The following is a guest blog post from ServiceMax partner, SPARK Perform.

Operational excellence is not a destination, it’s a continuous journey that an organization travels with differing levels of resources and effort dedicated to achieving goals that constantly change.

Structural problems can hamper operations and result in low productivity, inadequate service level, high cost for customer care and wasted time. Successful service performance is made a reality when performance management meets well structured organizational processes. The core of performance management consists of good leadership that can steer their workforce for carefully picked out goals.

According to Aberdeen, aligning individual goals with overall organizational goals is the top activity that can have the biggest impact on employee performance. Organizations that these goals met 14 percent  more of their overall organizational goals. This strategy also increases the chance of a key position having a ready and willing successor (82 percent vs 41 percent). Further, Aberdeen found that there is 34 percent higher rate of employees exceeding performance expectations.

An organization can formulate a robust plan to achieve operational excellence by closely linking it to operational discipline. A successful discipline is often studied to have been directly correlated with high employee engagement and process adherence. At SPARK Perform, we believe that to achieve operational excellence we need to enable the satisfaction and engagement levels of employee — specially in field service where technicians work in isolation and process engagement can be hard to accomplish.

Let us look at a simple five-step process to implementing an effective engagement strategy for your organization.

Step 1: Set Concrete Goals

“Settings goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”.   – Tony Robbins

Create goals that are tightly linked to performance metrics, and at the same time entirely in technician’s control. Make the goals simple to understand for the technicians. A work order may go through several states changing hands in the process, but identify specific state transitions for which technician is responsible and create goals only against those.

Step 2: Measure Accurately

Build a live scorecard for technicians within the field service management system that is populated 100 percent automatically. Technicians should not be required to do additional tasks to capture performance information.

Step 3: Frequent Feedback

Expose their scorecards to technicians on all the channels web/mobile, embed into screens that they use, and make it easy for them to access it and actively encourage them to look at it at least once a day. Put in place notifications, email digests and alerts with individual’s performance stats. Provide managers with team performance dashboards where they can see scorecards of all their team members. Again, put in place alerts and notifications so that performance awareness and engagement with team becomes a natural part of their daily job.

Step 4: Gamify

Implement the right shade of gamification. Gamification consists of a broad spectrum of techniques. Choosing the right shade that matches with the ethos of the company is crucial. Start with badges for achievement of goals, and then special badges for being a top performer. Setup contests for extra work and somewhat boring tasks that are important for the organization. Give freedom to managers to set up contests and define rewards. Additionally, you can implement incentive programs that are based on objective performance data, which brings fairness and transparency to the system.

Step 5: Targeted Coaching

Ultimately, being able to use the performance information to provide targeting coaching to individuals is an extremely important aspect of engagement that will deliver on the business value and bring in long term and sustainable benefits to the organization. Identify outliers (falling behind as well as racing ahead) and allow managers to target their coaching. Provide slice-and-dice capabilities, so that managers can pinpoint areas that need improvement.

The best in class have excelled by the simple principle of engaging technicians and aligning them to the goals and objectives of the organization. Any insight that can bring about even a single point increase in service performance or customer satisfaction is a precious resource which can be used to build competitive advantage over peers.
SPARK Perform Technician Scorecard (a certified app on ServiceMax Marketplace) is our solution for technician management in field service, where through gamification we optimize technician engagement activities and eliminate costs arising due to process inefficiencies. From on-demand access to data and performance benchmarking to goal alignment and incentive allocation, SPARK Perform Technician Scorecard is your tool to achieve operational excellence in field service.

ABOUT Neetha Avalakki

Neetha Avalakki is a vice president of products at SPARK Perform. Prior to her current role, Neetha worked with several startups to help build successful products, specializing in the B2B space on the Salesforce platform. Neetha also held the role of a ServiceMax Solution Architect at Bit Order Technologies, where she worked with several ServiceMax customers in successfully implementing and rolling out ServiceMax software for their field service automation.