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Shifting Field Workers to Mobile Forms

Mobile forms have the power to deliver efficiency to field service firms. They speed up collecting, sharing, and learning from data. These forms also deliver many industry-specific benefits such as streamlining communications and enhancing scheduling efficiency. Unfortunately, ignoring the human element is bound to negatively affect your efforts to roll out this technology.

According to field service veteran Donald B. Stephens, companies are more focused on metrics, KPIs, and big data since they ensure their productivity and profitability. As a result, they end up forgetting the true causes of inefficiencies, which include the human factor. This is especially true while rolling out new technology.

To ensure your workforce effectively adopts your mobile forms, here are some tips from TransformTek’s experts.

Talk to ALL Stakeholders

Calestous Juma, author of Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies, shared that workers fear new change and its effect on the future of their employment. Therefore, firms need to take measures to ease them into the change.

While this step may seem obvious, not many organizations invest in it. In most cases, firms only focus on key stakeholders, ignoring others impacted by mobile forms. While field workers are the people who will use the forms, others such as your back office employees need to be aware of how they work.

To effectively determine who to involve in your discussions, ask the following questions.

  • Who is directly affected by the roll out of mobile forms?
  • Who is indirectly affected?
  • Who could possibly be affected by the new technology?
  • Who is affected by the outcome, be it positively or negatively?
  • Who is the end user of your forms?
  • Who has the authority to influence your tech rollout?
  • Who can make the process fail?

To avoid assumptions, make sure to discuss these questions with influencers from each department. Documenting answers will help you with this step, especially since it’s vital for the next one.

Create a Roll-Out Plan

Field service firms need to thoroughly build and document a roll-out plan. For this purpose, a committee representing each of the stakeholders should be created. Together, employees can draft the scope of this plan using the following elements.

  • Organizational Benefits – The committee should list down the benefits of mobile forms for your enterprise and create a comprehensive case for their use. This material will help you create a ‘pitch’ of sorts to get all employees on board.
  • Pain Points – The pain points which mobile forms will help overcome should also be part of the plan. You can discuss this aspect with the stakeholders to learn how this new technology will help.
  • Key Dates – Make sure the plan includes important dates, such as when your mobile form app will be rolled out, or when users will switch to the new solution fully.
  • Deployment Tiers – Determine whether the new solution will be rolled out to specific groups or to all users at once. Weigh the pros and cons of both approaches, and discuss them with stakeholders to gain more insight.
  • Expectations – The report should list down realistic expectations for adoption. For instance, you can include the names of users who will make a good effort towards quickly adopting mobile forms. You can also detail punishments for those lagging behind.

Plan a Fun Training Session

Training is essential when embracing new technology. This is especially true for the field service workforce, as workers come from different generations and have varying tech savviness levels. So, develop training which focuses on the needs of your workforce. Here are some tips to help you out.

  • Decide on a Training Approach – The most effective way to train employees on new technology is the hands-on approach. However, you are welcome to other methods which have worked well for your company in the past. Regardless of the method you opt for, ensure your employees’ questions are answered through the training material.
  • Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Written Word – Consider creating user manuals with detailed written instructions and screenshots. This will give your workers a reference to go back to after the training. Besides, it’s especially effective for technologically challenged individuals.
  • Focus Your Training on an Influencer Group – Carefully train a small group of supervisors and other personnel who can influence your workforce. Once they master the use of mobile forms, they can become trainers who help the rest of your employees.

In addition to these tips, remember to make training fun. This will excite your workforce and ensure they proactively explore the new technology you have rolled out for them. You can add the element of fun to your training through gamification or offering incentives.

Constantly Follow Up on Your Workforce

Most enterprises make the mistake of stopping once training has wrapped up. A roll-out is never over, even after your employees start using mobile forms in their daily work. According to Bert Markgraf’s ‘How to Introduce New Technology to an Organization’, this is because your enterprise may face a few issues later on.

“A final step for the successful introduction of new technology into an organization is to perform an evaluation of its performance once installed. There may be actual problems with the way the technology works, or there may be perceived problems for some users. An evaluation identifies both types of problems,” he wrote.

The best way to evaluate the efficiency of your mobile forms is by planning follow up sessions at different intervals. For instance, your first session can be shortly after the roll out to help identify areas that require improvement. Conducting another session after a month or so will allow you to detect infrequent use cases you missed and address those accordingly.

Sessions aside, be open to employee feedback and let your staff know you’re willing to consider any suggestions they have. This will show how much you respect their concerns, ensuring a more successful roll out.

If you want to try mobile forms yourself or have a small group test it, save your time and download Ready2Use Forms. Comprising over 80 forms, the app will help you transform your business, especially with regards to Safety, HR, Business Development, and Projects. Try it now and discover the efficiency and higher productivity of going paperless.
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