The latest research from The Service Council: “Field Service Workforce Management: Winning With People” confirms a significant shift in priorities amongst leading service organisations.
The report points out: “In the business of service delivery, people are the product … field service workforce management strategies need to extend beyond the scheduling and allocation of existing resources to the acquisition, management, empowerment and retention of the appropriate service workforce”.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the top areas of strategic focus for service organisations of all sizes for the coming 12 months are field service workforce management and performance management and visibility, ahead of the traditional emphasis on technology/automation infrastructure.
In addition to an increased emphasis on planning, the report highlights the need to strengthen hiring, training, engagement and knowledge management - initiatives that would not have been anywhere close to the top of the list 5 years ago, but are now recognised as being increasingly vital.
The authors conclude that service leaders are beginning to understand - both conceptually and financially - the value of what they refer to as a “service ready workforce”. In short, in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, service is the differentiator and people are the product.
It’s clear that technology by itself isn’t a complete answer to a highly engaged workforce. But it’s also clear that technology can be an invaluable enabler - if it allows managers to see what’s really happening at the front lines of their business, and to facilitate the desired workforce behaviours.
If managers are to manage effectively - and get the most out of their people at all times - then they need to have data at their fingertips that enables them to identify patterns of performance, to identify best practices, and to tailor training initiatives based on actual individual worker performance.
This activity and behaviour-related data is critical to improving worker and workforce performance both in the here-and-now and over the long-term. It will allow managers to identify, encourage and incentivise top performers and to identify the qualities they need to recruit when making new hires.
The problem with traditional task-focused workforce management software is that it ignores or underplays the critical importance of worker activities and behaviours - and that it fails to collect, analyse and interpret the data that managers need if they are to truly make the most of their human resources.
That’s why we believe that a different, more intelligent approach is required - one that captures activity based information at a much more granular level, and merges it with location-based data to give managers a much more complete picture of their field force’s performance.