As a service business owner or operator, you’re juggling many variables daily. Fundamentally, you must focus on serving your customers with excellence, and one way to accomplish this is to recruit the best staff in the industry. However, there is one challenge. According to Aberdeen, field service organizations identified skill shortages as a top current market pressure. More specifically, 45% of these organizations are struggling with an aging workforce as the baby boomer generation gradually moves towards retirement.1 Luckily, there are a few guidelines to follow to attract the top-notch talent of tomorrow, starting today.
Why the Right Talent Matters
In an industry where technicians interface with customers daily – problem-solving and often saving the day – they have a direct and immediate impact to the customer experience. With an aging workforce and turnover, knowledge retention is a risk to a service organization’s performance so it’s important now more than ever to think about the future of your staffing needs.2 So, how will you attract the next generation of technicians to serve your customers and exceed expectations? Preparing now for the future, especially when it comes to streamlining the workflow for field technicians, will reap rewards as staffing becomes increasingly difficult.
How Technology Factors into Staffing
It’s no secret that technology is what makes the world go around today. So, let’s consider how the lack of technology can make your field technicians’ job more difficult and make it harder to recruit top talent.
Without the proper infrastructure to help technicians on the front-lines, you can’t truly empower your workforce to drive excellent results when serving customers. If your technician is spending a quarter of their day on administrative tasks that could be automated or simplified via a software solution, frustrations are bound to mount. Couple that with the expectations of a potential employee who is already used to an automated and connected mobile solution and your business is suddenly perceived as operating in the dark ages.
Understanding the technicians’ point of view and what motivates them daily verifies the importance of having the right systems in place. Most technicians enter the role because they like fixing things and problem-solving, not being bogged down in administrative tasks. The more technology infrastructure you can integrate into your business to alleviate the “paperwork,” the happier your technicians will be, and the easier it is to recruit new employees, especially since many technicians find their jobs via referrals. If they hear positive comments from their friends, they will be more inclined to join the ranks of the field service company.
Remember, you want to empower your field technicians with tools that make their jobs more efficient, especially when it comes to administrative tasks. We live in a digital world with smartphones that have computing capabilities and fit into our pockets. Think of how mobile technology can play a role in a field technician’s day, saving them time, frustration, and providing access to much-needed information. Already, many organizations have deployed some form of mobile application for their technicians.3 Of course, some solutions are more robust than others, however companies should ensure their technicians have access to service manuals, parts/inventory availability, customer history, quoting capabilities, time tracking, etc., which can all make a technician’s day easier.
Understanding Your Future Employee
Let’s say you have a strong system in place, how exactly do you prepare for the next generation of field service technicians beyond the technology? Just as Baby Boomers received Generation X and Y into the workforce and had to figure out how to manage them, it’s important for field service companies to recognize the personas of their future employees, which includes Millennials, as Boomers retire. There are a few core considerations to help your company understand how to attract field technicians with 10 years or less experience. Figure out why they got into the industry in the first place, what motivates them, and what will keep them loyal to a company.
Since many of these technicians fall into the category of Millennials, you can easily assume they are tech savvy and that they’ll want to work primarily on a smartphone or tablet. Millennials have grown up in a connected world and will want to collaborate with colleagues within the company to avoid isolation. That’s again where technology comes into play and can become a viable asset in attracting (and keeping) the best talent.
Are you ready to position your field service company to attract the industry’s most talented problem-solvers to serve your customers with excellence? If so, starting with a plan of how to integrate the right technology to empower your technicians and cut down on ineffective administrative time is a great first step.
Contact Jolt Consulting Group today to assess your options and plan for your future staff…starting today!
1,2,3 “The Evolved Technician has New Tools of Communication.” Aberdeen, May 2014.