It is important to know what your employees are doing. That much seems obvious, right? But in today’s world with its increase in telecommuting and mobile working, keeping up with everybody is rarely as easy as simply just walking over to someone’s desk and asking for a quick update on project so-and-so. Note, however, that we did not say that keeping up with everyone is impossible. It’s complicated, sure, but here are a few tips that can help make it work for you.
Reputation management tools are also helpful for workforce management. You can remove unflattering content, such as poor reviews from previous employees that could ruin employee morale. Employees can be just as easily influenced by negative content as customers, so it’s a good idea to invest in reputation management tools.
The web is filled with instant messaging apps and tools that don’t cost anything to use. The problem is, though, that these apps and tools are rarely as secure as you need them to be for your team. Also, even if you try to set up a private room somewhere, there will be trolls and other pests who crack your password and come in every once in awhile to distract people and stir up trouble. This is why it is better to set up an internal instant messaging system. Brosix, which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary, notes that internal and company specific instant messaging systems can be encrypted and made secure in ways that free versions can’t. Their Enterprise Instant Messenger allows users to control a private messaging network with powerful collaboration tools.
On the personal level, instant messaging is a fantastic way to encourage your workforce to talk to each other and you. For many, communicating is easier via text. It can help resolve language barrier issues. It takes the pressure off to come up with something on a moment’s notice. Many people feel more comfortable communicating with text than with their voices.
For you, the business owner, these systems allow you to keep archived records of who says what to whom (make sure your employees know their IMs will not be private). You can monitor progress and make sure everyone is behaving appropriately. It also allows your workforce to have several conversations at once, which gives company productivity a boost.
Another advantage of many of the internal instant messaging systems is that come with fully rounded out with tools that allow multiple users to work together on a single project. This is something that is useful even when your team is physically occupying a single room. It saves from having to pass someone’s laptop around and allows everyone to save their versions of files. Look for tools that allow users to collaborate in real time–even if they want to work on the same project or file. This will help streamline production, and it will increase productivity.
Another benefit of collaborative tools is that they can be helpful if there are skills gaps among team members. Instead of having to take the time to meet in person or schedule a conference room to work on new skills, a lot of training can happen via collaborative tools, which saves everyone time and money.
Collaborative tools benefit your business because in addition to increased productivity and streamlining, these tools set up an environment of accountability. You can track product and project progress. Your employees can keep track of their suggestions and feedback to you about company matters. These tools help foster an environment of transparency that is vital to maintaining your workforce’s trust.
Obviously, the more mobile your workforce, the more challenges you’ll have to overcome to ensure your company’s success. Aside from using tools to bring people together, the hiring process of the best talent can be just as important as the processes and tech you have in place. As tech mogul turned sportsman Neil Blumenfield put it, “when hiring, I always tried to find people who could take my place and who had strength that complimented my own. If I was in professional services, I wanted regional managers who could do what I do, hopefully, better. If not today, certainly in the future.”
It’s also worth noting that you might also want your employees to install some basic monitoring software on the machines they use for work. This way you’ll know if they are using work hours for goofing off.
Ultimately, though, the results are in: when you give them the right tools, even the most far-flung workforce can work together seamlessly. How’s that for your bottom line?