Our recent post on best practices for evaluating field service technicians sparked so much discussion in a handful of LinkedIn groups that we culled together some of the highlights from a few folks around the industry:
- On-the-Job Evaluations
Philip Blakemore, a technical service manager at Sorin Group in Darlington, U.K., said the best way to evaluate a technician is to go out on the job with them and participate in their daily duties. “Usually I assist in the work — not just sit and watch.”
- Doing Spot Checks
Nicholas Fickau, a field service engineer from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, disagreed: “It’s great you’re doing the service job, but it doesn’t seem like you’re evaluating your techs,” Fickau said. “Rather, you’re applying your experience upon them.” Fickau suggests spot checking field employees — dropping in on them unannounced when they’re working on a job site to see if they’re meeting company expectations.”If it were me, I’d ask the tech what they needed me to do, let them run the show as well as try to put them at ease with my presence,” Fickau said. “Then if something comes up that you would do differently, or isn’t within stated guidelines, ask them why it’s better to do it their way versus the other unless safety comes into play. I’d let them complete the work, note my observations and then discuss those observations upon completion of the job.”
- Offering Incentives
Still others disagreed. “I personally believe unannounced visits undermines the trust between management and the field personnel,” wrote Shaun Huszarik, a service consultant at IPG Graphics in Massachusetts. How about giving the actual review? Huszarik’s personal recipe for employee evaluation is to offer incentives for good behavior. Depending on the results of quarterly or annual performance reviews, those who exceeded department metrics should be rewarded with “favorable field assignments to a Hawaiian customer” or something similar while those who do not meet company goals face consequences, he said.
- Custom KPIs
Troy Smith, a director at Electric Results Pty. Ltd in Australia, said he measures skills and behavior against a predetermined set of values like job description and key performance indicators (KPIs). “These things are measured constantly, and customer feedback is taken into consideration as well as callbacks, etc.,” Smith said.
- Continual Feedback
It’s all still intimidating, but Harry Plunkett, an operations/field service manager from the greater Atlanta area, says that these things can be done in such a way that makes the technician comfortable — and they even like it. “Once they got to know me, they never had a problem with me stopping by or meeting at a customer location, or having a meeting over lunch (I’ve never had anyone turn down a free lunch),” he said. “Feedback is a vital part of this business and I don’t see it ever going away.”
Have input? Join the discussion on LinkedIn.