Capture Tribal Knowledge Before It’s Too Late

October 19, 2022
Elevators, General, HVAC
4 min read

For many field service companies, knowledge about equipment, processes and customers is not written down — it is in their technicians’ heads. This is known as “tribal knowledge.” Your service technicians’ tribal knowledge is one of their most valuable assets in the field. Their experience and expertise provide value to your business and your clients. What happens when these experienced technicians walk out the door and take their knowledge with them?

Gartner recently recommended investing in a robust knowledge management system to document core business information. Building a cloud-based knowledge library is especially essential to enhance remote collaboration and avoid being at skill-shortage risk in the long run. .

So, the question needs to be asked: How can you keep your workforce’s tribal knowledge and pass it on to the next generation or your next employee? Is there a way to let workers come and go while holding onto the valuable experience and knowledge they have collected over the years?

  • Identify your most competent and experienced technicians and ask them to share their wisdom, noting any tribal information worth documenting. Many of those veteran workers have a wealth of untapped information. It is critical to obtain the data before it is too late.
  • Use an end-to-end field service software built for your industry to capture, document, share and store a technician’s information. When you have a few key individuals with tribal knowledge that is inaccessible by others, your business relies on those individuals and is left vulnerable and exposed when they leave.
  • Bridge the knowledge gap by incorporating that information into an ongoing training program that will help your new and more junior techs get up to speed quickly and be successful in the field.
  • Instead of letting your most skilled techs retire and walk away with mountains of tribal knowledge, you can use technology to transfer their skills and expertise. Remote video calling, training, and support capabilities allow senior technicians to virtually “go on site” for training, troubleshooting, and remote diagnostics all of which can be recorded and saved for future reference.

We spoke with Selco Elevators about their experience with Tribal Knowledge.

It is common in the field service industry to find a few individuals with significant company-wide knowledge that is often undocumented. Without a consistent system, there is a reliance on such great people to provide accurate historical records. We felt our operation was sometimes subordinated to those few great people.

There will always be a need for good people in any business, but for sustained success, they need to be complemented with good systems. In the absence of robust systems, a firm must rely on great people to run it. Before, Selco had a complement of really good people, there were a few stars, but it was never about Selco being the superstar; it was about the individual.

Selco is now operating as an integrated organization and is delivering improved results and value to clients. Combining an excellent process with very good people reduces reliance on superstars and everyone feels more engaged. In the event of staff turnover, new team members learn faster and get up to speed much more quickly.

Interested in building your knowledge base?

Building a knowledge base with an end-to-end contractor management software like FIELDBOSS will help keep you ahead of the competition. All your tribal knowledge, guides, manuals, customer and equipment information, and more are available to anyone who needs them, at any time. Empower staff to share expertise in real-time and improve your operations with knowledge at your technician’s fingertips.

Contact FIELDBOSS if you would like to learn how to bridge the tribal knowledge gap and help your company run as one interconnected unit.

Download the full interview with Selco Elevators and learn how FIELDBOSS has helped transform their business.