8 Ways to Fill the Skills Gap in Field Service
The skills gap is one the most pivotal issue that many field service companies are facing nowadays. Used to describe the difference between the skills that a business needs to perform its daily operations, and those that are available in the job market, skills gap occurs for a variety of reasons such as lack of right candidates, unrealistic job requirements, insufficient amount of training and compensation, and lack of basic communication skills and other critical “soft” skills.
These underlying causes of skills gap can affect the operations of your business in the long run. And to reverse that, we have collected some the ways to help solve the skills crisis in your field service business today.
1. Support “Nanodegree” Certification
Nanodegree certification is provided by Udacity and AT&T among others which aims to provide critical skills much needed in various industries today such as data analysis and web development. Though a little bit unconventional, this type of certifications is what most job seekers use to further improve or even gain new knowledge in short time. In a business perspective, this can help you acquire candidates that are perfectly fitted for the job quickly and cost-effectively.
You can also provide nanodegree program to your current workforce to further improve their skills and widen their job specialties. If a certain department in your business sees the need for a much modern skillset in the future, you can invest in nanodegree certification to keep your workforce updated in the ever-changing skills demands in the field service industry. This will not only help you save a lot of time and money but also help you overcome training constraints if your business is operating in very limited resources and manpower.
You might be surprised if your existing workforce has the talent that you are looking for. Make it a recruitment policy to document every skill, experience, and affiliations that each of your employees has, as well as putting up a job board of the latest vacancies in your organisation’s system. This way, you will be more informed about your workforce’s capabilities, and it will be much easier for your employees to switch careers paths without sacrificing their relationship with your company.
3. Look for Individuals Who Can Learn Quickly
There is a high probability that a highly specific skill that you need can be taught to a person who can pick up new skills quickly. For instance, if most of your client’s equipment requires periodic maintenance or system upgrade, you can look candidates who have a prior knowledge about the work or those who have already done system upgrades in the past. In the dispatch level, you can hire a dispatcher who is not only capable of managing your field technician’s schedule but also can learn to resolve minor service calls while on the line.
4. Find Talents Using Analytics
HR departments used to rely on traditional recruitment process to attract talented individuals fit for the job. But with the advent of technology, a business can use analytics to track the competency, skills and cultural fitness of a candidate even before the initial, résumé-based screening. With the help of analytics, you can gain useful insights about the candidates that résumé cannot provide.
Aside from screening benefits, you can use talent analytics forecast workforce requirements, optimise your workforce through development and planning, and identify the factors that strongly affects the job satisfaction of your employees.
5. Redesign Your Work Structure
Work restructuring can help you streamline a specific process by either requiring fewer skilled people or more flexible deploying options. For example, if you only have few certified field technicians in your business, you can just place them on more critical roles instead of sending them on minor service calls on which a generalist can attend more quickly. Just make sure that they are also trained to lead entry-level employees so that important SOPs and job quality are maintained on the field.
6. Invest in Digital Tools
Technology now makes it easier for your workforce to gain new knowledge and skills quickly and easily. Providing them with on-site mobility tools which they can use to look up for solutions used by another field worker to solve the problem can help them fix the issues immediately.
You can also install learning apps and install peripherals like virtual reality headset that simulate real-life scenarios such major equipment malfunctions to further improve their skills. By tapping on innovative digital solutions, you can provide your workforce new ways to rediscover and improve their hidden talents.
Knowledge-sharing is a critical part of any businesses that operates in a highly technical environment. For your workforce to fully utilise their skills and minimise errors in the field, it is important to give them access to documented cases, field reports, and other important files that can be useful while they are solving issues in the field.
Furthermore, assigning a particular employee that have been excellent in their job roles to guide your new employees can help them understand the ins and outs of the business as well as to know the time-saving and tested techniques often used in the field.
8. Be Proactive in Finding Future Talents
Engage with local colleges and universities and conduct an on-campus seminar about your business and the industry to create awareness, as well as recruiting programs, internship programs, and workforce internship programs. Find ways to have a positive impact on future talents in terms of educational choices they are making. Doing this will also provide you useful insights about their work preferences so you can adjust your environment ahead of time.
The skills gap is a real issue that needs actionable solutions right away. By applying these tips, you can save your business from the daunting task of filling the skill void in the field service industry.
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