Closing the Field Service Talent Gap While Upskilling Veteran Technicians

By Mark E. Engelberg, TimeLinx Software, Inc. –

Automation continues to stake a claim on countless industries. However, field services aren’t one of them. At least, not to the point of mass redundancies any time soon. Field service is fundamentally about people working with people. That’s likely how it’ll stay until the robots can pass for humans.

A more pressing concern for field service providers isn’t intelligent machines; it’s a growing lack of talented people and a shrinking pool of workers. However, with the right approach, service organizations can attract and upskill the right talent while upgrading the technology savvy of senior personnel.

What’s Driving the Field Service Talent Shortage?

Whether they realize it or not—and despite strong industry growth in recent years—the widening skills gap is one of the most urgent challenges facing service companies today.

An aging workforce

Industry research suggests that 70% of service organizations forecast becoming burdened by a retiring workforce over the next five to ten years.

This mass ‘clocking-off’ is set to bring significant experience-drain as knowledgeable senior technicians call it a day and take their valuable, specialized knowledge with them.

Even if field-service providers can replenish workforce numbers, this knowledge-transfer vacuum risks capping the service-delivery potential of newer recruits, starved of the niche experience and training you can’t otherwise easily provide.

Aging Workforce Strategy: Aligning Business, Talent, and Technology

The anxiety caused by a coming mass retirement of field-service personnel is driving many organizations to erroneously focus on millennials and Gen-Z workforce planning.

In fact, loss of manpower to retirement will be gradual. Most organizations will phase through a multi-generational workforce environment that requires carefully catering to different learning and working styles.

Mentoring and connecting a mobile workforce

The shift to a multi-generational workforce will present opportunities with generations, young and old, having something to bring to the table.

The goal should be to preserve the bank of valuable, hard-to-train knowledge to upskill younger talent quickly. This can be achieved through young and senior mentoring schemes.

At the same time, the incoming digital natives can become technology advocates for the veterans, helping them adopt new, smarter processes such as mobile field service management systems that bring significant profitability benefits. This will promote tech-literacy up the chain to older workers.

Tech literacy: old dog, new clever mobility tricks?

The net benefit of a two-way knowledge-share mentoring model between young and senior talent is noticeable—more vital collaboration, team camaraderie, organizational efficiency, and client value.

The challenge won’t be in passing down tricks-of-the-trade knowledge to juniors. It will be in the other direction – gaining technology adoption in senior personnel that may be set in their ways.

Let Your Young Talent Bring TimeLinx Mobility to Your Field Veterans

TimeLinx SmartMobile™ and new Mobile Apps for iOS and Android combine mobile CRM with TimeLinx PSM to bring full-featured mobile service delivery to the multi-generational workforce.

As we all have mobile devices today, teams can quickly learn to use the mobile apps to:

  •  Easily capture time and expense data on the fly in the field
  •  Contribute to revenue optimization efficiency
  • Stay updated on assigned tasks and schedules without constant phone calls
  • Capture and share project-side detailed work records and photos
  • Easily edit prior timesheets without manager interventions
  • And more…

Even your least tech-savvy field veterans will take to a mobile environment without friction as there are benefits to them and the company. Because your young, fresh talent can help get them on board.

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