Three ways to increase field staff retention

A recent survey carried out by Concept Resourcing revealed that the majority of field engineers are looking to move jobs within the next 2 years, with almost half suggesting they will make the move within the next year.

44% of those surveyed felt undervalued in their current role. When also faced with the ongoing challenge of an ageing workforce that could potentially take their knowledge with them as they retire, organisations reliant upon engineers and technicians must consider both what they can do to improve employee retention and what they can do to fill the skills gap.  

In this blog, using the feedback of the engineers who took part in this survey and our experience providing a working solution to engineers, we have created 3 essential steps to help increase field staff retention. There are of course generalised HR points such as reviewing your leave and pension package, but in addition to these points, it is important to look at your team’s working day to help eradicate day-to-day frustrations and build a more productive and committed workforce.  

Step 1: Simplify processes and working practices

Forty six per cent of field service staff stated that paperwork and administrative tasks were the worst parts of their day and  32% indicated that they felt they spent too much time on paperwork each day.

For us, these widespread frustrations frustrate us! Paperwork no longer needs to be a bugbear for anyone. There are many mobile workforce management solutions on the market now, all of which, if set up correctly, remove the need for paperwork altogether. Instead, your field workforce can access and enter all information on their mobile device.

If you choose the right software solution, you can also simplify your processes and control them yourself through self-managed interfaces. This not only enables you to start your team on the most efficient processes, it means you can continually monitor and improve them.

Step 2: Increase visibility

Twenty nine per cent of people surveyed said the worst part of their job was looking for information. Beyond the obvious time consuming frustration, paperwork also hampers knowledge-share. Illegible handwriting can also cause issues and human error is far more likely to creep in.

With a cloud based solution, the need for requesting paperwork and sharing documents is instantaneous. With all information stored in a single system everyone, from your team of engineers to your office staff, can have visibility of what they need to work productively. Knowledge can be recorded and shared and processes are consistently followed. This single source of the truth and pool of knowledge is invaluable to any business reliant upon a remote workforce.

Step 3: Realise your teams skills and ambitions

Forty four per cent of those surveyed felt undervalued in their roles. This is a staggeringly high percentage and cannot be conducive to providing an excellent customer service. But access to data can change this.

With information about your team’s capabilities you can ensure they carry out jobs that meet their skill level. Through mobile workforce management solutions, you can programme skill levels into the system and then automatically schedule jobs based on both that skill level and the engineer location. So instead of just sending the nearest engineer, you can send the nearest engineer with the right skills.

With the right software, you will also have individual performance statistics available and have the ability to track your engineer’s location. That way, if anyone is underperforming, you will see straight away and be able to take action before they disengage to the extent of looking for a new job.

Lastly, technology can help to remove the laborious tasks your workforce experience, such as checking an asset to ensure it is performing adequately. This enables your employees to focus on the skilled tasks that will give them greater satisfaction. To put this into context; IoT sensors can be placed into a business-critical asset and automatically monitor its performance. Instead of an engineer doing those checks, the sensors will raise an alert if anything shows signs of wear and tear. Then the engineer can just attend the site when a skilled visit is required.

We have all experienced frustrations in our workplace and no matter how small they may seem to an outsider, if you are presented with them over and over again, they can become a catalyst to wider dissatisfaction. By utilising service management technology to improve the working day of your engineers and their colleagues, you will be better positioned to retain your team whilst also encouraging collaboration.

A study at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. These statistics alone qualify the need to focus on the working lives of your front line team.

To discover more about how our intuitive mobile workforce management software could improve morale amongst your employees, book a free, no obligation demo today.