4 Staffing Challenges in Field Service Management

Blog, Field Service, SMB, Subcontractor Management, Technology Trends

Last updated Nov 2, 2023 at 7:23PM | Published on Oct 28, 2019 | Blog, Field Service, SMB, Subcontractor Management, Technology Trends

It’s no question in any field service management business that staffing is critical. If you don’t have the right technicians, you can’t provide great service. And you can’t have high expectations if you don’t have systems and processes in place to give your technicians a chance to succeed. It’s why the industry has turned to give technicians what they need to succeed. That includes things like field service software and mobile field service apps. Tools they can use every day to operate efficiently.

However, today’s managers have a tough challenge. There is a shortage of skilled technicians to hire and new candidates are not entering the field as they did before. Under the best conditions, hiring isn’t easy. But put in shortage problems, increased expectations and a transforming industry, it’s quickly turned into one of the largest challenges in field service management. Baby boomers are leaving and are not being replaced fast enough by millennials. In order to find success in hiring, managers need to adjust their focus. And also how they go about selling field service to the next generation.

Challenge: New hires don’t meet previous set standards

Managers who are hiring new technicians are faced with the challenge that these new hires don’t come with the same experience as their older or current ones. With the talent pool being so small, applicants for new jobs may not have the skills or experience a manager would want. But that leaves hiring managers in a tough spot. Do they take on an inexperienced technician, or do they keep looking to hire someone else?

With field service management needing skilled workers, managers are having to re-evaluate the education and job experience required. At one point, an advanced degree and years of experience weren’t needed to get into the field. Plenty of baby boomers who are currently completing some of the toughest jobs don’t have the education that managers require today. So, why is it a requirement now? One of the largest challenges is, new technicians need experience, but can’t get experience because they can’t find a job. Again, previously experience wasn’t needed for entry-level positions. So by changing the requirements to what they were previously, your application pool will grow.

Furthermore, the standards have changed, and millennials come with an increased knowledge of mobile solutions and technology. Those mobile apps they use will come second nature to them. That’s time you can save training them on mobile apps and instead, focusing on the hands-on skills.

Challenge: Training new technicians the same way as before

As technology changes, so too, does the training for that technology. But some new hires are still being trained the same way as before, rather than using modern tools to do so. Perhaps your field service management team isn’t ready for Augmented Reality (AI) or Virtual Reality (VR) just yet. But their are innovative ways to train new technicians that were not available previously. As baby boomers start to transition out of the workplace, managers need to start thinking of new technology to train the future of their business.

Further, with millennials well versed in mobile technology, embracing mobile field service apps is a quick way to get new hires up and running. The knowledge of all your older technicians can be accessed on the mobile field service app through service history. Also, many field service management teams are building training libraries for new hires to access. They can learn on the job because they are more connected than the previous generation was before.

Challenge: Field service isn’t for new talent

One of the hardest challenges to overcome is promoting field service careers to millennials. It was a generation that was told they needed an advanced degree and weren’t looking at the trades like their parents were. But with their parents retiring, those good-paying jobs are wide open with no one to fill them. In this new technology age, managers need to be connecting with new hires through different means. Use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get jobs in front of new eyes. This will increase the talent pool by putting the jobs in front of the eyes of the people you want to hire. Sometimes, you need to put it right in front of someone to get them to see it.

Field service management also needs to do a better job of selling the parts of the job a younger generation will want. Job security and good wages are a great start, but so is being on the leading edge of new technology, mobile field service apps and AI and VR solutions. It’s no longer a world where a job ad will produce the right candidate. Field service management teams need to inspire the talent they hire and sell their field and why it’s the best career choice.

Challenge: Need to reduce cost despite plenty of work

The reason there is a staffing problem is that there is a lot of work. That’s a great problem to have most of the time. But in a world where you can’t get enough technicians hired to perform service, it can escalate into a massive problem for the business. Especially when you consider the number of competitors is growing and customers have high expectations and will go to someone else quickly. On top of that, reducing costs due to smaller margins is a must in field service management. So, paying full-time employees might be out of the question.

To combat this challenge, you may have to look outside of full-time staff and look into part-time staff or subcontractors. With subcontractors, you hire them when jobs are available and reduce costs when they aren’t being used. Many field service management businesses are now operating entirely with subcontractor workforces. And because of the mobile field service app, they are treated just like any normal employee would. They have the same access, the same requirements and can access the same information. In the end, it means the work is completed faster for less cost to the business. And if a business wants to expand, they can find subcontractors with special skills in that area in order to grow the business.

Field Service Management has solutions for staffing

Whether you are facing one or all of these challenges in staffing, there are solutions for field service management teams. And they can get the people they need. It’s a new generation with different kinds of technicians. You can either embrace who they are and attract them to your business, or hope things work out of the best. Leaders in field service management make changes and tackle challenges with solutions. That includes embracing more technology, including mobile applications and field service software, to get the people they want.