Fieldwork is not easy, to say the least. Besides the physical toll it takes on you, working long hours away from your peers can be tough emotionally as well.
Hence, in order to keep your teams working towards the same goal, it’s important to give them a reason to get out of bed, come to work, and deliver their best every single day!
This is only possible when your field workers are satisfied with their jobs. The responsibility, ultimately, lies on the shoulders of the management.
Let’s dive deeper into the role of field service employees, the day-to-day challenges they face and how you, as a Field Services Business Owner can make their lives simpler and happier!
Who are Field Service Workers or Field Force
Field service workers or field force refers to employees or technicians that possess a specialized skill and are licensed to carry out maintenance and repair tasks for residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
Their nature of work includes identifying the issue, all the way to resolving the problem, and making sure the customer is happy with the service delivered.
The field service work is rapidly evolving. From what used to be considered purely as an electrician fixed a downed power line, the field force is now incorporating professionals from all industries that do not fall in line with a desk job work environment.
These include healthcare, salesforce, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, locksmiths, carpenters, builders, painters, gardeners, landscapers, bricklayers, hospitality, retail, hairdressers, and the like.
How tough is Field Service Work - Identifying their life and skills
For a field service worker, most of the day is spent outside the company’s premises, in the field. A typical day involves attending to a given scheduled job and then traveling to the next one until all are done for the day.
The motivation to work can dip due to the day-to-day challenges in the life of a Field Service worker. These include:
Team Collaboration: It can be difficult for the field service workers to keep in touch with the rest of the team or the main office on a regular basis.
Tough Working Conditions: The work hours are long and the time spent is usually in labor-intensive, dirty, and risky work environments not to mention the harsh weather conditions.
Feeling of Isolation: It can also be a challenge for field working to be focusing all their time on work with little or no human interaction.
Obtaining Parts On The Go: Going on the site and finding out a part is missing results in loss of time, energy, and fuel.
Lack of Access in the Field: Tools and procedures that create bottlenecks in the field are a leading source of dissatisfaction for field workers as it inhibits their ability to work efficiently.
Skills required by Field Service Workers:
Thorough knowledge of the job:
While being good at what they do i.e., providing quality service to the clients, is paramount to keep more business coming in and keep customers happy, there is a lot more to the story.
From installing equipment to producing detailed service reports, a field service worker has to troubleshoot and repair equipment, log data of the jobs, handle company vehicles and demonstrate to the client how a piece of given equipment works.
Effective Communication Skills:
Strong and reliable communication skills are the key to making way for team collaboration, understanding the exact needs of the clients, providing timely service, and staying on top of their day-to-day tasks.
Customer Relationship Management:
Your employees are the face of your business as they deal with the clients on a day-to-day basis.
For Field Service workers, it’s important to not just deliver a good service but also be polite, friendly, and open when handling service requests and rectifying complaints. This ensures intelligent customer relationship management and fulfillment of customer expectations.
The days of manually handling every work order are long gone. Your field force employees need to be tech-savvy to be able to effectively adopt new software to carry out the job more efficiently and seamlessly on the go.
Why do field service companies need a policy to take care of their Field Workers
Due to the risky nature of the work field service workers perform, it’s up to the management to take care of their employees to meet their safety and compliance obligations. This is also important to improve employee engagement and achieve goals.
Creating a policy is a great way to not just motivate employees but also ensure that the company’s management is living up to its safety and compliance obligations to protect workers and make sure that jobs are delivered to the highest standards.
However, this policy need not be restricted to safety and compliance alone. There can be a number of other issues that might be addressed to create a well-rounded strategy to take care of workers in the field.
- Introducing methods to save time on the field.
- Conducting training to improve their skill sets.
- Provision of specialized equipment to make work easier, safer and faster.
- Health insurance to cover for injuries while performing work
- Mobile accessibility of all consumer and business data on the go.
- Automating procedures to make way for the correct course of actions to happen on their own.
- Rewards, monetary or otherwise, to increase worker motivation.
Scientifically proven ways to motivate your Field Workers
Your field force is your most valuable asset.
Hence, it’s worth the effort to take your reward system way beyond your employees’ sales performance. To make sure your employees feel good about the job and all team members work harder you need to take a more thoughtful approach.
You should be looking for other ways to increase motivation and employee satisfaction through methods that not just keep their morale high but also tends to serve in the best interest of the business over the long term.
- Empowering workers with field force automation
One of the most powerful tools for employee motivation is to make processes simpler, faster, and error-free for them.
This can be done using Field Service Management solutions like i4T Business, which helps your field force to reduce their time to travel between the site and the office, since they can access all information on their apps, on the go.
This helps them focus on the work at hand, reduces errors due to miscommunication, helps them deliver service more efficiently, and hence improves their overall job motivation.
- Providing incentives that make them feel valued
It would be naïve to think that your field workers would not be motivated by monetary rewards. Yet, this is not the only way.
Adding responsibility to their existing tasks shows that you trust them with new roles or certain projects. They think of themselves as a valuable asset to the business and it increases job motivation and loyalty to the company.
Similarly providing them with training or educational opportunities signals that you want them to build up certain skills and you are looking forward to them becoming an important part of the business in the long run.
- Increasing engagement with recognition
Recognizing an employee’s efforts through positive gestures is a great way of motivating staff. This can include providing them with company-branded gear, inviting them to lunches, providing gift cards, offering a day off, and appreciating them in company newsletters or staff meetings.
The last one is actually a great way of motivating staff since others are motivated as well when they see a certain action is being rewarded.
- Connecting goals across multiple teams
Field technicians work in isolation, away from the main office and this can negatively impact their morale. A great way to boost team motivation is by connecting goals across multiple teams and rewarding each team based on their input or efforts towards achieving that joint goal.
This creates a supportive environment within the organization with everyone given a chance to thrive and everyone contributing towards a positive outcome.
This also helps different teams to learn from each other, build stronger relationships with their colleagues, and overall increase their job satisfaction.
- Optimizing shift work
Making sure that your field workers are not being burnt out with too much work on a day-to-day basis, shift work is a great way to distribute the tasks and still ensure customer demands are being met in a timely fashion.
This also boosts employee productivity, enhances service levels, and results in overall employee wellbeing facilitating their health, safety, and work-life balance.
As you work out strategies to keep your teams motivated, make sure these rewards, tangible or intangible, are actually contributing to the bottom line.
They should have a meaningful impact on how your field force performs on a daily basis.
Also, introduce sustainable motivational tactics, rather than bringing a drastic change that would set expectations too high and confuse employees when you are not able to keep up.
Ultimately, finding out what works best to improve your field service employee motivation has to be tested over a period of time.
However, once you have figured it out, you are sure to see an overall performance improvement since a happy employee is a productive employee.