How to Effectively Onboard a New Field Service Technician
- October 18, 2017
- By: Vonigo
This article on how to effectively onboard a new field service technician was written by Christine Juszczak, MBA, Recruitment Consultant and Owner of Key Recruitment Consulting.
Finding the right talent to join your growing organization is its own challenge. It’s also crucial to ensure you effectively onboard your new team members to set them up for success. Onboarding starts before day one and involves much more than a presentation outlining your company’s history and employee benefits.
Especially for businesses onboarding field service technicians, it is important to make the necessary touch points within the first few weeks. If your new hire feels left in the dark or is missing the appropriate training and tools to do their job, you could risk losing them. Onboarding is so critical to retaining new hires that, when effectively introduced to their new work environment, over 69% of employees remain employed with the same company up to three years after they start.
To learn more about the five most important onboarding steps when hiring field service technicians, continue reading.
1. Start Onboarding Your Field Service Technician Before Day One
Before your new employee even steps foot in your office on their first day, they should already have received some basic information regarding your company culture and benefits. For example, they should be aware of their scheduled shifts, break allotments, pay structure, and health and dental benefits (if offered).
Also, be sure to include information regarding dress code, whether it be business casual, or company uniform. Outline who the person is supposed to meet with on day one. Let them know if they need to bring anything with them such as banking information or social insurance card.
Taking the time to explain the basics of their job and your business, prior to day one, will help ensure they begin to familiarize themselves with your company and are primed for a successful start.
2. Make Introductions
It’s day one of your field service technician’s new role with your company, and the first priority for you as the employee’s manager is to facilitate introductions between staff and the new technician. This step is especially crucial in mobile service businesses where teams are decentralized and are constantly coming and going to meet clients at various locations. In the field service industry, your crews may be working on their own, or with only one or two other people. It’s important to connect new team members with more experienced ones so that if they ever need assistance or have questions, they will feel comfortable reaching out to another team member.
If your new hire isn’t introduced to anyone, and is sent out in the field on their own and ends up in a jam, they will likely feel stressed and isolated. Even when working alone, it’s vital to ensure your team members feel connected, even if it’s simply through technology.
3. Implement a Training Program
One of the best ways to ensure a newly-hired field service technician will quickly acclimate to their new duties is through job shadowing a colleague. It’s important to not only learn the technical aspects of their role but also to gain an appreciation for your unique way of running a business. They will need to learn how to properly complete fieldwork, deal with clients and effectively problem solve or escalate any problems as per your business model.
Throwing someone into the role with a “sink or swim” mentality sets an employee up for failure. No matter how technically proficient someone is, it’s important to spend some time on training. This will ensure there aren’t any knowledge gaps and the service all your technicians provide is seamless and consistent.
4. Provide the Necessary Tools
The fourth key tip is to ensure your employees have access to all the necessary tools. The tools required vary depending on the job. For example, if you are hiring a new cleaner for your mobile cleaning business, ensure your employee has a smartphone or tablet with your field service software installed, and of course cleaning supplies. This way they can receive work orders, view the schedule of client appointments, and email receipts. And ensure a thorough cleaning of the client’s home.
If your new technician does not have what they need to do their job, they can’t excel in their role. Studies show that employees who have the gear they need to complete their jobs are 80% more likely to make it through their first year with a new employer.
5. Communicate and Give Feedback
The final step is opening the lines of communication. Be sure to check in every once and awhile to see how your new hire is doing. Ask them what is going well or not so well. Ask if there is anything you can do to help them out. Making these touch points lets your new technician know that you care about their success.
Remember that communication goes both ways. It’s important that you let your staff know they can reach you if needed. Be sure they have your phone number and email address. Let them know you are comfortable with them reaching out anytime during business hours. Being approachable and available for staff when they need you is hugely important in retaining staff.
Finally, give feedback on how they are doing. People always want to know where they stand. Whether they get off to a solid or rocky start, be sure to give them some positive feedback. Encourage and motivate them to continue striving for their best. If there are pointers you can give to help them do better, be sure to let them know. Explain that you genuinely care about their success and this is why you are sharing tips for improvement.
Take the time to onboard new team members through information, introductions, training, tools, and communication. It will help your new field service technician feel competent and satisfied in their new role. If you brush off the significance of effective onboarding, you run the risk of losing good people. They may end up feeling lost, ignored or disengaged. Don’t make this mistake.
Ensure you spend the time up front investing in onboarding. That way they will stay with you and continue to provide exceptional client service for many years to come.
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