In the last decade or so, the world has witnessed tremendous technological advancements. Finding applications across diverse industries, the GPS technology too has evolved and reached to every household during the same period. The common perception that GPS is only used for navigation too has changed during this period, with more and more people and businesses using it as a safety and tracking tool. Sales-driven businesses and all those businesses that run a fleet are, in particular, making good use of GPS technology to track and manage their field force and drivers, respectively. This way, they are reaping significant benefits such as reduced costs, improved efficiency, and increased time effectiveness among the employees, to name a few.
Despite the obvious benefits of GPS tracking, it is not so easy for the businesses to introduce this concept to their employees, who may be apprehensive regarding getting “tracked”, or being “spied upon” at all times. The sales representatives or the drivers are well within their rights to feel that by implementing the GPS tracking system, their organization is invading their privacy, or showing that it distrusts them. It is natural of them to have reservations about something they have never used, and these reservations may make them resist the implementation of this technology. Hence, it is important to ensure that the employees and the management are on the same page from the beginning regarding the use of a GPS tracking system.
The management, on its part, can avoid the things mentioned below before introducing GPS tracking to their employees, and ensure a smooth transition:
- Keeping it a secret: One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is hiding the decision to implement GPS tracking from its employees. This gives birth to speculations, assumptions and eventually, employee backlash. Instead, the management must let the employees know about their decision early by directly addressing each one of them together in a common gathering. Transparency between management and the employees is the foundation of any successful business. So, once you make the decision to implement GPS tracking system, don’t delay conveying it to the employees. Tell them how it works, and list a few prominent benefits such as route optimization, improved safety, and better time management, among others.
- Misleading them: They say, half-truths are even more dangerous than a lie. So when you decide to introduce your employees to GPS tracking, be honest and forthright, as concealing any vital information will mislead them. Tell them why the business needs to use a GPS tracking system, how its absence is hampering the efficiency and wasting organizational resources, and how by having it the business can deal with these challenges effectively. Make them understand that its purpose is not to keep a tab on them, or it’s being implemented because there’s a lack of trust, and the employees will understand why the business needs it.
- Not giving them enough time to think: Not giving the employees enough time to think about the prospective GPS tracking system implementation is yet another thing management must avoid. Once the employees are briefed about the system, its functioning, and its benefits to them as well as the business on the whole, they must be given some time to think over it, and come back with the feedback, concerns, etc. By doing this exercise, the management can be assured of greater employee participation, which eventually may translate into the system’s acceptance.
- Keeping it one-way traffic: While introducing your employees to GPS tracking, make sure the conversation is not a one-way Make it inclusive, ask them to raise questions and concerns, hear them out, and address their concerns. You need to understand that the concerns they have are justified, and hence make that extra effort to make them understand it is not about doubting their work ethics at all. It is about increasing organizational productivity. So, approach their concerns with care and compassion, brainstorm to find out mutually agreeable solutions, and make sure everyone’s on the same page before the implementation.
- Not backing your decision with facts & figures: Another common mistake that can be avoided while introducing the employees to GPS tracking system is not backing your decision to implement the system with facts and figures. It is your job to convince the employees about the system’s utility, and by merely stating that the system is good and easy to use, you can’t convince them. The best way to do that is by using relevant examples, statistics, case studies, etc., so that it becomes easier for the employees to understand.
- Not helping them embrace the change: The management must avoid not helping the employees embrace the change. The employees are accustomed to doing their job in a certain manner, and suddenly when they come to know about the implementation of GPS tracking system, they fear that they’ll have to adapt to a new way of working. Firstly, the management must ensure that the employees are being given proper training about how the system works and how its features can help make their job easier and achieve the business goals. Secondly, the management must respond to the “what’s in it for me?” question from the employees with an incentive. For ex: Sales businesses can offer their field force a bonus if they meet their targets on time, or the fleet businesses may reward the drivers who meet the requirements of safe driving — using the GPS tracking system.
- Neglecting the need to establish policy changes: Most importantly, with the change in the way the employees work as the new system comes in, you must have clear policies established that outline what the new expectations from the employees are, and what the consequences for non-compliance of the same can be. By knowing what is expected of them, the employees will be better placed to adhere to the set policies. This way, there won’t be any employee backlash when the drivers or salespersons are held accountable for not acting in accordance with the company policies.
Even as the GPS technology continues to help businesses in different ways, fleet as well as sales-driven businesses struggle with introducing GPS tracking to their employees, and presenting it in the right way so as to gain their acceptance. This blog, with its useful tips on what to avoid before introducing GPS tracking to the employees, is a good read for all such businesses.
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