We hear it all the time: “My company has no need for mobile performance data; we already print it out and put it back of house every morning.”
This mindset is rooted in the twentieth century, and ignorant of the shifting tides of the workforce. Make no mistake: manual data gathering is obsolete.
The difference between placing data on a cramped sheet of paper in a back room and putting it in the palm of an employee’s hand is clear: ownership. When an employee walks past an excel printout taped to a bulletin board, where their performance is typically reduced to a single column out of dozens, it is all too easy to ignore it or to brush it off. An employee is more than a number or a row; yet that’s how they’re represented represented in manual data efforts.
The alternative brings personal coloring to the experience. When an employee has instant access to individually-catered, comprehensive performance reports on their personal device, there is no disputing the results. Phones have become part of identity; the data displayed therein is not something to be dodged if it is not satisfactory; it’s something to be improved upon.
Consider the numbers. There is no way to definitively quantify the engagement levels of a printout; managers must trust employees to set aside time to pore through a dense sheet of figures taped to the wall of a break room. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to estimate what minimal proportion of workers actually do this: most managers readily admit that only 10-20% of employees engage with printed performance reports. Meanwhile, only the top 10% of GMs consistently bother to share that data in the first place, suggesting that only 1-2% of the frontline workforce actually derives any benefit from the practice.
With those numbers, the cost of the paper alone is likely enough to outweigh the minuscule benefit extracted from printouts — never mind the hours of managerial labor dedicated to calculations and printing.
Mobile platforms bring numbers of a completely unprecedented order to the table: up to 90% of servers have been proven to download optional, data-driven performance platforms in a frontline environment, and 80% of users are typically active on a per-shift basis. That’s concrete evidence of access, and even more concrete results: because ownership is driven through mobile access, the consequent impact on performance metrics is massive — 8% to 20% increases are commonplace.
When it comes to manual vs. mobile, it’s not apples to oranges: it’s apples to fossilized berries. Companies that value frontline performance are arriving at the mobile juncture en masse — and those that persist with legacy data systems will quickly lag behind the pack.