By Shawn Fields, Senior Field Services Strategist
The Buyer of Choice blog series is designed to help service leaders gain and maintain a competitive advantage by strengthening their positive network effect among independently contracted IT service technicians. Being a “Buyer of Choice” can be broken down into three best practices:
- Success Starts with Pay
- Vet for What you Expect
- Clarity Matters
In the previous blog post, we focused on the first item on this list and emphasized the importance of offering technicians competitive market rates in exchange for their services.
Let’s focus now on this second-best practice: Vet for What you Expect.
What does that mean, exactly?
Vet for What you Expect
I’ll start with two pieces of advice:
- Consider using the same type of process to screen for on-demand labor that you use for your permanent employees.
- Leverage the automation tools that come with on-site labor platforms to make this vetting process more efficient. With Field Nation, this means using features like 1) Talent Pools, 2) SmartAudit, and 3) Auto Dispatch.
By putting the same degree of care into your independent contractor vetting as you would with a full-time hire, you ensure that your on-demand technicians have everything they need to represent your company. You also help ensure a good “fit” between your company and your on-demand workforce, which creates the environment for long-term success.
Use the data available to make the process of finding technicians more efficient. Platform ratings and job history can help you quickly create a list of prospective technicians. If soft skills are important for a given project, you can use appropriate screening methods to determine fit. A short survey or even a phone interview may be useful in these scenarios. Combined, these techniques can help you create a pool of screened technicians. With this talent pool at your disposal, you can quickly route future work to a group of vetted, trusted technicians.
It should be acknowledged that building these talent pools takes time and effort. Unfortunately, this means that some service organizations are tempted to skip this step in their adoption of platform labor, opting to take a more ad hoc approach that deemphasizes adequate vetting for speed.
The challenge with this approach is that it doesn’t set your service organization up for success – either initially or long term.
For example, some companies’ adoption of on-demand labor includes saying “yes” to the first technicians that express interest in their available work. These companies risk the scenario of sending an inadequately prepared and vetted technician to a work site to represent their brand. Worse, they keep their relationship with on-demand labor in its most immature stage instead of working to build a curated pool of technicians they know they can trust.
In contrast, other service organizations work with their dispatchers to reach alignment in regard to their business’ needs, strategy, and process. They leverage this understanding to create a vetting process that may necessarily include surveys and interviews. Some successful Field Nation users incorporate brief training sessions into their vetting process to ensure that the on-demand technicians they work with are adequately prepared for their work.
Once these processes are complete, these organizations gather vetted technicians in pre-approved Talent Pools that empower them to automate key parts of the subsequent dispatching process. Tools like Smart Talent Pools and Provider Assessments make this automation even more accessible and powerful.
Frontloading this vetting effort unlocks the true potential of on-demand labor and makes the process of utilizing the right on-demand technician more expedient in the long term. What’s more, it solidifies a service organization’s status as a “Buyer of Choice” by building ongoing relationships with technicians whose skills and approach to work are a good fit with a given service provider.
This leads us to our final best practice: Clarity Matters. We’ll cover that in the last post in our “Buyer of Choice” series.
Shawn Fields brings more than 30 years of IT industry experience to Field Nation — with expertise aiding clients in retail, financial services, manufacturing, life sciences, food and beverage, state government, IT, and utilities. He has successfully led the entire spectrum of IT services in the outsourcing arena, advising notable clients like Intel, GE, Citi, NASA, Rockwell Automation, Coca-Cola, Honeywell, AT&T, Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, SunTrust, Georgia-Pacific, Southern Company, Levi, and BMW. Additionally, Shawn had led innovation, design thinking and digital transformation projects for large clients across multiple continents.