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Utilizing Technology To Recruit, Retain & Train the Next Generation of Field Service Technicians

According to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2021, job openings across the nation had reached 10.9 million. The report also found that there were 5.9 million job separations at the end of the year, and the number of quits peaked at a record 4.3 million.

The trades industry isn’t exempt from this influx in job openings, nor is it a stranger to the challenges and strain labor shortages place on technicians. The skilled trades gap has plagued field service professionals for the better part of a decade, and recent reports have found that 68% of providers are struggling to hire skilled workers and 77% of tradespeople view the labor shortage as a significant problem.

So, how do we combat the Great Resignation? This mass reshuffling has forced many employers to rethink their approach to employee recruitment and retainment – especially in the trades.

Now that millennials officially make up the largest segment of the workforce, with Gen Zers quickly becoming part of the mix, the generational stigma towards skilled trades has caused major gaps in the industry, and a steady decline of the training resources and programs available to aspiring technicians. With a large portion of the skilled trades workforce approaching retirement age, the earned knowledge of these technicians is being lost as a result of poor documentation.

This causes a cyclical effect: without access to proper training and resources, younger generations of workers lack insight about how to do the job. As a result, companies are having a difficult time attracting and developing a new generation of talented technicians.

Fortunately, technology helps us break this cycle.

Gone are the days of believing the trades aren’t the place for modern technology. We squashed that myth here. The reality is that the trades industry isn’t exempt from the effects of digital transformation, and as a result, the expectations and demands of new and existing technicians have shifted drastically.

Rather than deterring your existing staff, technician enablement solutions like workflow automation tools and technician training software have proven to be a solid way to retain and reallocate your existing staff while also enticing new recruits to join your team. Having these types of tools in your tech stack provides an effective way to showcase your team’s commitment to employee enablement, growth, and training. Below are three examples of effective ways technology can be used to help you stand out as an employer of choice in a highly competitive job market.

1. Create a Centralized Knowledge Hub

Smart technologies and technician training solutions successfully connect generations with the institutional knowledge needed to get their start and succeed in the trades industry. According to Aaron Salow, CEO of XOi Technologies, every time an experienced technician retires, “a library burns down.” Solutions like the Knowledge Base in XOi’s Vision app preserve and document that library of information and expertise, helping you avoid a reliance on tribal knowledge.

Through the Vision app, a technician has access to a knowledge base of more than 200,000 manuals, diagrams, and wireframes, an easily searchable database of previous work, and a hub for universal knowledge sharing. Even for a seasoned technician who is slow to adopt new technology, XOi makes it easy to communicate valuable learning, training, and job information across organizations.

2. Streamline Manual Processes & Job Documentation

New technology adoption allows a technician to provide fast, efficient, and effective service to all customers. There’s no doubt that great service has led to even greater growth in our industry. This growth attracts and keeps a new generation of technicians, putting to rest that outdated stigma. These are essential jobs that require a modern workforce with modern solutions and skills.

As newer generations continue to grow more and more accustomed to communicating and completing tasks digitally, they expect their employers to provide them with similar equipment and efficiencies on the job. Providing your team with modern solutions to track, document, and communicate job status and completion and effectively outline onsite tasks and protocols is extremely beneficial to you and your staff, but is also a huge incentive that can draw younger technicians to join your team.

3. Facilitate Efficient Training & Ongoing Mentorship

Recent studies have shown that 89% of employees believe training resources should be available anywhere and anytime they need to do their job. That same study found that 1 in 3 employees find their organization’s training to be out-of-date.

Following the trend of remote and online training, newer generations of workers entering the trades have increased demand for remote and online methods of education and training. Investing in programs and solutions that improve and facilitate both tactical skills training and extended mentorship are clear and positive signals for recruits looking for their next role.

In addition to helping you attract new talent, these tools go a step further in improving and expediting the training process once you hire new talent. Tools like XOi’s Vision Live app and Virtual Mentor Center, help greener techs ramp up their skills and expertise by virtually connecting them with seasoned experts for live and interactive training.

Looking for innovative ways to attract new talent to join your organization? We understand how competitive today’s market can be, and we’re committed to providing service providers effective solutions to help bridge the ongoing skilled trades gap. To learn more about how XOi can help your team, schedule a demo with one of our dedicated and knowledgeable team members: xoi.io/contact

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