Employee engagement | Top 5 mistakes made when managing deskless employees - and how to avoid similar pitfalls

Top 5 mistakes made when managing deskless employees - and how to avoid similar pitfalls

‘Employee engagement’ – it sounds like a fairly straightforward phrase but trying to maintain a happy, motivated deskless workforce can be fraught with difficulty, and we often hear from business leaders struggling with the same universal issues. If you’re keen to avoid pitfalls when it comes to your own employees, read on…

1.Lack of intelligent workforce planning

We’ve all heard the saying ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’– one of the most annoying clichés to be served up when it’s all gone to pot, yet there’s clearly truth in it. Not having informed, accurate information regarding team resourcing is likely to result in understaffing or overstaffing – or both – and a stressed, demotivated workforce. The solution could be within reach via smart workforce technology, which utilises AI to provide up-to-the-minute staffing forecasting, enabling managers to plan ahead much more easily. That said, while there’s the option to create schedules months in advance, you might also want to consider keeping a percentage of shifts open and flexible, so that your employees can choose and book their own shifts themselves. Which leads us on to mistake number two…

2. Offering minimal flexibility

A large proportion of deskless staff still struggle to obtain any ‘give and take’ whatsoever from their employers regarding their working patterns – we found that 45% have no say over their schedule. Yet flexibility is an increasingly crucial factor for the frontline workforce: a third say that a more flexible schedule would make them more motivated and engaged. Without greater flex, staff are likely to look elsewhere for a better work/life balance.

It can start with small steps – enabling staff to switch shifts between themselves via an app, and introducing flexible leave policies are likely to have a positive impact (for more on this, check out ‘3 simple ways to boost flex for your shopfloor’).

3. Not letting employees provide feedback (and not acting on it if they do)

Unsurprisingly, being able to speak up – and be heard - is important for the deskless workforce. Quinyx’s own ‘State of the Frontline Workforce’ research found that 30% of employees would be more motivated if communication with management was improved. Yet the research also found that that, across all sectors, around one in seven workers (16%) say their employer offers no opportunity to give feedback on work issues that are affecting them.

Not every workplace will be harmonious all of the time, of course. But implementing ‘open door’ policies, demonstrating a willingness to listen and providing feedback opportunities for staff on things that affect them day-to-day - which can be done via regular ‘pulse’ surveys on the Quinyx app – is likely to be well-received.

4. Placing too much emphasis on pay

The ‘bigger picture’ is everything when it comes to people strategy. Yet when an organisation’s time and resource is scant, any focus on employee reward and recognition often becomes centred solely on pay. And the employee engagement initiatives that can achieve long-term progress, motivate staff and encourage them to stay are relegated to ‘nice to haves’. It’s a false economy; by investing in the bigger picture and looking at multiple factors affecting engagement: career progression, work/life balance, opening up communication channels, as well as pay, businesses are likely to reap the rewards of a valued workforce who want to stick around.

5. Not treating employees as individuals

While there are tried-and-tested methods of boosting engagement and job satisfaction, the best people strategies are those that actually put their people first, and don’t reply on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. It’s important to find out what makes each employee tick – what issues/challenges might be affecting them, do they have ambitions to progress or are they happy where they are? As covered in point three above, open communication channels – e.g., online surveys as well as regular face-to-face meets – are essential components in the creation of a happy workforce.

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Quinyx is a cloud-native, mobile-first workforce management solution that simplifies scheduling, time reporting, communication, task management, budgeting and forecasting, thanks to AI-driven scheduling automation. Through advanced and flexible features, Quinyx helps more than 850 companies around the world improve efficiency, engage employees, comply with regulations and reduce labour costs. Today, Quinyx helps some of the world’s biggest businesses save time and money, boost productivity and enjoy work.