Strategy & Leadership

The No. 1 Challenge for Field Service Managers Right Now? Staffing

Recent research conducted by The Service Council on field service challenges has provided The Service Council with some eye opening data with regards to field service workforce management priorities for the rest of 2013. Sumair Dutta, Chief Customer Officer at The Service Council, advisory and research firm to the service community, takes the opportunity in his article, Field Service Workforce Management Priorities for 2013 are Very HR-centric, to dive a bit deeper into their ongoing field services research.

The Service Council found that of the 225 organizations polled, 40 percent indicated that field service workforce management was the top challenge hindering improved field service performance. Similarly, 42 percent indicated that workforce management was the top area of focus for 2013.

The HR Priorities That Matter Most

When we dig deeper into the elements of workforce management that are a priority, we see a greater focus on traditional HR-Centric themes. For instance, the top area of focus within workforce management is training, as reported by 67 percent of respondents. While this might seem like a surprising statistic, it is extremely reflective of the increasing focus on talent that we are seeing across service organizations. At TSC’s Annual Symposium, our Advisory Board, which features the likes of organizations such as Sprint, Safelite Autoglass, Johnson Controls, Farmers Insurance and more, indicated that talent, knowledge, culture and engagement were top priorities for 2013. This employee-centric focus wasn’t limited to front-line field engineers or contact center agents, but also stretched to business managers and service leaders. On more than one occasion Advisory Board members indicated their interest in succession planning at the service leadership level.

With regards to our research, planning and task scheduling followed training in terms of priorities for 2013. Other HR-centric functional areas remained high on the list, such as:

  • Engagement – 33 percent
  • Retention (employee and knowledge) – 32 percent
  • Hiring – 24 percent
  • Assessments – 23 percent
  • Third-Party Management – 22 percent

Our data highlights that organizations are truly trying to source, train and engage the right workforce for their field service operations given the importance of effective field service on customer satisfaction and loyalty. While scheduling and planning continue to be very important, service organizations are taking a step back to ensure that they have the right workers to be allocated or scheduled for service tasks. And this isn’t only a trend for large organizations (see figure). Across the board, small and mid-size organizations are also actively looking at shoring up their training, hiring, engagement and other processes in support of their field service initiatives.

Blog Chart

We will be focusing our attention on the traditional HR-centric aspects of workforce management in a Q4 research project. Till then, we will continue to share more data on the topic and look forward to capturing your thoughts and comments on the workforce management strategies that are being followed in your business.

This article originally appeared on The Service Council and is reposted here with permission.

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