Help Wanted: Combating Knowledge Loss in an Aging Workforce

There is no doubt that the “Silver Tsunami” is upon us. For those not familiar with the “Silver Tsunami”, it refers to the large amount of aging baby-boomers reaching retirement age and preparing to leave the workforce.

In field service, this comes with its own unique challenges. Namely, the struggle to retain and transfer the knowledge and expertise that the retiring workforce has built up over their career.

In a recent survey conducted by The Service Council (TSC), 7 out of 10 organizations indicated that the loss of talent and knowledge in field service was the biggest challenge their company was either currently facing or would be facing in the next 5-10 years.

Don’t Wait for the Retirement Party

The worst way to prepare for turnover in any business is to not prepare. This is especially true in field service. Waiting until your technicians are already headed for the retirement door all but guarantees losing their considerable knowledge and expertise. Their focus will be heavily on the next chapter of their lives, not on retaining their know-how for their successors.

Therefore, it’s important to be proactive and anticipate. The best way to do this is to capture that knowledge now. The Aberdeen Group states that Best-in-Class organizations are 62% more likely to have a centralized repository of service data, ensuring critical service knowledge doesn’t leave the organization along with the technician.

However, having a repository is only half the solution. The Aberdeen Group also found that Best-in-Class are 67% more likely to provide field technicians with easy access to parts and repair information via mobile devices.

Survival Requires Knowledge Capture AND Deployment into the Field

Capturing and retaining the knowledge of experienced technicians serves no purpose if that knowledge isn’t accessible to the people in your organization who need it most.

Currently, most mobile tools in field service focus on automating the administrative side of an organization, such as decreasing paperwork, expediting invoicing and eliminating billing errors. While these types of mobility tools certainly have their place, they do little to support technicians where they need it most – at the point of service.

Organizations must invest in mobile knowledge solutions that technicians will benefit from while on site. These include tools that provide online/offline access to maintenance, installation and break/fix information, as well as tools that help them to identify, locate and order parts needed for a repair.

As companies face an increase in field service technicians reaching retirement age, these are the only tools that will ensure the new generation has access to the knowledge and experiences of their predecessors.

The Silver Tsunami doesn’t have to wipe out your field service organization. By anticipating turnover, ensuring that knowledge is captured in a central library, and then providing that knowledge to your technicians through the power of mobile tools, you can surf the waves with ease.

For tips on creating and delivering a knowledge base that increases first-time fix rates and drives profitability, download the white paper: “Setting Your Knowledge Free”