When mobile worker training doesn’t deliver high adoption rates of digital tools, it has very real business implications.
During COVID-19, we’ve all realized that workers on the front lines – the men and women stocking shelves, transporting goods and installing equipment – are, in fact, essential to keeping our economy moving.
Although more and more technology over the last two decades has been developed and deployed to these workers, there has been very little to no modernization in making sure these workers are using technology effectively. And when workers don’t use technology effectively, it can have real implications for the business.
When businesses know they have a problem – in terms of lost sales or uncompleted jobs, higher turnover, more downtime and more accidents – they often miss the point that the root cause, in most cases, is poor digital adoption.
But many companies don’t recognize the true source of their problem.
In many cases, the reason they have poor digital adoption is because of a poor approach to training.
It’s an ugly cycle.
Low rates of digital adoption by field workers can cause problems in many ways. They include:
Work Isn’t Getting Done Right
One of the most noticeable effects of poor training is that when workers don’t know how to do their jobs properly, work doesn’t get done the right way. And that has real costs to the business.
For example, if a delivery rep doesn’t know how to use their mobile app, it might mean they deliver the wrong product to the customer, or don’t complete the sale. If a field service technician can’t use their digital tools to troubleshoot a problem onsite, that might mean an uncompleted work order and additional costly visits.
Improperly trained workers often stop their work to ask for assistance and these kinds of delays can create workflow bottlenecks. If an employee makes a mistake during a manufacturing process or incorrectly updates a customer record, even more time is wasted by others who have to redo the task.
This poor productivity means lower profits and the financial impact can be even greater when employees make repeated mistakes or use an app incorrectly, which can directly increase write offs and reduce revenue.
A failure to engage mobile workers carries substantial costs.
In a study by the Center for American Progress, the cost of employee turnover was estimated to be between 16% and 213% of an annual salary, depending on the position. Gallup found that disengaged workers lead to 37% higher absenteeism and 18% lower productivity.
Even worse, when employees depart, they can leave behind a substantial knowledge gap that isn’t easy to fill.
Over the course of doing their jobs, employees figure out how their organizations function, from navigating varying personalities to recognizing the value of key relationships to understanding the nuances of the company’s culture. Building this kind of institutional knowledge takes a lot of time.
Mobile field workers are mission critical and operations leaders don’t want them out of the field or out of service for any amount of time.
A ServiceMax survey found that 82 percent of field service companies have experienced unplanned downtime over the past three years. The source of the downtime in 60-70% of the incidents was human error – in other words, poorly or improperly trained workers.
Each incident of unplanned downtime costs a company an average of $260,000 an hour, according to Aberdeen Research.
Failing to provide effective training to mobile workers puts them at greater risk of accidents, exposing your company to potential lawsuits and fines.
Not training them on how to do things like safely moving heavy items or stocking shelves and climbing ladders can lead to workplace injuries or even death when heavy machinery or hazardous materials are involved.
When mobile digital tools are not used by workers consistently or correctly, many problems can emerge. The key is being able to both spot the problem and identify the source correctly.
To learn more about how to successfully train your mobile workers on mobile apps and devices, download our 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.