More than half of all businesses are now using both independent contractors and full-time employees. Upwork’s 2018 freelancer study puts the number at 69%. This mix of employee and non-employee talent is known as a blended workforce, and it helps companies respond to changes in seasonal demand and fill coverage gaps.
Managing a blended workforce comes with its own logistical challenges, however. How do your dispatchers and project managers organize work orders between full-time employees and contract workers? How do they communicate with the entire team to ensure every work order gets done? We saw a need among our clients to manage their traditional employees alongside their Field Nation Marketplace contractors. That’s why we now offer Field Nation ONE, a platform that lets you manage your entire project in one place. Here are the biggest challenges in managing a blended workforce, and how we help our clients overcome them.
Meet On-Site Communication Challenges with Centralized Messaging
Seamless communication is the key to completing your field projects successfully. You need to be able to share clear expectations for deliverables and specific work instructions. It’s also important to document messages acknowledging changes or agreements. This gets difficult when you have different channels to talk to your employees and your contractors.
Field Nation ONE bridges that gap by putting all communication in one place. You can communicate with the boots on the ground without having to be onsite or try to track down documents from separate systems. If a work order has an incomplete step, you can see what happened by checking what messages were posted and when the technician checked in and out. Even on large-scale projects, nothing gets overlooked.
Manage Contractors and Employees Simultaneously
Field Nation ONE offers a birds-eye view for any technical projects. Dispatchers and project managers can view live work order status updates and uploaded deliverables using the platform. They can even see specific tasks in real-time as the technician progresses through the work order in our Android and iOS mobile apps.
Many field service providers communicate with dispatchers and project managers through company email. Contractors may only appear as a list of phone numbers on an Excel sheet. Disparate communication methods often result in things falling through the cracks. Instead, Field Nation lets you manage your entire blended workforce team in one place. No surprises, and no redundancy.
Automate Dispatch and Payment for a Blended Workforce
Field Nation offers automated tools that make dispatch and payments easy. You can make work orders available to employees first. Set a time limit, at which point all unaccepted orders get sent to the pool of contractors. Use this to get the most out of your salaried staff, manage your team’s growth, and expand your business. Unaccepted orders are automatically posted to the Field Nation marketplace of skilled technicians. The tool is also robust enough to assign work orders based on rules that you configure. Take on projects knowing that your team will be utilized first and gaps in coverage or skill will be covered.
You can automate your payment processes, too. Assign a value to work orders that are paid on completion. Values can also be set for different types of workers.
Get Ahead of Problems with Improved Visibility and Analytics
A single project management tool can let you direct your blended workforce and see everything that’s going on at once. First, field technicians download the project management app. The app ensures that techs can’t continue to the next step without completing the first step. Project managers can set a verification step by requiring workers to scan a package or take a photo.
The tool lets project managers see how long on average it takes team members to accept a work order. They can also see how many W2 employees and contractors are used on a project, and adjust as needed.
Make Better Decisions with Data
By adding your entire team into one project management tool, companies gain full visibility. They also get robust reporting capabilities they otherwise wouldn’t have had. By viewing all work in one place, companies are able to better manage their bandwidth, expand their business, and grow with Field Nation. Field Nation’s analytics tools even show pricing variances from region to region. This can guide managers in raising or lowering bids based on previous work orders and historical data.
Another powerful tool is the ability to track at-risk work orders. The dashboard helps the project manager identify work orders that go uncompleted and may be in a remote or hard-to-service area. This can take a project from the expected 90% completion rate closer to 100%.
Analytics, Automation, and Visibility
The key to managing a blended workforce is to centralize, analyze, and automate your projects. Field Nation built Field Nation ONE to manage your W2 employees, vendors, and Field Nation service providers from one simple platform.