Discover the 3 key steps in mobile workforce training for a successful digital deployment
Operations leaders often face many challenges in managing their field workers, from ensuring and improving their efficiency and productivity to reducing accidents and empowering them to enhance the customer experience. Digital solutions can be the answer, but one persistent myth is that there are few barriers to the adoption of mobile apps and devices. The presumption is that digital tools are much more intuitively designed today and workers are far more experienced with technology than they were ten years ago.
However, successful adoption and continuous usage of mobile applications is not guaranteed. The significant digital training challenge many organizations face is due in large part to the makeup of the mobile field workforce, which varies widely. Each employee has different comfort levels with technology and their own preferred ways of learning.
Here are three mistakes that lead to poor digital engagement in your mobile workforce:
Mobile Workforce Training Failure #1:
Designing Digital Solutions from the Board Room
When development teams build mobile apps from a laundry list of requirements without understanding the true challenges frontline workers face, it leads to solutions that don’t meet the real-world needs of the business. This kind of planning in a vacuum ignores the real-world processes, challenges and use cases encountered by workers in their daily work tasks and environment. Successful outcomes are only possible when you engage end users in the design process. What are their daily workflows and challenges? Aim to create a solution that is effective, intuitive, and fits or improves existing processes—not just some technology to which they have to adapt.
Mobile Workforce Training Failure #2:
Underestimating Change Management and Up-front Training
A successful mobile deployment involves more than distributing devices and applications. How you manage the complexities of change management will determine worker buy-in and adoption, and ultimately technology ROI. There is often little consideration given to training workers on their new apps besides one-and-done instructor-led training that relies on static PowerPoint decks or train-the-trainer scenarios where line managers are tasked with becoming subject matter experts on their digital tools. These approaches have proven to be inadequate for ensuring effective app usage and engagement.
Mobile Workforce Training Failure #3:
Poor Ongoing Training & Support
Once apps are deployed, ongoing development and user support are frequently neglected, which leads to declining engagement and misuse of the application, and can ultimately cause the entire initiative to fail.
According to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, without reinforcement, people forget 40% of their training after a few days and 90% after a month. This demonstrates just how ineffective one-time training is. It’s critical to have ongoing training, engagement, and support available to workers when in-field processes change or apps are updated and to supplement digital training with one-on-one remote support from the training team.
Three Steps to Digital Adoption Success By Your Mobile Workforce
An effective technology solution should incorporate three critical steps using a lifecycle approach rather than a “one-and-done” mentality. The key is to understand that effective digital adoption requires a process approach, guided by a strategy that drives a continuous lifecycle.
From our experience working with mobile technology and large field workforces, we’ve seen time and time again how missing any of these steps prevents a digital solution from achieving its desired business results.
Step #1: Identify your core business problem, define your desired outcomes, design your digital solution
What are potential solutions for this problem? What does success look like? Set priorities by narrowing your list of solutions by determining which 20% of initiatives will yield 80% of the value and desired results. With input from the end users — your mobile workers — you can then create working proofs-of-concept to validate your approach.
Using feedback from your prototypes, design the most impactful, effective solution with the desired goals and develop production-ready solutions for your mobile workers. When launching and scaling it to the size of your workforce, remember that large mobile workforces benefit from a phased approach, starting with a pilot deployment.
Step #2: Optimize your upfront app training for a mobile workforce
Companies need to rethink their current training approaches to address the intricacies of mobile applications and the specific needs of the mobile workforce. Instead of one-and-done instructor-led training using static training content, an optimized approach should incorporate on-device training and app simulations that are accessible to workers when and where they need it. More importantly, this training should be instituted in advance of production software deployment to ensure users are comfortable and ready to start using the app on day one.
It’s not just about teaching workers about the features and functionality of their devices and software. More often than not, a new app is accompanied by new workflows and business processes. Your mobile workers need to be provided with a clear understanding of how and when they need to use the new technology in the course of their daily jobs.
Step #3: Create a plan for ongoing development, training and support
Many companies overlook this critical step and it can undermine the initiative’s success. In addition to initial training, it’s essential to provide ongoing support, continuous training and new employee onboarding for your field workers. Finally, after implementation, regularly measure user engagement and business results. Ask yourself: Did you achieve your intended outcomes?
The Importance of Following a Process and Repeating It
You’re not done yet. These three steps need to be part of an ongoing process that allows you to evaluate, iterate on and maintain your solutions. A mobile digital adoption strategy that drives this repetition can ensure a successful mobile app or device deployment and lower your risk of business disruption from a failed deployment.
Skyllful is governed by the principle that mobile app training is not a one-time event. Instead of conducting training only during new employee onboarding or when a new app is first deployed, Skyllful believes mobile app training should be highly valued as a key and ongoing component of professional development.
To learn more about other pitfalls that can ruin mobile app deployments, download our 5 Red Flags That Your Mobile App Deployment is in Trouble.
At Skyllful, our passion is helping customers solve important business problems by applying technology the right way. We believe that emerging technologies will continue to change the way work gets done. Skyllful helps business leaders and their most critical workers use technology in a way that makes their work easier, better, and safer.
Skyllful provides the brainpower and processes to ideate, create, run, and refresh digital experiences where mobile workers connect with the physical world. By bridging the divide between IT and line-of-business demands, Skyllful strikes a balance between the mobile worker experience and secure, reliable enterprise technology requirements to drive business outcomes.