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Employee attrition is a key field service metric with growing importance. This is due to a number of factors, such as talent wars starting to heat up as field service engineers near retirement age, significant commitment to training, and positive hiring trends due to both growth and replacements.

When it comes to attrition, companies typically lose employees that are performing well and that they can ill afford to lose. That’s why a view of voluntary attrition is critical.

Field Service Employee Attrition Trends at a Glance

One of the key insights from our field service benchmark study is the strong correlation between voluntary attrition and the number of field service engineers (FSEs) managed by one manager, as seen below:

field service engineer attrition  

(Click image to enlarge.)
This scatterplot shows a high span of control is associated with increased voluntary employee attrition (leaving the company) due to the inability of managers to support career guidance, training needs, and offer performance feedback.

For the past 10 to 15 years, field service organizations have struggled with price compression of their offers and have responded by cutting costs in all areas of the business. As they insist on managers “managing” upward of 20 to 30 field service engineers, voluntary attrition has crept up. The reasons? Managers do not address the 3 C’s:

  1. Career: They can’t help individual employees manage their careers or understand the skills needed to succeed in the future.
  2. Communication: They find it difficult to effectively communicate and often lack any personalization.
  3. Culture: They are unable to establish and influence culture.

The result is that good employees that you want to keep end up getting fed up with the situation and leave in search of a better environment in which to work. Does your field services organization’s long-term talent management strategy currently address the 3 C’s?

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Vele Galovski

About Author Vele Galovski

Vele Galovski is vice president of support and field services research for TSIA. Using his nearly 30 years of industry experience, he has consistently helped companies both large and small drive double-digit top-line growth with a proven retain, gain, and grow strategy. Vele has also written a book, The Perpetual Innovation Machine, which describes a holistic approach to management based on ambitious goal setting, data driven analysis, skillful prioritization, inspiring leadership, and the lost art of employee engagement.

Vele's favorite topics to discuss