A couple of years ago I was at a Field Service conference, engaged in a round-robin-style networking chat with a group of experienced service leaders. One conversation has stuck in my memory because they seemed to have solved one of the largest issues that has plagued many asset service management companies – hiring strategies for discovering the future of service technicians.
For as long as I have been involved in service, one common theme is that most service companies are still wrestling with how to counter the silver tsunami and attract the next generation of service talent to their organization.
The company that solved the issue around the next generation of service technicians had a brilliant strategy. The Vice President that I spoke with had a connection to the local high schools and started his recruiting there. They shared the vision for where their target audience wanted to be in life, and how they could help get them there. As they joined the organization, these young adults received training, benefits, and were well compensated for the work that they did. Additionally, the company made sure to do annual resume reviews with the service techs, where they would help them to spruce up their resume to ensure they were prepared to take the next step in their journey if they wanted to look for growth opportunities in the future.
Based on what I learned from this and other successful service leaders, here are three hiring strategies for the next generation of technicians that you should keep in mind as you build out your recruiting program.
1. Compensation and benefits
Let’s get down to brass tacks here – if a tech can make more money going somewhere else, or doing something else, there is a good chance they will leave. You must ensure that your compensation package is competitive in the market. Do your market research. I once spoke with a group of techs that jumped back and forth between companies for incremental raises. The companies spent more money on recruiting the service engineers back, than if they had just given them a raise in the first place!
2. Career path
Many would assume that helping an employee with their resume will cause them to leave. In working with an employee on this, the company is demonstrating a couple of things: they are committed to your growth as an individual, and they are recognizing your continued increased value over the years you’ve invested. Perhaps the tech doesn’t realize that they now have senior-level experience on XYZ machine, and that qualifies them to spend some time training the new hires, instead of in the field. For techs with young families, this can be a huge benefit. Many techs spend a lot of time on the road, and the ability to spend a little more time at home with their family can lead to increased levels of employee satisfaction and retention. Expanding on that idea a little further, organizations must realize that there is not a singular path to becoming a valued part of the service team; multiple paths with varied career growth options are a must.
3. Emerging Technology
Generations that have grown up with the internet and cell phones in their hands have an expectation of utilizing technology to simplify their work. Many service organizations and solution providers have begun implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) solutions into their service organizations. Knowing they will be able to utilize future technologies in their workplace is exciting, has the benefit of making their job easier, and gets your techs in the field independently at a faster pace. If they have an issue with an asset, and a senior tech is available to coach them while working on the piece of equipment, the job is done quicker, the first time, and the need to return is reduced.
Many organizations are struggling to fill the gaps in their workforce right now; but the service industry has a distinct advantage in that it can provide on-the-job training, a shorter onboarding time, future careers opportunities, and strong compensation. Designing hiring strategies that showcase these strengths and understanding who you are trying to recruit will position your business for continued growth well into the future.