How Mobile Workforce Management Improves Your Employees’ Experience

April 26, 2023

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Key Takeaways

50% of deskless workers leave their jobs within four months of being hired due to poor work experiences. In this guide, learn how mobile workforce management tools help boost retention by increasing worker satisfaction, productivity, and safety.

Today, 80% of the working population, or 2.7 billion people, are mobile workers, also called frontline or deskless workers. These workers are on the move during their workday, visiting multiple locations, performing physical tasks, or both. Although the terms “mobile worker” and “remote worker” are often used interchangeably, they have evolved to be very different. Mobile employees are not tied to a desk—making deliveries or service calls, for example—while remote employees are usually desk-based and work from home or another location that isn't the corporate office.

While deskless industries such as manufacturing, construction, transportation and logistics, field services, and agriculture employ the majority of the workforce, they face greater challenges in retaining employees relative to desk-based industries. An estimated 50% of hourly workers leave within 120 days on the job, driven by factors such as poor communication and unclear processes. Additionally, the turnover rate jumps to 91% in the transportation and logistics industry where there are an estimated 3.5 million professional drivers on the road. When drivers leave their positions, they cite a poor work experience as a leading factor in seeking employment elsewhere.

To retain these workers, employers are increasingly embracing mobile technology to improve communication, streamline processes, and enhance the overall employee experience. The right mobile technology can simplify daily tasks, connect distributed teams, and advance safety to boost employee motivation and morale. One such technology is mobile workforce management software, which helps teams tailor the employee experience to their specific needs and work context.

The basics of mobile workforce management 

Mobile workforce management (MWM) software empowers mobile workers with digital tools and processes that help them perform their jobs with increased productivity and satisfaction. MWM solutions serve deskless workers such as drivers, technicians, and warehouse workers, rather than remote office workers. Features such as real-time tracking, two-way communication, and automated reporting provide managers with greater visibility into mobile employees’ day-to-day, so they can better support their employees while improving the overall efficiency and safety of their operations. Organizations that use mobile workforce management not only enhance and streamline their mobile workers’ experience, but also deliver better outcomes for their customers and communities.

Field service management vs. mobile workforce management: Often used interchangeably, both types of solutions serve deskless employees with some key differences.

  • Field service management software focuses on optimizing processes for physical assets, such as managing service requests for equipment repair. 

  • Mobile workforce management is a broader category of software that focuses on optimizing processes for people, such as automating workflows for mobile workers.

Key features of MWM software

Every organization will have different needs for MWM software. For example, for-hire fleets might prioritize real-time location tracking of their drivers, vehicles, and trailers, while field service providers might look for customizable workflows to digitize work orders and equipment inspections. Typically, you can expect an effective mobile workforce management system to include these key features: 

  • Workflows: Automate tedious to-dos with task management workflows that guide employees through pre-trip DVIRs, safety checklists, or reminders to complete timesheets. 

  • Dispatching: Assign mobile workers to jobs as they come in so managers can respond to customers in a timely manner. 

  • Communication: Message workers in real time about relevant work orders, route changes, and status updates.

  • Route planning: Plan and optimize routes to avoid traffic, weather conditions, and construction, so you can save time and fuel.

  • Location tracking: See where your employees are along their route to update customers, adjust schedules, or help recover lost or missing assets.

  • Reporting: Analyze employee activity, such as miles driven, jobs completed, or hours clocked, to improve operational efficiency, payroll accuracy, and compliance.

  • Documents: Capture everything from receipts to proof of service with digital forms and document scanning, all from a smartphone or tablet.

  • Performance metrics: Gain insights into how your employees are performing against key safety and operations benchmarks and motivate them with peer competition.

  • Integrations: Connect MWM software with your system of record to centralize your workforce data, identify trends, and take action on areas of improvement across your operations.

Benefits of mobile workforce management 

Management, back office, and mobile teams all benefit from greater employee engagement, productivity, and safety—and, in turn, greater customer satisfaction—when the right MWM is implemented. Did you know: 70% of deskless workers report that more technology would help them do their jobs better, while over 90% believe tech will improve the daily operations, communication, and productivity of their job. Here’s a closer look at how mobile workforce management solutions improve each of these areas:

  • Employee engagement: MWM guides your employees throughout their workday with pre-queued tasks, direct lines of communication, and safety features. Together, these tools streamline tedious tasks, support workers when they’re alone, and provide peace of mind. When mobile workers are connected to other areas of the business with strong support lines, they feel seen, heard, and valued. 

