The old saying might be “happy wife, happy life,” but anyone engaged in human resources management of any type knows that the concept applies here too. Happy staff, happy customers, management team, and bottom line.
In fact, according to Gallup, when your employees are highly engaged, it can lead to as much as a 21% bump in profits. Investing in collaborative scheduling and project management solutions is one way you can help ensure that staff is happier overall with their work. Here are three ways collaborative solutions benefit your employees (and your business).
1. Increased Communication Helps Staff Feel More Valued
One of the biggest complaints among employees of all types is that their company doesn’t listen to or value them. But if you can find ways to listen to your employees and show them that their feedback is important, they can feel up to four times more empowered to deliver their best work. That increases the chance that your teams are providing excellent service and performance on every job.
Your business or department isn’t a democracy, though, and there’s definitely such a thing as too many chefs in the kitchen. So, how can collaborative solutions help each team member feel more valued and heard without you giving up the necessary control of your processes?
Collaborative solutions help ensure every employee gets the message.
Sometimes, this is all that’s required to ensure everyone feels valued. There’s nothing worse than getting left out, and being the only one that didn’t get an important update about processes can make you feel like the kid sitting alone in the lunchroom.
When you don’t ensure that someone gets messages that were sent to everyone else, you’re effectively saying: “We didn’t care if you got this message. You seeing and incorporating this information into your work wouldn’t change anything, because you don’t change anything.”
Most managers don’t see things this way and know that every employee contributes to their success. So, it’s important not to send this message, even accidentally. If you’re relying on manual emails or texts, someone will inevitably get left off the CC or reply all lists. Instead, rely on collaborative solutions that automatically route messaging to all the right people.
Collaborative solutions encourage feedback.
Communication is a two-way street, though. Employers who recognize that staff might have good ideas and take action to ask for feedback tend to have happier, more engaged employees.
Collaborative solutions enable everyone to understand what the goals are and empower them to contribute. Whether you’re defining project requirements or managing day-to-day maintenance calls, providing a way for your employees to review information and respond in appropriate ways opens the door for communication. And that can cut down on frustration, misunderstandings and eventual bitterness among staff.
2. Smart Scheduling Solutions Take Some Friction Out of Their Day
Scheduling without the right technology can be a real headache. People who have never run the scheduling gauntlet might see this as an easy administrative task: All you have to do is put employees in boxes, right?
Wrong. Experienced supervisors know that even “easy” scheduling jobs are often much more complex. And when you throw in field service needs and the constantly changing requirements of customers, the process is even more daunting — especially if you also care about your employees.
Here are just a few scheduling considerations that are employee-centric:
- You must schedule the right people. Probably not everyone on your team has the exact same skills, which means not everyone is ideal for every job. No one wants to be thrown to the sharks in a job they don’t know how to do. Imagine how a new HVAC tech might feel being sent alone on an installation job when they’ve never installed before.
- You must consider business priorities. Schedule management involves balancing resource needs and employee comfort with the needs of the business. When everything is ideal, those things balance well. On days when ideal has been thrown out the window, collaborative solutions help you maintain a schedule and communicate with your team so they can band together to meet the challenge.
- Unplanned priorities happen. You can’t just plan for what you see now. You have to keep unplanned issues in mind, because they do come up. And if you’ve maxed out all your employees on the schedule and then try to add to their plates when things come up, you can cause a morale issue.
- Your employees also have priorities. According to a Glassdoor survey, 87% of employees expect their employers to provide support for work-life balance. That means incorporating employee priorities into your scheduling. Vacation time, taking off for kids’ school programs, or wanting to have every Sunday off for faith reasons are all common work-life balance requests from staff. Making an effort to accommodate these needs can create employee loyalty and higher morale.
Resource and employee scheduling software makes it easier to integrate all these concerns. It also makes it more likely you’ll come up with a viable schedule everyone can live with each week without ruining your own work-life balance in the process.
3. Mobile Access Keeps Field Reps and Others in Constant Communication
Your employees want to succeed. When they face unnecessary obstacles to success, such as not having the right information on hand when performing a job, it can be disheartening and lead to disengagement or poorer performance. Collaborative solutions are a great way to ensure everyone has what they need, whether they’re in the office or out in the field.
Good collaborative solutions include smartphone and/or tablet access. If teams can’t carry communication into the field, it’s not really collaborative.
Here are just a few ways that in-field access to solutions can benefit employees.
- Employees receive timely notifications of schedule changes. They know before they finish their current job that what they need to do next has changed. That lets them prepare for a priority shift and avoid potentially traveling to the wrong location, reducing feelings of being rushed or scrambled.
- Employees can reach out to others. Field reps and others can use devices to chat with or message others, which lets them ask questions and get quick answers. Messaging the group increases the chance at a quick response, whereas calling an individual might mean getting their voicemail. Device communication also helps keep customer trust in the employee up; they don’t know what the employee is doing on the device. If the person calls someone and asks a question, it could lead customers to doubt their skills, even if that isn’t a realistic conclusion.
- Team members have access to documentation. From contracts, quotes, and notes about the job at hand to training manuals or spec sheets, employees may be able to access information via collaborative mobile solutions. That can be especially helpful for field reps, who might be hearing a different story from a customer than they got from the job instructions. They can check the original quote or notes to understand what was originally sold and immediately reach out for support if needed.
Ultimately, collaborative solutions let you support employees better, and that leads to benefits that range from better morale and performance to increased revenue. Find out more about collaborative solutions from Visual Planning today.
Manale is a passionate about digital marketing. She joined STILOG I.S.T in 2018.
She brings SEO & SEA expertise, email marketing and creative content marketing to create a great brand experience for Visual Planning customers.