Resources for Managers

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The mobile workforce is tied not only to where they are (or aren’t) but also to their use of technology and the way they, and their managers, think.

But how do managers hire, lead and support this workforce? Managing the Mobile Workforce (McGraw-Hill, 2011) by David Clemons and Michael Kroth focuses on how to create “a trusted, supportive work environment for employees” and how to build commitment among teammates who may see each other rarely, if at all.

The book examines issues such as:

Developing a mobile workforce strategy. Evaluate whether your organization is a good candidate for a mobile work environment and what the benefits and costs of a mobile workforce truly are. Learn about different types of mobile technology platforms and how they can be integrated with your current business systems.

Learning what a mobile workforce is—and what it isn’t. The authors debunk ideas about the mobile workforce. Working away from the office will help, not harm, employees’ careers, they argue, and allowing employees to be mobile will help employers. They also argue that workers and the products of their work don’t have to be in the same physical space.

Creating presence. For the mobile workforce, being present isn’t about physical proximity. Presence means the feeling that someone or something is close by, and technology can create real social presence among employees and between them and managers. That presence is the bedrock of trust and motivation, the authors say.

Building trust. Readers learn specific techniques for building trust among team members via technology.

Leading in a virtual environment. Managers and other leaders can learn to analyze their organizations’ mobile readiness and fit the idea of telework into the bigger picture of strategic planning. The book encourages leaders to create a “platform for mobile work” that integrates hardware and software choices with policies and procedures as well as strategic plans and competencies.

Managing the mobile workforce’s performance. Readers get a performance management process tailored for mobile workers and including aspects of mobile performance such as whether the available technology is fully supporting the job. Principles for motivating this workforce. Clemons and Kroth offer an eight-point list, from setting challenging goals to demonstrating real care for employees.

Throughout the book, readers get access to additional, free content they can access on mobile devices.

This book can be purchased from the SHRMStore.


Your team’s priorities conflict with those of another team that is essential to your project. Or a process that once was vital now seems outdated or inefficient. Or one person needed for a key decision is away, and you can’t progress until she returns. In any of these cases, you need a workaround.

In Workarounds That Work (McGraw-Hill, 2011), author Russell Bishop explains how to assess the roadblocks that pop up and how to get over or around them. He includes ample examples of workplace workarounds, but also looks at the broader causes of roadblocks.

One cause of roadblocks is being overwhelmed with too many tasks or tasks that don’t truly matter. Bishop advises readers how to manage tasks and set priorities. Another source of roadblocks is the myopia that comes from people focusing only on their own or their unit’s performance.

Bishop looks at how communication problems get in the way, and he provides steps for setting communication responsibilities, consequences for missed deadlines, and clear definitions for milestones and desired outcomes. Other roadblocks include the need for consensus, meetings with no value, mounds of e-mail, bureaucratic processes, and criticism and resistance.

This book can be purchased from the SHRMStore.


Social media are unavoidable, and businesses that once said they don’t need social media are now wondering how to harness social media for business success.

How can companies use social media for marketing? For customer support and customer feedback? To drive product development? In The Social Media Management Handbook (John Wiley & Sons, 2011), Nick Smith, Robert Wollan and Catherine Zhou devise strategies for using social media and integrating them in all parts of the organization.

The Social Media Management Handbook first examines why some bosses balk at social media: They worry, rightly, about the media’s ubiquity, its lack of regulation, its shift of power to consumers, and the way its speed accelerates decision-making.

The book then delves into:

  • How to set business goals for use of social media (with examples) and determine metrics to measure success of social media use.
  • How to look at the return on investment (ROI) of social media, especially a new ROI measure called “customer health”—the value of a customer to the organization.
  • How to “sell social media within the organization,” appealing to top brass and getting them behind social media initiatives.
  • How to use social media to get better customer feedback that’s mostly free and comes in a digital form that’s easily mined for data.
  • How to handle the difficulties of high-volume, digitized customer feedback, such as the anonymity of comments and the difficulty of deciding which media to use for soliciting feedback.
  • How to prepare employees to use social media as a workplace tool and how to adjust current roles to reflect new responsibilities related to social media (such as “social media marketing campaign manager” or “social customer service strategist”).

This book can be purchased from the SHRMStore.

Compiled by Leigh Rivenbark, a freelance writer and editor in Vienna, Va.

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