Promoting Front-Line Collaboration to Increase Profit

Promoting Front-Line Collaboration to Increase Profit: Leveraging HR Technology to Support Innovative Crew Management​

By Diana Walker, Project Manager, GroupeX Solutions

In some way, every employee in the for-profit sector has a “purpose” that is connected to the corporate goal of making a profit. With a recent improvement in the WorkForce Software (WFS) platform, organizations now have exciting opportunities to support innovative pay incentive programs for front-line workers that align with this goal.

Technology-aided productivity improvement in the workplace has been a journey. From technology introduction to business in the 80s and 90s, to widespread adoption of high-tech software solutions for daily business, high-speed connectivity, and advances in workplace collaboration, the past 20 years have been a whirlwind of improvement, which leads us to ask, “Where next?”

In a 2012 Harvard Business review article, Tammy Erickson pointed out that emerging technology “only improves productivity if it is accompanied by concurrent changes in the way work is done.” Collaborative technology and trends toward workspace changes have facilitated progress, but it isn’t enough to remove cubicles and locate employees into a group workspace setting, nor to load the latest software on their laptops. They need to be personally motivated to communicate collaboratively, share common goals, respect each other’s values, embrace their purpose, recognize the alignment of their objectives with corporate goals, and feel validated by fair compensation.

Claire Madden, Australian researcher and author specializing in generational engagement, predicted in 2015 that “effective organizations, brands and workplaces of the future will understand the opportunity of leveraging technologies, fostering innovation and embracing collaboration.”

Front-line workers often work in ad hoc teams or crews. Is it possible to foster collaboration in a team construct whose makeup is constantly changing? Is it possible to harness core business workers’ desire and motivation to work at their peak productivity, without crossing any Health & Safety boundaries? People have physical limits, but mindset and group motivation might be an untapped opportunity to providing improvement in productivity, within those physical limits.

At GroupeX Solutions, we often implement team-based incentives for our customers with the WFS platform, but the typical scenario would involve a static team construct with stable reporting lines, which allows for distinct, easily definable sharing of the incentive across all team members. Often, these teams are indeed on the front lines. Until recently, it has not been possible to implement similar incentive programs for crews that have frequently changing membership. That challenge went away with the v17.3 WFS platform introduction of Crew Management and Foreman App standard functionality.

Crew Management allows for designation of a team of workers, quite possibly formed ad hoc for a day. Foreman App facilitates time capture for that crew on rugged handheld devices that are suitable for environments where front-line workers are often located (e.g. in fields, on heavy equipment, in remote areas), and Crew Management transmits that data to the WFS cloud for inclusion in timesheets.

Team incentive calculations are made possible by virtue of the crew-for-a-day definition. For example, if team incentives involve rewards across the team for volume of output by the crew that day, the reward is distributed across the crew members at timesheet level, regardless of what crew the workers happen to be on the next day (i.e., quite possibly not together with the same crew as yesterday). The functionality is tailorable to the uniqueness of an organization’s incentive program.

Continuous improvement is both a marvel and a challenge, requiring innovative thinking and the understanding that there is always room for further improvement. Each stride leads to applaudable improvements. GroupeX is excited about the new Crew Management / Foreman App functionality because of the potential it offers organizations in terms of continuous improvement focused on collaboration on the front lines and productivity gains where contribution to profit is direct.

If you are interested in discussing how Crew Management / Foreman App might facilitate a team incentive program that you are considering implementing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts.

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