Overcoming The Challenges Of An Aging Field Service Workforce
By Josh Harris and Kelley Isbrandtsen, KloudGin
Field service (FS) organizations face numerous difficulties because of an aging workforce. Chief among those challenges is the collection and storage of organizational knowledge: the cumulative wisdom of field service technicians who, in many cases, have been on the job for decades. In parallel, FS organizations are striving to attract new hires and accurately pass on that knowledge, ensuring first-time fix rates and customer satisfaction are not negatively impacted by new employees’ inexperience.
The aging workforce and associated turnover also impact operational efficiency, customer service, and operating costs. This is due, in part, to many FS companies lacking robust process and/or training documentation.
In many cases, the way a field service organization does business or carries out certain processes (e.g., leak surveys, line location work orders) exists only in the minds of personnel performing the work. Bare-minimum, scripted safety instruction often is the extent of standardized training. But, in terms of understanding what a given work order type entails or how to perform certain tasks efficiently, the quantity and quality of information a new hire receives depends on the senior field tech training them, if one is even available.
As FS work becomes increasingly complex, personnel have higher expectations for their resources, and senior personnel retire or otherwise leave the job, it is imperative that FS organizations prioritize collecting and retaining knowledge — as well as implement a means to make that knowledge accessible to all who need it.
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