Managing L&D When Your Workforce Isn’t Office-Based

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There’s a very silent elephant in the room when it comes to learning and performance management: how do you do it when your workforce isn’t sat nicely at a desk, in one place?

There’s a very silent elephant in the room when it comes to learning and performance management: how do you do it when your workforce isn’t sat nicely at a desk, in one place?

How do you manage learning and development, as well as performance management, when your workforce is on the road, remote, and possibly doesn’t even ever sit at a desk? How do you manage L&D and performance when your workers are factory-based, in the field, or not where you last left them?

Learning and Performance Management Still Matter

The typical pain points that leaders face, of disconnected, misaligned and disengaged workers are only exacerbated in these situations. It’s easy to think it’s impossible to truly engage and develop these workers because of the logistical difficulties of doing so. 

But it’s not impossible. Sitting inside every worker’s pocket, and perhaps even already used as a work tool, is a smartphone. And with that you have the power to do remarkable things to connect, align and engage your workers.

Connect, Align and Engage – Wherever They Are

First let’s look at what you need to focus on. Then we can look at how you do it.

Some of these aspects apply wherever your workforce is, but all are particularly important to a mobile or fragmented workforce:

  • Set Goals and Objectives

Individuals need personal goals that give them a sense of purpose within the overall objectives of the company. They need to know how they contribute to the greater good and how this is relevant to their development as an individual.

  • Give Clear Feedback

Just because a worker is mobile or remote, they need to know how they are performing. Feedback can be verbal, but it needs to be clear and planned for.

  • Have Regular Conversations

When there’s no bumping into each other in the office, conversations between leaders and managers with their workers need to be deliberate and intentional. These conversations need to be regular and structured. This gives insight into everything from how a worker is feeling to their ideas about how practical tasks can be done more efficiently.

  • Go to Them

You don’t necessarily need to physically head over to where they are, but meet your workers where you can through different mediums. If they have an onsite cabin, or factory break room, use it to convey unified messaging from senior staff dropping in to posters on the wall.

  • Give Time to Down Tools

It’s vital that mobile workers and those not office-based are given dedicated time when they can ‘down tools’ and come together to discuss things, evaluate their performance, and undertake learning and development.

  • Unite Them

Whether it’s through socialisation, unified delivery of a particular course, or team activities, consciously develop a team atmosphere amongst these workers. You attention on these workers needs to be deliberate.

  • Make Things Clear

Line management and organisational structure needs to absolutely transparent and robust. Accountability needs to be clear and the structural networks, which may not mirror what’s in place on the ground, need to be well-understood and definitely used.

How to Make This Happen

The above list of requirements may seem like a tall order. However, as with a lot about organising non-desk-based workers, it comes down to having the right tools for the job. A valuable Learning and Development Management tool which is combined with a Performance Management platform, which can be accessed and used easily on a smart phone, is the answer. 

Bridge puts all the tools you need to manage these workers effectively into their palms, and the palms of their managers. When a culture of using apps like this develops, your workforce becomes more joined up, engaged and focused on collaborative connection and progress.

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Bridge is a learning and performance platform that transforms organizations by bringing together learning, skills and performance in one unified experience.

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