in the field, give them the freedom to deliver and do their job, as long as their actions are still within company rules and regulations. This gives your field employees more confidence that they can actually perform well. Subsequently, this boost in confidence can lead to better results.
The only time you should step in is when there are obvious errors committed by the field employees while they’re away. This way, you can solve those mistakes before they become second nature to the field employees, mistakenly thinking that they’re still doing their job properly.
3. Set Clear Expectations
Giving your field employees ample freedom to do their job on their own doesn’t mean that you’re leaving them completely to their own devices. At the start of each day, you should communicate with your field employees what your expectations are for their job. When you’re able to clearly set those expectations, you’ll prevent your field employees from underperforming. It’ll be difficult for them to complete their tasks when they don’t know how to go about their job or what they should be able to finish and comply with within the day.
When the manager and the field employees have a shared vision by clearly setting their expectations, every member in the team is empowered and there’s less confusion. This entails mastering a few steps, such as the following:
- Always start by informing your field employees how their contribution matters. This way, they won’t feel like they can slack off because their tasks matter less than those of the employees in the physical office;
- Emphasize the objectives clearly by keeping them small and manageable. Break down your field employees’ tasks into daily or weekly objectives so it’ll be easier for the field employees to track whether or not those objectives are met;
- Set your field employees up for success by expecting great things from them. If they don’t feel challenged, they may not feel compelled to do and give more to the organization as a whole.
4. Offer Clear And Direct Feedback
It’s wise to offer feedback to field employees. However, don’t do this too frequently if there isn’t really anything that compelling to discuss immediately. Otherwise, your employees might feel like they’re already being micromanaged. Only do it as frequently as needed so your field employees can continue to do better and drive more results.
In giving feedback, be sure to make it clear and direct. It’s not enough to say ‘You made mistakes here’ or ‘Change this’ without giving clear directives on how they can make things right. Moreover, be sure to draw the fine line that separates constructive criticism from insulting feedback. Even though you may be a superior to the field employees, it doesn’t mean that they won’t respond negatively to insulting feedback.
Constructive feedback can motivate your employees to do better. On the other hand, insulting criticism may result in a decline in your field employees’ performance and willingness to excel or contribute to the company.
With the tips above, you should now feel more confident and ready to take on the role of having remote and field employees as a part of your team. It may seem a bit more challenging. But when done correctly, it can make a huge difference in maintaining a productive and effective office. Having field employees are the norm in today’s modern workplace, no matter the kind of business sector you belong to.
The tips above can help settle whatever concerns managers may have in feeling like they have very little control over the employees who are far away. As you can see, geographical distance is no longer a barrier in a workplace fueled by modern technology and change.