Posted on 27 Mar 2015
The Minimum Effective Dose (MED) is a medical term that is becoming used in non-medical environments. It means applying the smallest dose possible to achieve the desired result; and anything beyond that is wasteful. If a cup of water will extinguish a tiny fire it’s overkill, and a waste of resources, to dump a five gallon bucket of water on the flame. MED is relevant in the remote employee telephone timekeeping world as well.
One of the most valuable tools to help manage remote employees is email or text alerts sent to supervisors. Companies can set up two types of alerts:
There is an effective way to handle alerts. It’s the MED of alert management.
All check-in/out alerts are beneficial when monitoring new or “problem” employees. A supervisor receives the alert and then calls the employee on his cell phone, “I see that you just checked in. Is everything going ok?” The employee now knows that eyes are on him. But if these alerts are applied to all employees they can become overwhelming, even a nuisance. A company with 20 employees that work 2 jobs every night would trigger 80 alerts each night. Make it 40 alerts if you don’t set the check-out alerts. That many alerts will eventually become ineffective, not to mention unnecessarily disruptive. The last thing you want is a supervisor turning off all alerts. And why do you need these alerts for Susie? She’s been a solid, faithful employee for 6 years.
On the other hand, create job schedules with late alerts to receive alerts only when employees are a no-show. These are the alerts that really mean something. They indicate that action must be taken to get the job covered. These alerts are the Minimum Effective Dose and their effectiveness must be preserved by limiting unnecessary alerts. If all check-in/out alerts are used for every employee, then these very important late alerts will get lost in a sea of texts or emails.
Any alert received should be actionable. A strategically used check-in/out alert means that the supervisor will randomly follow up with the new or problem employee until the issue is resolved; after which the alert should be stopped. A no-show alert gets a supervisor’s attention so he can get the job covered. And yes, set late alerts for Susie’s schedule too.
Don’t pour a bucket of water on the problem when a wisely employed cup will do. Go for the Minimum Effective Dose. Using alerts effectively will help cure the headaches of managing remote workers.
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