When many of your workers are out on the road making sales calls, meeting with clients, or delivering merchandise, managing their productivity is important. But no one wants to be micromanaged or feel like Big Brother is watching. How do you balance accountability and trust?
Workforce management tools for productivity and privacy
Much of the management strategy for a mobile workforce relies on a combination of the right kinds of tools and the right kinds of relationships. It is important to choose a set of workforce management tools that supports your organization's goals. It is also key to develop a company culture of transparency, accountability, and growth.
One thing that many organizations with mobile workers don't realize is that their method of vehicle reimbursement can actually be a tool that incentivizes productivity and growth and helps build a culture of transparency and trust. The key is to reimburse employees equitably and transparently while supplying them with integrated systems for mileage capture, reimbursement, and customer relations.
Here are steps your organization can take today to facilitate your management of employee productivity while supporting an organizational culture of trust and accountability.
1. Adopt a transparent vehicle reimbursement
Standard car allowances and mileage reimbursements are not transparent ways to offset mobile employees' travel expenses. This is because standard allowances and rates are not based off of your workers' actual vehicle costs. The IRS mileage rate, for example, is based off of a combination of average vehicle costs from the previous year and expected costs for this year.
Because your employees experience different levels of expenses based on where they live and how much they drive, a rate based on the average will not work for everyone. Even worse, taxable car allowances leave most workers short after tax withholding.
The transparent way to reimburse workers is to use a FAVR car allowance, also known as "fixed and variable rate" reimbursement. This method uses localized expense data and a set of algorithms to calculate the appropriate amount for each employee. Employees have the ability to see exactly how their reimbursement was calculated and know that their rate is equitable.
2. Integrate mileage capture with existing systems
If your organization does not use a mobile app that automatically tracks mileage, calculates reimbursements, and imports them into your expensing and payment system, then this would be a great step toward boosting productivity and employee satisfaction. Not only will this approach reduce time spent on administrative tasks, but it will also reduce any tendency to report estimated mileage or unnecessary mileage.
Two of the hidden costs of mileage reimbursement programs are corrected by automation. The first is the valuable time spent on recording and reporting mileage amounts in a spreadsheet – time that can instead be focused on carrying out job responsibilities. The second cost comes from the incentive employees have to report higher mileage amounts than they should because more mileage means higher reimbursements. Automatic tracking and reporting of accurate mileage amounts will mean more productive mileage overall.
It is also possible to improve CRM adoption and use among employees through integration. Employees will all be using the mileage tracking app to obtain their reimbursements. Integration means that trip data can automatically be imported into the CRM, reducing administrative time required to keep the system up to date with trip and customer data.
3. Choose a mileage tracking app that protects privacy
Today's GPS-based mobile apps record mileage in real-time. But in order to avoid making employees feel that they are being watched, choose an app that has a fence between location data and reports sent to the employer.
If the app only uploads the mileage data into the system at the end of every reimbursement period, and only after employees have a chance to review and edit trips as needed, then this adds two layers of privacy protection. This approach extends trust while still offering a convenient mileage capture option.
The mLog app is a good example of an app that automates mileage capture while protecting privacy and integrates with existing systems.
4. Use business reports to inform mobile employees' growth
The trip data of more productive employees can be used to determine the kinds of habits and strategies most suitable to the job. This data can be used to train under-performing employees.
Mileage tracking apps often come with an administrative portal or dashboard that allows users to generate business reports. These are incredibly useful to guide management in the coaching of employees. But management using these reports will only thrive in an organizational culture of transparency and growth. If employees buy in to the idea of continually getting better at their jobs and using data to assist that process, this kind of system can help.
However, transparency starts with the organization as a whole. If employees sense that new technologies are being adopted in order to micromanage them or save the company money at their expense, then the new tools could create an adversarial relationship between managers and employees.
Contact mBurse today to learn more about how to reimburse employees transparently and equitably and to manage the adoption of a new program or technology among valued employees.