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Unleash the Millennials: Thrive in Workforce Management

It was about a year ago I attempted to get my 85-year-old grandma to join Facebook. Recently retired and living alone, she was feeling isolated and bored something I suspected Facebook could help her with. I knew she’d find joy in seeing pictures of her family living their lives, watching her great grandbabies grow and being able to connect with her family near and afar.

It wasn’t long after that I was scrolling through my Facebook feed one day and saw an old scanned picture of my Grandma with her kids. She had posted it sideways with the caption, “Help!”

Naturally my mind went to, “dear God my grandma has fallen and she can’t get up.”

I raced to the phone and punched in her number. No answer.

I posted, “Grandma are you ok?” No answer.

By this point my aunts and other family members were joining in on the concern. Finally, I reached my Grandma. Whew! Turns out she just couldn’t figure out how to rotate her photo and needed help with it.

As a millennial I’m often hit with the reality of how real the struggle is when it comes to older generations adapting to technology. When my mom first got on email she’d type her emails in all caps because she couldn’t figure out how to capitalize the first letter of a sentence. To which I, of course, had to give a mini discourse on email etiquette.

I’ve also worked in industries where technology was antiquated due to the aging workforce being unwilling to evolve with today’s technology. This posed quiet the challenge for a millennial digital marketer. I’ve often had to pull aging workforces along sometimes kicking and screaming.

But upon entering the field service industry I noticed a shift. You see, the field service industry has an interesting dilemma because organizations cannot thrive without the use of evolving technologies. Long are the days of staying in the safe, comfortable zone with antiquated processes because your competitors are embracing the future of field service and are utilizing sophisticated workforce management software. They are optimizing their KPI’s, reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction. How can antiquated processes compete with predictive scheduling triggered by M2M technology with automated intra day route optimization?

It is true; the field service industry has turned a corner forcing older generations to evolve. But just as my Grandma and Mom needed my help to adapt, your organization will also need the help of millennials. So here are some tips on how to attract and keep those futuristic minds connected to your organizations.

  • Millennials are well known for loving technology and gaming. Find ways for the Millennial workforce to show self-expression by coming up with ideas for improved processes and how to be more efficient. Help them to share that in the right ways throughout the organization.
  • Field service is mobile, but make sure that they feel connected to their fellow technicians sharing best practices but also encouraging competition among themselves to improve and be the best.
  • Make sure that the performance metrics tie into financial and other rewards so that your millennial worker doesn’t become jaded about putting in the effort to sustain continuous improvement.
  • Make field service “cool.” Spending time around field service technicians is never boring. Their stories and humor are usually second to none, so facilitate interaction between the older generation that perhaps didn’t see technology as their friend, and the Millennials who couldn’t imagine being without it. It will also help to get knowledge out of the minds of your more experienced workers and drive the KPIs that can be achieved by your new hires that may not only need to learn about the existing assets of their given company, but also how to work in a world enabled by IoT.

It’s often challenging to accept help from someone younger. I struggle to take learning lessons from my own children. But I encourage you to not be afraid of humbling yourself and asking millennials for guidance. Millennials want to give respect to their elders and generally seek their approval but they also want to be valued for what they bring to the table. If valued, they will be eager to impress their elders and generously share their knowledge, opening your organization up to a world of benefit.

So find the right field service management software, The FTO magazine recently put out The Software Selection Survival Guide to help with the process, and start hiring millennials to help you navigate through the technology. Fear of the unknown can only last as long as it remains unknown. Step boldly into the future and thrive for years to come.

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