Engaged Employees: Are Your Field Service Competitive Advantage

By: David Valentino — VP of Corporate Development

Engagement   –   Field Service 2020-Jul-20

What if your company could have 50% less turnover and 21% better employee productivity? Well, those who implement employee engagement strategies on average experience just that, along with other benefits. From less absenteeism to greater job satisfaction, the data and benefits are clear; engaged employees are needed to meet business goals.

Employee Management is Not Employee Engagement

Most organizations are interested in enabling their field service employees to feel more connected to the mission. However, many mobile strategies and current software solutions focus on field employee management instead. While employee management solutions are critical and produce cost savings for organizations, they fail to incentivize companies and employees to engage in a communication platform that enables everyone to excel.

The image above shows Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Self-fulfillment and esteem needs (feeling of accomplishment, achieving one’s full potential, friends, etc.) fill the top of the hierarchy. It is only once the basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid are met that a person can begin to focus on the needs at the top. Having a paying job helps to fulfill one’s basic needs but the best organizations, the ones that have happy, productive, and committed employees, help their employees to fulfill the whole pyramid.

For employees to reach full self-actualization, the modern organization must help meet these higher-level needs. This is accomplished through employee engagement. Humans spend a large percentage of their life at work or thinking about work. Due to this, a positive and rewarding work experience will benefit the employee’s overall welfare. Organizations that understand these truths will ultimately find employees and customers more fulfilled.

Implementing an employee engagement strategy is challenging, especially when trying to engage field service personnel. Leading think tank studies from Gartner and Forrester say over 80% of field workers feel disconnected from their organizations.

Gartner considers field service personnel "deskless workers". These employees operate in many industries and government organizations representing: Military, First Responders, Healthcare, OEM Manufacturing, Agriculture, Retail, Pollical Campaigns, Nonprofits, and Travel. Deskless workers often provide services that directly impact customer satisfaction. If an employee is unsatisfied with their organization, they are more likely to be negative and less motivated. Due to this, employee engagement is critical to an organization’s overall success.

Covid-19 Requires a Successful Worker Engagement Solution

Now more than ever, organizations are forced to evaluate their field engagement and communications strategies. Field service personnel require a different approach than office or remote employees. They are mainly focused on task completion, with limited time for engagement with peers or leadership during work hours. Common communication tools like social media platforms, emails, text, and management tools are not considered effective engagement and communication solutions. Information is not prioritized, and off-hours messaging is considered intrusive.

In the current high-stress environment, field service workers are amongst the first to feel both the physical and mental effects of inefficient communication. Many studies show lack of support for comprehensive onboarding, employee recognition, limited on-demand training, corporate communications, employee wellness, culture support, and loyalty can be devastating to a field service force. As a result, field employees have the highest turn-over and lowest employee satisfaction measurements.

Creating a Successful Field Service Engagement Strategy

Organizations who are serious about field service engagement must segment content and prioritize field information. A field worker typically will require on-demand training and information while on the job. When needing to communicate to field service workers, the challenge is not only how to deliver organizational content, but when and where to deliver the right information. For example, many corporations and field workers use legacy and open platform approaches to communicate by sending announcements through generic email, text, social media, and management tools. These solutions and methods cause information to be missed and/or ignored. Important policy and compliance information can lack prioritization and field personnel are left feeling disconnected and less engaged.

A successful engagement strategy should include a mobile and cloud-based solution allowing companies to rapidly publish critical content directly to a mobile device. This allows “deskless” employees access to critical company information, training materials, project related communications, and other important documents. The solution should allow workers to easily capture knowledge and communicate information up, down and across the organization. Employees should have the ability to post and receive best practices with access to on-demand “how-to” and training. Information from Corporate and leadership should be segmented and prioritized for the field. Information sharing and cross employee engagement should be encouraged through articles and chat. Ideally the field organization will adopt and take a pride of ownership in the use and sustainability of the engagement strategy and solution. The solution must be easy to implement and use.

Committing to a Field Service Engagement Strategy will improve the well-being and satisfaction of your workers and is essential for the development and sustainment of successful field operations. A mobile technology-based engagement solution is the future.

For more information on how to address your Field Personnel Engagement contact Deskless Workers at: David.V@desklessworkers.com