By Shawn Fields, Senior Field Services Strategist
Experienced and reliable technicians are invaluable assets. Attracting technicians you can trust your brand with needs to be a core priority of successful technology services organizations.
The current labor shortage creates a focused sense of urgency around this key success factor. IT labor is in high demand, technicians know it, and service organizations are left with a stark business imperative: maintain a positive reputation among technicians or risk undermining the strength of your field service workforce by not having the adequate talent to get the job done.
This blog series is designed to examine this imperative and help service leaders translate it into a competitive advantage. To accomplish this, I’m going to break down what it means to be a “Buyer of Choice” into three best practices:
- Success Starts with Pay
- Vet for What you Expect
- Clarity Matters
We’ll start with the first best practice: Success Starts with Pay
Success Starts with Pay
Compensation is a key factor for technicians deciding which work orders to request. When it comes to being considered a Buyer of Choice, making sure your pay rates are in line with market rates is a good place to start.
When using on-demand labor, some service organizations are initially tempted to post lower rates in an effort to maximize savings on labor costs. Under different market conditions, this strategy has actually worked. Given the present labor shortage, however, this strategy is self-defeating. Low rates can quickly evolve into an inadequate number of on-demand techs vying for your work, or a large number of counter offers that your dispatch team must review individually.
These aren’t merely hypothetical situations; they are insights gained from real-world examples.
For example, we recently worked with an organization whose cost-consciousness led them to organize their adoption of on-demand labor around an effort to attract technicians at the lowest possible rate. Work orders generated little interest, and dispatchers soon found themselves faced with the task of reaching out individually to technician after technician with little success. As you can imagine, this was not efficient for the customer and not helpful in building the positive network effect that’s so important when using on-demand labor.
“Provide comprehensive support and generous pay to on-demand workers to earn their loyalty. This will help ensure that all of your technicians deliver the experience your customers expect.” – Rob Miller, CCO, Service Express
On the other side of this equation, posting market-standard rates produces higher technician interest.
A different service organization integrated the “Success Starts with Pay” best practice into their budgeting process by reinvesting a portion of the savings they incurred through on-demand labor back into the technician rates they post to Field Nation. This helped generate the technician interest needed to staff their project and ensured that the technicians had the higher level skillsets they were looking for – plus it created a positive network effect for the buyer with the technicians for future projects.
Of course, this reinvestment practice may not apply to the desired outcomes of every service delivery company, but it demonstrates the importance of continuously evaluating the relationship between on-demand pay rates and the long-term objectives of the company. This mutually beneficial arrangement epitomizes the value of being a Buyer of Choice, and Field Nation research has shown that it also leads to better results.
So, what are a few steps you can consider to optimize your pay rate settings?
Start by acknowledging that pay rates don’t exist in a vacuum. They vary based on current market dynamics, location, type of work, and the required skillset of the work under consideration. Factor in these criteria when you set pay rates to ensure you’ve arrived at a pay rate that will attract the level of talent you need. Consider using a data intelligence tool like MarketSmart Insights™, which allows you to consult a range of real-time market pay rates based on criteria of your choosing (type of work, geography, etc.).
Something else to consider: Experience on the Field Nation platform impacts pay rates as well. Technicians with more experience and higher ratings command a premium rate. Technicians with less experience on platform may be equally qualified without the same premium. These technicians with less experience can be strong fits when looking for assistant techs to support your lead. This should be a consideration as you weigh cost against the complexity associated with individual jobs – i.e., is this a job whose characteristics allow the use of a less experienced (read less expansive) technician?
This brings us to our next Buyer of Choice best practice: “Vet for What you Expect,” which we will cover in the next post in this 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.