4 Solutions For Effectively Building The New Service Workforce
A little understanding of generational differences goes a long way in building the tech-savvy, customer-centric, and skilled (multigenerational) workforce you need.
The most talented young service workers won’t magically appear at your door simply because post a job online — you need to attract them with the right mix of tools and approaches, empower them with the technology they expect, and enable their learning and professional development.
Leverage the Latest Technologies Across the Entire Organization
From the initial hiring processes to the provision of everyday work tools, outdated technology is a big turnoff for digital natives like Gen Z and Millennials. If they sense that your technology is stuck in 1999, they’ll take a different job. A 2019 Yello survey found that Gen Z has a baseline expectation that employers use up-to-date technology for the application process and that their platforms be mobile-friendly. A quarter (26%) of Gen Z candidates say that a lack of technology during the hiring process alone would prevent them from accepting a job with the company, so tech matters from the very start of the relationship. Set the right expectations early (and always).
When it comes to using technology for work, Millennials and Gen Z want to use (and master) the latest and greatest digital tools to help them do their jobs more effectively. In a recent webinar with Rodger Smelcer of United Service Technologies, he explained how he’s got one of the youngest service teams in the industry, and how UST’s up-to-date technology is key to keeping younger employees engaged and productive.
Smelcer details how younger service engineers utilize everything from mobile apps and social media to AI tools to capture findings and share new fixes or hacks with the entire UST team. He also notes that junior staff are energized to use the latest technology that empowers them to crush daily service metrics and foster long-term career advancement.
Tech-savvy Gen Z workers and Millennials have grown up accustomed to collaborating in real-time in every aspect of their daily life and they bring those same preferences to the workplace. While it’s generally assumed that the youngest members of the workforce rely exclusively on digital tools, Gen Z, and to a lesser extent, Millennials, actually prefer to have a full menu of collaboration options, showing a desire for face-to-face interactions as one option (among many) to stay connected at work. And younger workers also want continuous, face-to-face feedback about their contributions at work.
It isn’t either technology or face-to-face, but preferably all-of-the-above.
What does that mean at a time of social distancing for an industry where field engineers have traditionally worked solo on job sites? Remote collaboration tools have never been more relevant than today to ensure the safety of service employees and their customers. These remote tools enable the workforce to feel (and literally be) connected and access the most accurate information and advice from across the entire organization. The benefit? The ability to resolve service issues with little or no in-person contact with customers.
Especially at a time of remote work and remote service, building collaboration into daily workflows and adopting technology to foster a collective knowledge base is essential for ensuring (contactless) service quality and extending a sense of camaraderie in service teams.
Support Continuous Learning
Professional development is among the top priorities for Millennials and Gen Z. When asked why they were dissatisfied with a job or planned to quit a position after less than two years, lack of training and professional development ranked third for both younger generations, just behind pay and a lack of advancement, according to research by Deloitte.
Both groups express eagerness for on-the-job mentoring along with digital tools that let them learn-as-they-go and share their findings with colleagues. Meeting the expectations of this young, motivated workforce is key to adapting to ongoing demographic shifts and a business climate of rapid digital transformation. When your younger workers learn via digital tools, not only do they stay engaged with your organization, but they also drive better service outcomes for your customers (who also expect tech-savvy solutions, by the way.
Set Your Business Up for Post-Covid Success
COVID-19 has served to accelerate digital transformation, for both business organizations and the customers they serve. Customers, in general, turned to more digital solutions, from online grocery shopping to Zoom meetings to streaming entertainment. Businesses were forced to keep pace and “up” their digital game.
Those service organizations that had invested in digital transformation prior to the pandemic or have accelerated digital investments during the pandemic have generally outperformed organizations that have been slower to deploy digital-first approaches. In the service industry, for example, remote service provision has become a key success factor at a time of public health concerns and social distancing. Moreover, maintenance of equipment is increasingly becoming predictive and proactive, as sensors transmit continuous streams of real-time performance data that enables service and maintenance teams to intervene even before equipment breaks down.
Digital tools that support faster, predictive, or remote service are now even more critical drivers of customer experience. The technology also helps reduce time on site, which is helpful in terms of public health. Whatever the future brings, digital tools can help ensure the continuity of your service operation and enable you to scale service provision.
Now’s the time to act before small problems become insurmountable.
Digital tools, like intuitive AI solutions, can help your service team leverage and share service knowledge, which is the key to improving service outcomes — including improving KPIs and enhancing the customer experience. Those same tools will help attract and engage younger service talent by helping them feel both comfortable and more empowered.
Equally important, leveraging digital technology can help you future-proof your service organization in times of crisis, such as during COVID-19.
The service organizations that coped best with social distancing had already invested in digital transformation, which helped them adapt faster to “the new normal.”
Whether it’s a public health crisis or a demographic/workforce shift, you’ll need to remain agile: digital tools offer the best way forward regardless of the challenge.
Your new recruits (and customers) will thank you!
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