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There’s no doubt that there’s a talent war happening in field services. With older, skilled workers reaching retirement age, there’s an increasing need to hire new talent that not only has the right skillset, but also is likely to stay with the company for the long haul.

The fact of the matter is, employees have choices, and in order to attract and retain the top field service talent you need in order to succeed, you’ll need to know what your desired workforce is looking for. TSIA has uncovered some of the top requirements job-seekers expect of their employers, which I call “The 3 Cs”—employees are looking for organizations that can provide them with a career, an engaging culture, and constant valuable communication that will help them do their job better.

Career: Employees Value Career Development

Based on LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if that company invested in their career development. For millennials, 87% consider career development and growth opportunities as a priority when choosing a place to work. In fact, the topic of career development is so important, it’s become the greatest differentiator between millennials and any other generation in the workplace today.

Unfortunately, TSIA has found that half of all field services organizations don’t have a formal career path in place for their field service engineers. In my blog post, “How to Win the Field Services Talent War,” I recommend redesigning your current field services job classifications to enable future employee success, which includes building opportunities for career development into the job.

94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if that company invested in their career development.

LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report

TSIA has found that field services organizations with a formal career path in place for their employees, employee satisfaction increases by 5%, attrition decreases by 8%, and they are 6% more successful in attracting and recruiting younger employees ages 20-29. With results like that, it’s a no brainer that you should establish a formal career path at your organization.

Culture: Create an Environment Where Learning and Competency Matter

According to Gallup, 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. This points to a definitive crisis of leadership for any employer, but for field services executives, this necessitates the creation of an environment where learning and competency matter. To do this, you’ll want to create an entrepreneurial culture where employees take ownership of their own piece of the business.

employees disengaged at work  

(Click Image to Enlarge).
According to Gallup, as cited in LinkedIn's 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 85% of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. 96% of millennials believe a culture of learning is an important thing to consider when considering an employer.

I’ve written extensively on leadership and cultural change both here and my own personal blog, Perpetual Innovation Machine, and one thing I know to be true is that the vast majority of employees want to do a good job and feel like what they do is important. There is honor in a job well done, and leaders need to make it okay to do it. So here are 6 steps that I’ve found will help you create that type of a culture within your organization.

6 Steps to Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture Within Your Field Services Organization

  1. Make sure the organization believes in empowerment. This is a prerequisite for success, because an entrepreneur by definition is an empowered self-directed business leader.
  2. Clarify the connection between individual performance and organizational results. Entrepreneurs need to see a direct link between the job they do every day and how meeting their goals will lead to improvements in corporate performance.
  3. Establish performance incentives. Entrepreneurs invest more energy than other employees because they’re motivated by the potential for greater reward. If that prospect doesn’t exist, there’s no chance of having a true entrepreneurial culture.
  4. Share more information. Entrepreneurs need access to all the mission critical information about their piece of the business. Without this access to the data they need, they won’t be able to make the sound decisions you expect of them.
  5. Provide training and tools.  Taken the time to provide that information and training that will allow your employees to think and act like entrepreneurs will ultimately lead to success.
  6. Publically track individual and team performance. Entrepreneurs accept competition as a fact of life and they want to see connection between their performance and results.

Fortunately, more and more field services organizations are beginning to understand that a creating a culture of learning is important to the entire business. That’s why nearly 80% of field services organizations that TSIA surveyed are currently providing some sort of incentive compensation for meeting performance objectives. Creating this entrepreneurial culture not only makes it okay for employees to succeed through their own merit, but also rewards them for succeeding.

Communication: The Vehicle of Leadership

To build upon the previous point, effective communication is really the driving force behind the creation of an entrepreneurial culture. Explaining the what, how, and why of a goal builds confidence, and builds a strong relationship with every member of the team. Plus, it provides invaluable inside information that’s needed to make the best possible decisions. But to get that inside information, you’ll need to facilitate an environment that fosters an environment where open discourse is valued and encouraged at every level, and that’s where leaders need to lead.

If you want your team to make the kind of decisions that you would make, they need to have access to the information that you do. This is why it’s important to communicate with your organization on a regular basis, whether it’s through monthly all hands meetings, sunrise meetings, or departmental meetings, so that everyone has the opportunity to understand the company’s goals and what is expected of them to achieve those goals.

This regular communication will also allow your team to recalibrate for success while a plan is in motion instead of just rehashing lessons learned after the fact. As a leader, you must facilitate an exchange of information both by giving and listening, and that approach will make all the difference in the world.

Get More Advice on How to Recruit and Hire Top Field Services Talent

In order to succeed, leadership needs to understand and enable the new requirements expected by the kind of talent you want to hire. Given that you’re going to rely on these employees to execute on your strategy, you need to win their support and give them a compelling career choice following these recommendations.

You can learn about these recommendations and those presented in my previous blog on this topic in more detail by watching my on-demand webinar, “Winning the Field Services Talent War.” For the strategy, frameworks, and tools you need to find and retain the right kind of employees you need to succeed in the changing world of field services, contact TSIA about membership in our Field Services research practice. From industrial equipment, healthcare, and enterprise technology organizations, TSIA is using data-based insights to help thousands of tech leaders across the industry develop plans for success amid these new challenges. I look forward to hearing from you!

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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.

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