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Top Field Service Trends for 2024: Blended Workforces

Top Field Service Trends for 2024: Blended Workforces

As we continue our series on the technology trends that will likely be in the 2024 spotlight, next up is trend #5: blended workforces.

#5 Blended Workforces

Workforce issues have been nagging service-centric organizations for nearly a decade as aging Baby Boomers and their silver tsunami left gaping holes in the workforce. Today’s graduates have little interest in stepping into the vacant hands-on, field jobs. In the wake of the pandemic, the current talent pool is more focused on work-from-home jobs with maximum flexibility and autonomy. “Research suggests that over 40% of the workforce will be freelancers over the next few years, triggering predictions of a dramatic rise in the ‘blended workforce.’ This hybrid flexible-teaming sees freelancers and contractors working alongside full-time employees,” says a group that advocates for virtual offices.

The rise of the gig economy reflects the appreciation of independence that has become a top priority of so many. Driving around in a repair truck is not the exciting, rewarding job young people aspire to reach. This leaves service-centric organizations struggling to find skilled technicians--or candidates interested in technician training programs.

Download the Top Field Service Management Technology Trends for 2024 now.

Field service organizations (FSOs) are increasingly turning to technology and blended workforces to help them cover requirements and meet expectations of customers. This can mean outsourcing to third-party contractors, hiring independent contractors, supplementing full-time crews with part-time independent technicians, and recruiting non-skilled candidates and those starting second careers. Organizations are also putting substantial effort into retaining existing workers, including those past retirement age.

Training unskilled workers is part of the new reality. “Six in 10 workers will require training before 2027, according to the WEF, so organizations must forefront talent development in both immediate and long-term transformation plans. It’s more than a safety plan; it’s a strategic imperative,” says the State of the Workforce Skills Gap report.

Technology helps train new recruits and supports a blended workforce, no matter its makeup. Software that is easy to use shortens the learning curve for new recruits. Built-in workflows that guide the user through appropriate steps also help to reinforce best practices and keep the trainee focused on the right questions to ask and what steps to follow. In some cases, checklists and other step-by-step guides may be clickable.

Modern field service solutions push information to users in easy-to-consume bites and windows that minimize clicks and simplify choices and responses. Automation removes much of the tedious data entry and reporting that today’s tech-savvy users expect to be auto-filled and submitted as part of back-end routines. Role-based dashboards and mobile-ready screens also put critical information in the hands of novice workers. Easy access to knowledgebases and onboarding videos further helps the generation that prefers do-it-yourself training over asking a supervisor for help.

An organization can turn to technology to support a blended workforce in more ways, including remote connections and virtual teams. Senior technicians can remain at a central location and assist trainees remotely. Mobile connectivity and the ability to share information through secure, real-time channels makes this type of symbiotic relationship possible. The senior technician can work from home and avoid the hassles of field work. The recruit benefits from the experience of a seasoned technician. This pairing of technicians or other mentorship programs helps to capture and pass along tribal knowledge to the next generation of workers.

Modern scheduling solutions can also help when there is a diverse range of technician skillsets. The solution tracks certification levels, training, and whether a technician has experience with specific product lines or models. This information is used to help match the right technician to the right job. Some complex service requests may be reserved for the technicians with the highest resolution rates. Optimized scheduling of technicians goes a long way in improving first-time fix rates and keeping customers happy. Benefits of schedule optimization include:

  • 40% increase in first-time fix rates
  • 15% reduction in travel costs
  • 30% increase in service calls per day

Modern technology supports the existing workforce, even if it is understaffed, by boosting productivity. Because of built-in automation and streamlined processes, fewer workers can get more done, relieving the blended workforce of some pressures.

Although a full team of highly-skilled technicians enthusiastic about their jobs may not be realistic today, service-centric organizations can still keep the doors open and customers happy thanks to modern field service software, such as what ServicePower provides.

 

Read the complete Top Field Service Management Technology Trends for 2024 report here.

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