How to Overcome the Challenge of the Aging Workforce

March 14, 2018
3 min read

A common challenge that’s been on the mind of field service executives is the fact that the majority of their seasoned, experienced field service technicians are reaching retirement age. Replacing those workers with newer, younger techs is complicated for a few different reasons — the departure of tribal knowledge, the transfer of that knowledge to the new workforce, the talent shortage, and so on. According to The Service Council, 70% of service organizations report they’ll be facing a pinch as they lose workers to retirement in the coming years.

So how can you tackle one of the biggest challenges facing the field service industry right now? Here are a few suggestions to overcome the obstacles of an aging workforce:

1.      Recruiting New Talent

It has proven very difficult for field service organizations to find quality replacements at the same rate at which experienced workers are retiring.

  1. Far more of the younger generation have college degrees. Attending college job fairs or working to set up internship programs is a good place to find young talent.
  2. Younger workers also want different things than your senior workers do. They want to feel recognized, empowered, and that their voice and opinion is valued.
  3. Millennial’s understand the benefits of technology. When millennials show up for work and see what they perceive as old and out-dated business practices still in place, they are not inclined to stick around.

To successfully recruit in this new era, you need to look for new ways to uncover talent, and understand what is most likely to attract them to your organization.

2.   Tribal Knowledge

As field workers retire, companies are often losing significant amounts of “tribal knowledge” that isn’t well-documented anywhere except in those technician’s minds. This can include important details of customer history that if not captured can result in negative customer experience. You need to put a plan in place for how you’ll capture and transfer the insights and information your older workers have.

  1. Invest in an automated solution to collect, centralize, and organize all your data and documentation so it’s always up to date and accessible to anyone in the company.
  2. Have your senior-level technicians grow your documentation library by having them create troubleshooting guides and videos while on the job which can be shared and viewed by newer technicians.

Management must accept that knowledge transfer requires a long-term investment. But with your best technicians’ wisdom stored in a company-wide database, you won’t lose that expert knowledge when they do retire or leave the company.

3.      Managing Millennials

Companies are challenged to learn how best to manage this new, young workforce while at the same time managing the more experienced workers. Each group has different needs and responds to different methods. Millennials require far different management, communication, and technology strategies than your older technicians. Determining how to best mange the two workforces up front will help to avoid high turnover and the costs that go along with it.

While there’s no easy solution, there are some steps companies can take to manage the challenge of an aging workforce. Whether you have technicians that are retiring, off sick, or busy on another job, automating and sharing data reduces the risk of having a single point of information. FIELDBOSS is an end-to-end field service contractor management solution that helps build easily accessible knowledge bases so field workers can access information anywhere, anytime, regardless of their location.

Contact FIELDBOSS for more information.