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Field Service Trends: The Third-Party Workforce Management Gap

The face of field service organizations is shifting from a predominantly blue-collar employee workforce to a stratified mixture of highly-specialized contractors and legacy hires. Contractor management services are no longer an option; they are a modern necessity. To be a successful leader in the field service industry, you need a strategic workforce management system that effectively incorporates both employees and third-party contractors.

Learn how your organization can easily adopt a mixed workforce field service management plan and why making the shift soon is critical.

The Rise of Mixed Workforces in Field Service

As the baby-boomer field service workforce transitions into retirement, a larger contingent of your workforce will be made up of third-party contractors. For Millennial field service technicians, subcontracting is an attractive option as it allows them to create their own work schedules, hone a niche technical expertise, and work within a determined service area. The rise of self-employed field service technicians shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

If your contractor management services are not integrated into your workforce management software or operational workflows, your third-party workforce becomes an operational hiccup that slows your pace. When you have a workforce management gap, it costs you time, money, and –– possibly –– skilled contractors who leave due to mismanagement. 

More than likely, your field service organization utilizes a third-party workforce as puzzle pieces that fill in negative space. Contractors come in when you’re overwhelmed with service requests, they get the job done, and they move onto the next job. Try thinking of contractors, instead, like chess pieces, each one with a strategic role to play in your field service organization. Track their performance records, note their areas of expertise, and put contractors in your regular rotation. 

Pay closer attention to your third-party workforce: they can improve your first-time fix rate if you’ve got the right person for the job every time. Another reason to be meticulous about your contractor management services is that the contractors you use now could determine your success in the future. If you can attract better contractors and make your field service organization part of their regular job rotation now, you’ll be ahead of the other field services organizations in customer satisfaction as the self-employment trend marches on.

Contractors bring some obvious benefits to your field services team, which is why it’s wise to include them in your workforce mix. However, many field service organizations are not completely prepared to embrace the field service contractor revolution. By integrating third-party service providers, you will:

  • Improve first-time fix rates for niche technical service orders
  • Decrease employee burnout during high-demand service seasons 
  • Boost customer response times to remote locations

Learn how you can leverage your workforce management software to maintain a competitive advantage.

The Decline of the Entry-Level Employee

One reason to prepare for more contractors is the decrease in new field service technicians ages 18 to 35. There are not as many younger people enlisting in the field service industry, reducing the number of entry-level, full-time employees. Your field service organization either needs to work harder at recruiting new employees or welcome more experienced contractors with open arms. 

Business trendspotters like Forbes note that younger generations are ditching full-time employment for the flexibility of freelance life, with some even making it as stable as employment. The full-time employee lifestyle, with its 401K plans and job security assurances, aren’t seen as the only way for field service technicians to make a decent living. 

Here are some of the major reasons your workforce is likely to shift away from full-time employees to contractors in the coming years:

    • Convenience: Using mobile technology, a contractor could schedule her field service day in her pajamas or check on the available inventory in the warehouse before heading out for a job.
    • Control: Contractors can work around their existing schedules, allowing them to end their workdays early to see their kids’ basketball games or meet other commitments they value.
    • Cash: Some of your contractors are working very long hours for months on end ––and they love it. They are able to work more hours and save up for vacations or buying a home sooner than in a typical 9-to-5 workday.

The most important benefit of preparing now for more contractors in the future: you’ll attract and keep the best ones. Maintaining relationships with expert contractors is akin to supplier-buyer relationships. Your third-party workforce is made up of free agents who will work where they can quickly get work, at the exact time they need it.

Bridge the Gap with Strategic Third-Party Workforce Management Software

Now is the time to inventory and augment all the moving parts of your contractor management services. Mobile workforce management software will help you to sprint toward growth and industry dominance in the information age. 

Use your field service management software to attract and keep the quality contractors who your customers love. With the right platform you can:

  • Provide simple onboarding for third-party technicians
  • Implement a system that catalogs areas of expertise for each contractor
  • Enable quick contractor invoicing
  • Offer standardized, remotely-accessible training
  • Implement a reliable customer-technician communication interface

To determine if your field service software is ready for the influx of third-party contractors, examine whether you currently leverage these functionalities: 

  • AI-enhanced dispatch that catalogues contractor and employee availability alongside technical expertise and geographical service areas
  • Scheduling software that is integrated with the inventory management system to make contractor jobs efficient
  • Contractor billing integrations to avoid low ROI for high-demand work
  • Simple onboarding for third-party technicians that makes your job easier

Read our Guide to Vetting and Onboarding Your Third-Party Workforce for more tips on getting the right field service team in place.

Practice Smarter Third-Party Workforce Management

Not all workforce management software is made equal. Some are known for offering poor dispatch capabilities or contractor management features that won’t keep pace with your organization’s growth.

Prepare your field service organization for more contractors by using a comprehensive mixed workforce management solution that Gartner calls “innovative.” Choose a platform that is highly-ranked amongst workforce management software, specifically for the mixed workforce management advantages. 

Alleviate third-party contractor management stress with intuitive features designed to make contractor and employee field service management simple, cost-effective, and scalable.

Get started with your mixed workforce management strategy today. Click here for a demo of ServicePower’s software.

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