With the retirement of baby boomers and the influx of millennials, now the largest generation in America, field service organizations are facing new challenges in recruiting, retaining and ramping up a new generation of workers.
In this post, we will cover what you can do to successfully recruit millennials to field service, transfer tribal knowledge from your seasoned technicians, and retain your new workers.
Step 1: Recruit Millennials to Field Service – Go Digital!
When looking to recruit millennials to field service, you certainly can’t do it the same way you did when recruiting baby boomers. There is a big focus on digital transformation across field service, and that should also apply to your recruiting techniques.
Your website is one of the first places that applicants will land and it should be modern, easy to navigate and do a good job of representing your brand. When applicants are ready to apply, are they able to do so through your website, LinkedIn, or other platforms like Indeed and Glassdoor? Online applications are standard today and it doesn’t bode well for applicants if their first interactions with your company are outdated.
By presenting your company as forward-thinking and digitally tuned-in, and even leveraging social media to do so, you can grab the attention of job-seeking digital natives.
Step 2: Transfer Knowledge to Your New Workforce – Communication is Key!
In field services, seasoned technicians with years of job experience are the gatekeepers of their company’s knowledge. Effectively transferring this knowledge and know-how on to a new generation of workers is critical to preventing a drop in productivity and customer satisfaction.
According to the Harvard Business Review, expert departures can have significant impacts on the business in terms of:
- Relationships – experts know who the other experts are, as well as when to use them
- Reputation – customers may doubt your company’s capabilities if their experience with a newer employee doesn’t compare to their experience with a former, more seasoned employee
- Re-work – new hires have to spend time learning things the departing employee already knew (regardless of how much new knowledge that new employee brings)
Facilitating communication is key to mitigating these issues. You can create an open dialogue between the pros and new hires with regular in-person job shadowing as well as a real-time mobile communications app. Using an app like Zinc that is purpose-built for field service will allow your teams to share tribal knowledge, keep track of important information, and reach out to experts for help at any time. By communicating and collaborating throughout the day, millennial workers can absorb tribal knowledge and pick up where experienced technicians leave off after retirement.
Step 3: Retain Millennial Field Service Workers – Technology, Inclusion, Advancement!
Millennials expect and require modern technology to do their jobs and will specifically look for employers that offer cutting edge tools. And in today’s field service environment, going digital is quite advantageous for the business.
Equipping technicians with the right information at the right time is the key to better outcomes. Cloud-based field service solutions like ServiceMax and ClickSoftware have revolutionized field service operations, boosting key metrics like productivity and customer sat, as well as making the job more enjoyable for technicians (buh-bye hours of paperwork). Technicians rely on these solutions to receive real-time alerts, troubleshoot repairs, access product information online, and more.
As technology advances, offerings such as IoT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will only further enable a higher level of service in the field.
While your existing workforce might be happy simply punching in and getting the job done, the newer generation of workers wants to feel informed and connected to the company’s vision, mission, and goals. Make sure to keep millennials in-the-know on company performance and share how their contributions have helped the company meet its goals and objectives.
Additionally, provide opportunities for your millennial workforce voice their opinions as well as receive feedback on their work. Lastly, you can leverage their desire to be a part of something greater to create an exceptional customer experience. For example, technicians aren’t just fixing MRI machines, they are ensuring that thousands of patients get the critical care they need.
Lastly, Millennials have aspirations for career advancement and professional development. If you want to retain millennial workers, it’s critical to find paths for advancement. Whether through pay structure or role progression, find a way for these workers to feel challenged and move up the ladder so that they don’t have to rely on job-hopping to advance their careers.
Recruit, Retain, Repeat
Digital transformation is critical to all service industries and companies who dive in are able to differentiate themselves from other vendors with exceptional customer service, create new business opportunities to increase revenue, and of course, recruit and retain the next generation of workers.
While more businesses are adopting field service and asset management solutions each day, purpose-built communication applications aren’t on everyone’s radar.
Zinc, now part of ServiceMax, has been pioneering the first real-time communication app built for service teams, with great results to show for it. Zinc connects technicians in real time with the information, experts, and resources needed to drive business results, via text, voice, video, content sharing, push-to-talk and broadcasts in one dead-simple, mobile-first solution.
Using Zinc, companies like DISH, Exelon, Cincinnati Bell, Vivint, and BioTek have improved key metrics like time to repair, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.