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By Brian Wallace | June 23, 2021

Two Reasons Why It’s Time for Branch Networks to Adapt Their Mobile Workforce Platforms, Plus Eight Things to Confirm When Choosing a Solution

At a minimum, managers and employees must have secure anytime, anywhere connectivity for self-service, scheduling and more if you want them to be successful in today’s financial environment.

The pandemic has rapidly accelerated mobile technology adoption, with many customers in banking and other industries shifting toward doing their business online. Indeed, public demand for greater mobile enablement via texting, smartphone apps, and social media platforms has been seemingly limitless.

COVID-19 certainly drove more banking consumers online and, fortunately, banks have provided them with interactive platforms to do what they need to do without having to step foot in a building, visit the drive-thru, or walk up to an ATM. Yet bank managers have been historically hesitant to provide mobile tools to their own employees. Nevertheless, branch employees are also consumers of these technologies and would become more productive and engaged with mobile tools at their fingertips.  

Mobile workforce management solutions that allow managers to quickly schedule and communicate with staff help drive greater corporate-to-employee alignment. These 24/7 self-service tools also empower workers to better manage their own schedules and are the simplest way for managers and employees to collaboratively modify and optimize schedules when needed due to customer demand variances or personal conflicts that arise as part of everyday life (i.e., a sick child).

Instead of spending hours in the back room, manually creating labor schedules for employees, mobile scheduling tools automate the scheduling process, providing branch managers with precise labor schedules that account for all of the variables that typically complicate this task. From anywhere in the branch, managers can leverage forecasting and configurable scheduling rules powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to improve scheduling accuracy and make sure branches are leveraging each team member in the most effective way possible.

Mobile-enabled labor scheduling tools also make it easier to forecast labor needs during disruptions, such as weather events, public health crises, and planned branch closures or consolidations. Instead of guessing how many people actually need to come in to account for shifts in customer traffic, branch managers can review the recommendations automatically generated via the AI algorithms on their mobile devices and simply make minor revisions or last-minute adjustments as the dynamics of the situation change or employee availability is confirmed. For example, the system may recommend a particular person come in on Monday. However, that person may be unable to get to the branch safely due to flooding in low-lying areas surrounding his or her neighborhood. Or perhaps someone has trouble lining up childcare due to a school closure. With this type of intelligence and flexibility, it becomes easier to foresee, communicate and address issues to avoid scheduling conflicts or call-outs.


Plus, mobile self-service and real-time communication solutions provide branch employees with the ability to manage their schedules and send messages to managers and colleagues in real time so they don’t have to waste time tracking down managers or waiting for their next shift to get schedules adjusted. All they have to do is login to an app on their mobile devices to check or manage their schedules while in the branch or at home. It only takes a few minutes to see if anyone wants to swap shifts or request time off. The best part? Their requests are immediately sent to managers who can approve or deny them at the press of a button.

In other words, using a real-time mobile communication solution means that management, corporate leaders, and employees can all communicate through the same system at any time. If a manager misses a notification on their phone for a time-off request, the branch employee can send a quick message following up. If employees are confused about a new activity they have to complete at the branch, they can send a quick message to their managers requesting clarification on what they’re supposed to do.

All of this makes branch employees more productive and makes them feel like they have more control over their schedules and the activities they’re completing at the branch. It improves employee engagement as well as retention rates. It also saves time, money, and effort for both the employees and management.

What Should I Look for in Mobile Branch Scheduling and Communication Solutions?

When picking a mobile solution set for workforce management, employee self-service, and/or communications, confirm it is…

  1. mobile native with connectivity enabled to any approved device. This is critical to ensuring managers and employees can interact with the system anytime, anywhere.
  2. enterprise class. The mobile solution must be robust and scale up to your demands, now and in the future.
  3. deployment friendly. This reduces the risk of implementation issues such as data inconsistency or incompatibility during the rollout and helps lower the total cost of ownership.
  4. able to automate the workflow. The system should offer an integrated set of mobile workflows to enhance efficiency and support streamlined processes in and out of the office.
  5. configurable. Managers/administrators should be able to easily adjust the user interface, workflow and other features for the branch network’s particular needs.
  6. secure. Make sure the solution vendor has all the requisite certifications and best practices in place to protect your data.
  7. able to provide network level visibility. Managers and administrators should be able to see all users on the network and confirm their devices and apps are compliant and fully provisioned.
  8. capable of flexible integration. Like any system, a mobile application used for workforce management requires certain data sets to be fed into it to properly generate actionable insights. It may also need to feed captured data into payroll, time and attendance and other related platforms.

The Takeaway

Despite historic concerns and hesitancy to adopt mobile tools within branch settings, the market is pushing banks to accept and embrace mobile workforce enablement. While not a decision for managers to make without a careful plan, it is a decision that should be made without delay. Those who adopt mobility solutions sooner than later will be in a better position to support and retain their employees, now and into the future.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit our website or contact our team. We’ll be happy to discuss the unique branch challenges your organization is facing and how mobile workforce management and real-time communication solutions can provide you with the tools you need for success.

Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace

Brian Wallace serves as the General Manager of Banking at Reflexis, which was acquired by Zebra in 2020. He has over 20 years of experience developing and executing operational strategy and technology solutions across both retail and banking. 

Brian founded the Branch Workforce Planning team at JPMorgan Chase, transforming its capabilities to deliver improved scheduling practices, regulatory compliance, wait times and customer satisfaction. While at The Home Depot, Brian was responsible for over $250MM of cost savings through driving efficiencies across store operations, supply chain, and merchandising.

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