Almost all HVAC businesses are facing an ageing workforce crisis. The stress test is being put on these businesses due to incoming Millennial generation of technicians and it’s forcing managers to look for solutions. With younger technicians only staying for short periods of time, HVAC software is being used regularly to help combat the challenges that come with a smaller workforce. And one scenario that is being put into motion is using a blended workforce, whose management is handled by HVAC field service software.
According to PEW Research, 10,000 Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age every day. This puts pressure on field service businesses to adjust their service delivery tactics to accommodate an ageing workforce. That’s because this workforce can, at any moment, decide to call it a career and take with them all the knowledge they have about your business. And having your most experienced technicians walk out the door without a way to retain that knowledge has left some in the HVAC industry scrambling to find a solution. So, they have decided on a two-pronged approach to solving the crisis. Firstly, by using HVAC software to retain knowledge and optimize the young service team they have. Secondly, by blending their workforce with subcontractors to handle additional or out-of-scope work.
HVAC Software Supports Millennial Generation
Say what you will about the Millennial generation, they are taking over in the field service industry. Unfortunately, they aren’t staying around long. According to Field Service News, Millennials are unlikely to remain in their current role for longer than two years. This puts more pressure on an already overburdened system, as HVAC managers combat their older generation leaving and Millennials not staying. So, it’s more important now, than ever before, to generate a proper service history. That’s because will constant turnover comes a loss of knowledge. And HVAC managers are doing everything they can to retain that knowledge for the overturns of technicians they will have.
What are some of the knowledge loss?
- Solutions for recurring repairs
- Customer expectations and relationships
- Familiarity with older systems and technology
- Alternative solutions for repairs
These technicians, however, are performing specialty work. They are completing the installations, the difficult repair jobs and dealing with the most important customers. HVAC businesses are not handing their most important clients off to subcontractors, but rather are keeping them in house. With HVAC field service software, they are scheduling and dispatching them faster than before. And they are ensuring that complex repairs are remaining inside the business, rather than outsourcing them.
Subcontractors Taking on the Recurring and Simple Tasks
The second-pronged approach when using a blended workforce is to use subcontractors for recurring and simple work. Rather than dispatching in-house technicians for a basic repair or inspection, managers are using HVAC software to manage a large group of subcontractors to complete the work for them. That’s because, with HVAC software, supported by field service mobile apps, managers can keep tight control on these technicians working with their customers.
How you can monitor subcontractors with HVAC software:
- Watch the progression of their work through real-time updates on work orders
- Monitor their driving and route selection with GPS, Geofencing and routing apps
- Provide checklists for them to complete to follow as a step-by-step guide
- Require customer signatures and sign-offs on particular parts of the job
With this type of approach, the age of the technician isn’t of concern to the business. Rather, it’s that the work is being done, on-time, to the customer’s satisfaction and at an acceptable rate of pay. These subcontractors are also being brought in on a contingency basis. When in-house technicians can’t complete a task or need an extra pair of hands, use subcontractors. The extra benefit of these subcontractors is that they are only being paid when they are working. As opposed to your in-house technicians, who are paid regardless. That is why some HVAC businesses have decided to use subcontractors for every type of service possible. That’s because they can manage these subcontractors with HVAC field service software, just as they would their own people.
HVAC Software Enables a Blended Workforce to Deliver
For any HVAC manager, dispatcher and scheduler, having the ability to deliver exceptional service is a must. And when a blended workforce is introduced, it can bring challenges that all of those people have never had to deal with before. The logistics of a workforce you don’t have complete control over can be challenging for some. However, with HVAC field service software, and the ability to run a cloud-based field service business, it’s been made much easier to handle.
Firstly, dispatchers and managers need to be able to control everyone from one portal. Having a separate portal for in-house works and one for subcontractors doesn’t lend well to the sharing of information. And it also makes it difficult to adjust between the two workforces if you have to use two different systems. So, HVAC software puts both subcontractor management controls and in-house tools all in one portal for managers and dispatchers to use.
Secondly, service history is collected and retrievable in one portal as well. So, if a subcontractor completes a job, an in-house technician can access that information to use on an additional service call. It lends to collaboration between the two, without them being directly employed together.
Thirdly, it reduces the risk of double scheduling. Both your in-house technician and subcontractors use the same scheduling tools, so dispatchers won’t send two people to a job site. Or in the worst case, miss the call all together because they believed they were scheduled in the other system.
HVAC Field Service Software Enables Flexibility
When using a blended workforce, you need to be flexible in your service delivery. So, you need an HVAC software that is just as flexible. It not only needs to handle the onboarding, scheduling, dispatching and organization of subcontractors, but also the movements and routes of your own people. Working with a blended workforce can be difficult without the right tools to truly blend the two workforces together. But just because you are using a blended workforce, doesn’t mean you have to be living in two systems. With an HVAC field service software, you will have all the tools you need to retain information. And ensure each customer is taken care with quality service from either a subcontractor or one of your own technicians.