The Solution Isn't Just Mobile Workforce Training. It’s Better Training.
Although more and more technology over the last two decades has been developed and deployed to workers on the front lines, there has been very little to no modernization in how workers are trained to use technology effectively.
And when workers don’t use technology as intended to boost performance and productivity, it can have real implications for the business.
The issue is not whether there should be more training for workers on the front lines. It's how to offer better training that actually helps them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Better training is the oft-hidden solution to a host of chronic and recurring problems. With better training, there is less worker frustration, fewer calls to IT and less time and money spent fixing problems on the back-end.
Here are four key considerations that every digital adoption strategy should address:
1. Not everyone learns the same way
Just like each employee has different levels of experience with technology, each employee also has their own preferred way of learning. The significant digital training challenge many organizations face is due in large part to the makeup of the mobile field workforce, which varies widely.
Your mobile workforce likely includes veterans who’ve been on the job for decades, who have done their jobs a certain way for many years and therefore may be resistant to change. On the other hand, younger, less experienced workers who may be recently out of school need to learn job skills quickly and might be more willing to embrace new technology to help them get up to speed.
It’s important to provide training resources that allow different types of learners to learn at their own pace. Tools that promote self-paced and active learning have proven to be far more effective than one-and-done training and static learning content such as PowerPoint presentations. These include videos and walkthroughs, on-device training, hands-on instruction and simulations.
2. Workers are in different places with technology
While some workers on your team are likely asking for digital and self-guided learning experiences, other employees may be more anxious and hesitant to change when asked to use more and new technology. Again, the mobile workforce is hugely diverse with technology proficiency by workers ranging from none or beginner to expert.
However, age and demographics aren’t necessarily a perfect predictor of an employee’s tech savvy. For example, some millennials may be comfortable with technology in general but find their business applications overly complex and confusing, therefore causing extra anxiety. And workers who have been on the job for years might be excited about technology that solves some of the problems they’ve encountered.
Focus on meeting your employees where they’re at with technology by providing a variety of learning techniques and accounting for differing levels of technical proficiency. Just as we’re all different, a one-size-fits-all approach to digital training doesn’t reflect the diversity of ages, skills and learning preferences in an actual mobile workforce.
3. Remember devices, too
Many workers need training on the actual devices and peripherals they will be using in the field. From handheld devices that scan inventory and hands-free augmented reality headsets to do a physical job more safely and efficiently, the hardware is often overlooked in training programs.
Hardware features requiring instruction can include how to: turn the device on and off, connect Bluetooth, swap out old batteries for new ones, use unfamiliar features of the device such as a barcode scanner or connect to external peripherals such as printers.
Remember that the devices used for these applications aren’t always consumer versions of phones or tablets. They are typically more customized devices where the interfaces look different from the consumer operating systems and may require additional instruction.
4. Offer training continuously
Digital training simply cannot be a “one and done” event.
According to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, without reinforcement, people forget 40% of their training after a few days and 90% after a month, on average.
Up-front training leads to competency. But ongoing engagement, guidance and reinforcement lead to mastery.
Other reasons why ongoing engagement is so crucial: in some industries, annual field worker turnover rates can be anywhere from 25% to well over 50%, which makes regular training for new workers necessary. When working with mobile apps, there will likely be updates and new features added regularly, which also necessitates additional training.
From our two decades of experience working with the mobile workforce, we know that effective digital training is tailored to each worker’s level of technological proficiency and their preferred learning style.
To learn more about a better way to train your mobile workforce on their apps and devices, download The Ultimate Guide to Digital Training for Your Field Workforce.
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.