7 reasons why you should spend a day in the life of your non-desk employees

It can be incredibly hard to accurately track everything that non-desk workers do, as they are always on the move. So how can you improve their working experience and internal communications? The best way is to spend a day in their shoes and here are seven reasons why!

1. You can understand their pain points – Perhaps you have been receiving complaints about certain processes but you never got round to sorting them because you didn’t think those problems were of high priority.

  • When you go through the motions of the job yourself, you may realise that those small problems make a huge difference to performance. You may notice other processes, that haven’t been mentioned, which you feel could be changed to make the job more efficient.
  • An example could be timed targets; you set a 2 minute limit for how long it should take staff members to collect a pair of shoes and an alternative pair to show to the customer. When you do the task yourself you realise it takes longer, you don’t have time to pick an alternative pair, and you’re out of breath when you get back to your customer.
  • You then realise that your staff aren’t being lazy when they say that the goal is unattainable. You decide that your store needs a digital app which can produce tickets for those working in the stock room and a chute to send the shoes down in order to save time.

 

2. You can see more of their touch points – You will see beyond the staff room poster as a means of communication and start to understand where employees spend more time and actually take in information around them. Do your staff spend a lot of time in the company van getting to their work site, in the food factory changing room putting on their workwear, or in the back office collecting keys for test drives, the list is endless.

  • Once you know those touch points you can begin utilising those spaces. An HR factory manager could put communications on factory worker’s lockers. A construction site manager could hang information cards around the seats in the vans, or create an app for passengers in those work vans, who often go on their phone to ease the boredom of the drive.

 

3. You can see how they learn – Or perhaps see how they don’t learn?! When you work in head office you push out emails with information about new products, offers, processes etc. and expect management to communicate these down to front-line staff. However, when working on the front-line yourself, you realise that these messages aren’t communicated or they just don’t resonate with staff members.

  • Hannah Shepherd, Head of retail experience at Virgin Media (VM), explained how their customer journey showed that when people entered their stores they were frustrated with sales assistants because they lacked product knowledge.
  • They then analysed their employee journey and found that staff were overwhelmed with the amount of information they had to remember. They were struggling to keep up with all the new offers and products whilst working on the busy shop floor. This was the key moment when VM realised they needed to find a way of helping staff learn more. They needed a fun and engaging solution which would boost product knowledge and ultimately improve customer experience. This was the reason why they created Albert – built on top of Oplift Extend.

 

4. You can see if they are listened to – Have you ever tried to encourage ideas from front-line staff to improve operations but never received any? This can be frustrating or make you think that operations are fine just the way they are.

  • If you spend a day in the life of your employees, you might realise that there is nowhere for staff to formally log their ideas or opinions. You might hear conversations in the stock room between employees, or you might see them share their thoughts with managers but these never get past the shop floor.
  • This could mean that you put a new process in place for every manager to collect at least five new ideas by the end of the week, thus ensuring you are constantly getting a stream of information to improve operations.
  • With Oplift’s notification feature you can send messages immediately to employee’s smartphones or tablets. This means you could nudge employees to make sure they think of any ideas to give to their manager by the end of the week.

 

5. You can see how they work – This might sound obvious but there is a large gap between how head office thinks front-line staff work and how they actually work.

  • According to the CEO of Vivint, he went undercover and realised just how dangerous some jobs in his company were. “Two of my jobs in the field required actually installing equipment in customers’ homes. While on a slippery roof installing Vivint Internet equipment, I experienced first hand how dangerous some of our jobs can be.”
  • Don’t just spend a day in the easiest role, ask to work in a job that is difficult or perhaps awkward for you to do, it will be worth it in the end as you will get a true insight into tasks which head office never fully see or understand.
  • This means you can put safety measures in place to ensure that staff’s well-being is always at the top of your agenda.
  • You can then add these steps to your digital checklists to ensure they are continuously followed by everyone throughout your business.

 

6. You can see what they enjoy – You can see which areas people particularly enjoy or excel in and use this to tailor their role and responsibilities, benefiting both them and you.

  • It could be as simple as finding out that some employees enjoy speaking up in daily staff meetings. You can then make them responsible for running those meetings in the future, this will encourage them to take ownership and become more engaged.
  • You might think that people enjoy your ‘interactive’ recap meetings but then you find out that most staff members find them cringe-worthy and unhelpful. Instead, they prefer to read up in their own time. It gives you a good chance to ask what they think would help them to remember important information. Oplift Engage means you can inform staff of all processes, manuals, information, and documentation which is kept updated for consistent working, wherever your workers may be.

 

7. You can see how they solve problems – Sometimes it might seem that everything runs smoothly but you don’t hear about the problems which staff encounter on a regular basis.

  • If you work in the construction industry, you might realise that workers have decided to date all blueprints because subcontractors have been found to be working off of old ones.
  • You might then consider implementing a digital app which automatically dates the blueprints and updates them across all devices to ensure consistency and eliminate the chance of mistakenly working from old sheets.
  • You might see that a store manager holds quizzes to help boost staff knowledge, as they have noticed their staff are finding it difficult to keep up with all of the information. This means you could consider ‘gamifying‘ your company information for a long-term learning strategy.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 28th February 2018