How Mobile Workforce Management Affects Contractors
The workforce ecosystem has evolved over the years, with contractors playing a major role in it. According to a 2018 Global Human Capital Trends survey, only 42% of the respondent organizations were primarily made of salaried employees. Others depended on contractors, freelancers, and gig workers, and believed this to be a growing trend.
Are companies ready to handle this growth? Unfortunately, only 16% of the survey participants felt that they had policies and practices in place to handle the needs of different types of workers.
Challenges Managers and Contractors Face
Managing contractors is often more challenging than managing full-time employees. The dynamics involved with contractors can be more complex due to factors like:
- Flexible schedules
- Inconsistent commitment levels
- Infrequent communication
- Enforcement of compliance and safety standards
- Higher attrition rates
While managers want contractors to complete their goals and deliver excellent results, they also have the responsibility of keeping workforce morale high and retaining contractors. Managers also have to ensure the relationship continues to be mutually beneficial.
Contractors, too, have their own challenges, including:
- Late or inaccurate invoicing to clients
- Being over- or underbooked against their contracted hours
- Inefficient travel routes between clients
- Compliance with varying safety, compliance, or company standards
- Lagging adoption of technology
- Lack of communication from the home office or with other contractors
Organizations need contractors to help meet their business goals, and they want to retain their strongest employees to reduce time spent hiring and training new contractors. But at the same time, managers know the challenges of being a contractor, and they want to make it easier for employees to do their work.
Mobile workforce management solutions can bridge this gap by resolving issues on both ends and making the relationship between contractors and organizations a long-term, productive one.
How Mobile Workforce Management Benefits Your Contractors
By 2023, the revenue from the global mobile workforce management market is expected to exceed $7 billion. There is a growing awareness among organizations on how these solutions can help manage their different pillars. Let’s take a look at the benefits that contractors and managers can gain by using mobile workforce management solutions.
1. Unified System for Better Visibility
Most organizations struggle with disparate systems that perform different functions and don’t provide transparency or insight into one another. Workforce visibility—especially across different systems and functions—is key to real-time data gathering, analytics, and business intelligence.
For example, ECL Group, a leading company specializing in fuel systems and technology solutions, had to manage disconnected systems—some had field service capabilities while others had only scheduling features. After moving to a single system, the company now can provide better visibility to all stakeholders and deliver more to both contractors and customers.
2. Schedule Optimization
Most companies do not have the luxury to keep adding resources—they need to optimize their existing workforce to full capacity. However, scheduling resources efficiently is not always easy because there are many variables such as skill sets, customer preferences, and competing priorities at play. Optimizing contractor schedules introduces other variables, such as varying levels of capacity or differing permissions or access to company systems.
A good mobile workforce management tool can handle the complex scheduling of different categories of workers with differing requirements and needs.
Mobile workforce management solutions consider different data points to perform intelligent scheduling. The American Red Cross, for example, was able to reduce its scheduling time by 43%, underutilization of its instructors by 31%, and costs to schedule by 30% as a result of implementing mobile workforce management.
3. Matching Job Skills with Customer Needs
Mobile workforce management systems match contractors with suitable skillset to the right jobs. This ensures high customer satisfaction, and contractors are happy because they get to leverage their strengths.
Take Johns Hopkins Medicine International for instance. It provides white-glove concierge service and care coordination for patients traveling to Johns Hopkins from outside the U.S.
Johns Hopkins Medicine International struggled with a high rate of patient no-shows for its 60,000 appointments per year with the 200 care coordinators, concierges, and staff. Another challenge was platform integration with Salesforce and the hospital’s electronic health record system.
After implementing a mobile workforce management solution, Johns Hopkins Medicine International saw a more than 80% increase in matched allocation accuracy, a 45% decrease in appointment no-shows and cancellations, and successful platform integration.
4. Route Optimization
Servicing multiple customers in the same area or along the same route is another way to improve scheduling and efficiency. When contractors use optimized travel routes, provided by a workforce management tool, they can complete more appointments in the same timeframe. Mobile workforce solutions can even notify workers in real-time if another customer in the vicinity has requested service, giving contractors more opportunities to serve customers in the field.
In the case of Area Wide Protective (AWP), assigning their mobile protectors to locations that are far apart from each other would have been not only inconvenient but unsustainable. Using a mobile workforce management solution helped the company increase scheduling and dispatching efficiency by 86%, resulting in reduced frustration for their mobile protectors and improved service for their customers.
5. User-Friendly Tools
Contractors have a challenging job of working in various offsite locations and interacting with diverse customers every day. Working with clunky, outdated software can make it even more difficult.
However, organizations can make their lives easier by giving contractors access to tools with simple and intuitive user interfaces. This increases the likelihood that contractors will adopt and use the tool on a daily basis, and builds contractors’ trust in your tools and processes. When contractors aren’t distracted by confusing or cumbersome tools, they have more positive interactions with customers.
6. Enabling Safety Compliance
Mobile workforce management systems help improve worker safety by embedding mobile forms and safety checklists into the workflow. These systems also offer features like quick reporting and escalation of safety incidents, location services to pinpoint a worker’s location, customer data protection, the ability to record documents and photos digitally to avoid potential lawsuits, and more.
With all these features at their fingertips, contractors have a digital partner to make safety and compliance easier.
7. Better Communication with Office and Customers
Contractors can feel isolated from office workers, often struggling to communicate. Some have to go in to the office at the end of the day just to fill out forms and document their work history for the day.
Mobile workforce management gives workers a platform to capture information while on the move, eliminating systemic redundancies. It improves communication among contractors, clients, and the office which then in-turn increases the productivity of the entire workforce.
Common, a company that provides co-living offerings in dense cities, had trouble with its manual process for scheduling property tours for prospective clients. Double bookings and miscommunications were frequent as people forgot to update the calendar or made incorrect entries. By using a mobile workforce management system to improve communication and transparency, Common was able to increase the number of tours scheduled by 37% in 94% less time.
Translating Benefits into Better Customer Service
For any organization, providing excellent customer service is a key objective. By managing contractors in an efficient way through real-time scheduling, job skill matching, strong communication, and intuitive tools, companies can take care of an integral part of their workforce and ultimately earn loyal customers.
Intelligent mobile workforce management helps enterprises schedule, dispatch, and track jobs in the field with real-time visibility and communication. Book your free demo to see Skedulo in action.