  • Safety: When workers are safe, they’re also happier and more likely to stay at their job. MWM automates safety processes like DVIRs and fit-to-work forms to help managers ensure employees start and end their days safely. While on the job, MWM can limit the risk of distraction from mobile devices and other environmental factors. Real-time location tracking allows managers to respond quickly and send help in case of an emergency. Finally, coaching workflows help managers to connect with workers and share constructive feedback to prevent safety incidents from reoccurring in the future. 

  • Productivity: MWM software is built for productivity—workflows and digital documents organize workers’ days from start to finish to maximize their time without additional planning or administrative work. Features such as scheduling, dispatching, and messaging take the guesswork out of daily operations. If an issue does arise, such as a routing or reporting error, MWM helps admins troubleshoot in real-time to keep employees on track during their day. 

  • Customer satisfaction: Finally, provide a superior customer experience with enhanced transparency and communication—real-time tracking, updates, and messaging ensure your customers are informed throughout their delivery or service. MWM helps organizations deliver more accurate and efficient service so they can win and retain more business. 

What to look for in a MWM solution

MWM solutions can vary greatly in scope and functionality but there are a few key features to consider when selecting a provider:

  • Ease of use: At minimum, make sure your MWM is easy to use for everyone. Today’s mobile workforce is more diverse than ever, so it’s important to find a solution that’s intuitive and accommodates a wide range of comfort levels with technology.  

  • Automation: Simplify your workers’ days and save your back office time with a MWM solution that automates manual tasks and eliminates error-prone paperwork. 

  • Customizability: Look for a MWM that gives you the flexibility to tailor the mobile experience for employees with customizable mobile apps, workflows, and device settings specific to their role and work context.

  • Cloud-based technology: A cloud-based MWM automatically stores all of your mobile documents, reports, messages, and more, so you can access your operations data at any time, from anywhere.

  • Unified platform: To boost efficiency and minimize redundancy for your teams, make sure your MWM integrates easily with the tools your employees use most, from TMS and navigation to maintenance and payroll.

How Samsara helps you manage your mobile workforce 

Creating an exceptional work experience lays the foundation for employee retention, customer satisfaction, and business resilience. Mobile technology empowers your workers with tools to move confidently throughout their day while feeling more connected to the larger team. Samsara’s mobile workforce solutions are designed to keep employees safe, engaged, and productive so you can deliver an outstanding customer experience. 

Protect your employees with a proactive approach to safety

Safety is a must for any effective mobile workforce and Samsara provides organizations with a comprehensive toolkit to keep their workers safe. Custom documents and DVIRs in the Samsara Driver App help ensure employees and equipment are prepared and fit for work before they start their day. Once on the road or on site, in-cab alerts and video-based coaching workflows help managers monitor risky behavior and build safe habits while Mobile Experience Management (MEM), powered by real-time vehicle data, automatically limits device distractions when drivers are in motion. Finally, electronic Hours of Service logging makes it easy for workers who spend the majority of their day behind the wheel to know when to rest and wrap up their day.

Empower your teams with the right information and tools to perform at their best

Samsara’s mobile solutions are purpose-built for the physical operations workforce, giving workers everything they need to be productive and engaged throughout their day. Within the Driver App, digital documents and workflows reduce manual input and errors to boost productivity, real-time communication enhances connectivity and engagement, and mobile coaching tools empower drivers to own their own performance and development. When assistance is needed, MEM allows managers to support workers wherever they are with remote troubleshooting and training on their mobile devices. MEM also helps employees find critical information at a glance with customized device settings to optimize for productivity in the cab and in the field. 

Connect your workforce to run smarter, more efficient operations

Samsara unifies data across employees, vehicles, equipment, and sites to provide organizations full visibility into their operations. Automated reporting, digital workflows, and turnkey and custom integrations with Samsara’s open API streamlines the flow of information from your mobile workforce to your managers and customers to increase accuracy, eliminate redundancy, and improve efficiency and service quality. 

Looking for mobile tools to keep your employees connected and productive? Learn more about Samsara Mobile Experience Management, the Driver App, and the Fleet App, and reach out for a free demo or trial of our Connected Operations platform today.