Motivated field service employees have better job satisfaction, higher performance levels, and greater productivity, leading to increased customer satisfaction. All of this, of course, means a healthier bottom line for your organization. That’s why motivating field service employees is a top priority for field service managers. But what’s the best way to keep field service workers motivated to do their best work?
With many varied perspectives on employee motivation and dozens of methods for approaching overall employee satisfaction, many managers use myriad methods in attempt to discover what works. The truth is that what motivates one employee may be lower on the list of motivating factors for another. It’s a highly individualized process that the best managers are able to master.
To gain insight on some of the most effective employee motivation strategies, we asked a panel of field service managers and business leaders to answer this question:
“What's the best way for managers to motivate field service employees?”
Find out what our experts had to say below.
Meet Our Panel of Field Service Managers and Business Leaders:
A speaker, author, and consultant, Barry Maher has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC, and he's frequently featured in publications like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Times, Business Week, and USA Today. His client list includes organizations like ABC, the American Management Association, Budget Rent a Car, Canon, and many other leading enterprises.
His books include Filling the Glass, the leadership book which has been cited as [One of] The Seven Essential Popular Business Books by Today's Librarian along with books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and The One Minute Manager.
“The most effective way to motivate field service employees is…”
We all know our people can achieve more than they believe they can achieve. So show them that. Show them the vision you have for what they can become and what they can accomplish: a vision you may have helped to instill but one you've worked out with them so it encompasses their hopes and dreams. If they think you have a high opinion of them, it's amazing what they will do to maintain that opinion. And the more they respect you they harder they will work to hang on to your regard.
And sometimes one of the greatest incentives can simply be the chance to belong to a first rate team, an outstanding organization, giving them the satisfaction of belonging to something they can be proud of. One of my clients is the U.S. Army. Why do people perform so heroically in battle? Do they love their country? Of course they do. But when you ask them about it, the answer you get is often the same one you get from championship football or basketball teams. They did it for their buddies, for their teammates, because they didn't want to let them down. And they felt like they were part of something special.
Mark Twain said, “Great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Make your people feel they can become great – or at least very good – and you might not be a great person but you'll certainly get great results, no matter how tough times are.
And it doesn't cost a penny – nowhere near as much as not doing it. Times are tough, but there's no glory and nothing to be proud of in easy victory. Doesn't the true measure of what we've accomplished lie in the obstacles we've overcome?
Jordan Wan is the Founder/CEO of CloserIQ, the sales recruiting platform for tech companies. Previously, he was the Head of Analytics at PayPerks, Sales Manager at ZocDoc, and Trading Strategist at Bridgewater Associates. Jordan has a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Computer Science from MIT and is a CFA® charterholder.
“As a former Field Sales Manager at ZocDoc, I found one of the best ways to motivate field sales reps is to…”
Do regular ride alongs.
One of the biggest challenges of field sales is not having a corporate office and team culture to motivate you through difficult times.
Helping your reps in the field with their regular job duties is a great way to lead by example and a reminder of their value in the organization.
Karin Hurt, CEO of Let's Grow Leaders, is a keynote speaker, leadership consultant, and MBA professor. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc.'s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers, AMA's 50 Leaders to Watch in 2015, & Top Thought Leader in Trust by Trust Across America. Her next book, Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul is being published by AMACOM in April
“There are two methods I recommend for motivating field service employees…”
- Create an environment of deep respect. I see too many team leaders acting superior and treating reps like they're pawns to fix rather that human beings to inspire. To build confidence, look them in the eye and see their true potential. Believing in your reps is the best way to get them to see how great they are capable of becoming.
- Streamline your metrics. If reps feel overwhelmed by all the ways they can fail, they won't succeed. Sure you need to look at quality, efficiency and financials – and that leads to a lot of metrics. If you’ve got more than 3 “ways to fail,” you may want to consider an index that pulls the performance together as an initial indicator (you can easily weight the most important metrics). Then use the sub metrics for a deeper dive to get underneath behaviors that need improving. Always coach to behaviors not numbers.
James Kademan started learning about service businesses when he started Doc Jams Printer Repair in 2006. Utilizing his experiences and past failures, he now coaches service businesses with videos and 1-on-1 coaching through Draw In Customers.
“The best way for managers to motivate service employees is to…”
Find the drive within the employee and utilize it. Most employees do not respond permanently to pay increases outside of expectations. Managers need to connect to service employees on a deeper, more personal level. Something attracted the employee to that service job. What was it? Find that reason, go deeper and deeper until you find the root of satisfaction for the employee. Then help that employee get that satisfaction. Maybe it is the hours of the job, the customer interaction, or just the joy of driving all day. Each employee is different. It is worth finding out.
Matthew Coleman is the marketing manager for MyEmployees, which provides all the necessary knowledge, tactics, skills, and products companies need for employee engagement and recognition, focused on front-line and service employees who interact daily with your customers.
“Our perspective on this topic comes from the angle of employee engagement and recognition. Below is an excerpt from our module on Motivation in our MyInsight Employee Engagement Survey training materials…”
In the Harvard Business Review, Herzberg maintains there are two ways to extrinsically motivate someone to accomplish a task – you can promise pain or pleasure. Do you want to use pain to get an employee to do the job? Threaten him with salary cutbacks, make him stay late, or promise to continually give him the same task until he does it right. Or, you can promise a reward at the end for a job well done. Obviously, the pleasure method is much more inspiring and takes less handholding by the manager - the last thing you want to do is constantly push or prod someone to finish a task. Keep in mind, though, punishment can be a good motivator and useful in some circumstances. For example, if you expect employees to be on time, you wouldn’t want to give them a reward for meeting a minimal job expectation! A three-strike rule regarding tardiness may be much more effective than a rewards system.
In general, pleasure should be used to actively engage employees in a goal-achieving process, like a specific project or a major milestone. Pain, on the other hand, is better for moments when employees aren’t meeting minimal job expectations. If you find yourself constantly using pain as a motivator, it may indicate that you don’t have the right employees in the right seats. You shouldn’t have to drag an employee kicking and screaming along the path to success!
But once you have good employees in place, pleasure is a better long-term strategy because it’s easier and more fulfilling for both parties. The challenge of achievement will keep employees excited about their work, and the satisfaction that comes from a job well done will be magnified by also receiving an external reward. Remember, people are much more likely to be All-Star players when they have something exciting to work towards!
Keep in mind that extrinsic rewards can be simple. You don’t have to offer a yacht or a new mansion for the next task your employees complete. Something as simple as offering an “employee of the month” plaque, or a “thanks for being awesome” card can stir up healthy intra-employee competition and get their creative and assertive minds whirring.
Margo McClimans is an executive coach, running leadership development programs in Europe, US, and Asia for executives of all levels since 2005. Her coaching certification is with the Coaches Training Institute (USA), and she holds an MBA in International Business (IT) and a Bachelor degree in International Relations (CH). She holds dual Italian and American citizenship, has lived in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has made Zürich her home.
“To best motivate your field service employees, remember that…”
Autonomy is on your side – don’t hinder it. As we know from Daniel Pink’s work on motivation, Autonomy, Purpose, and Mastery are key factors that drive us. When your employee is out in the field, the autonomy piece is built-in…unless you are making attempts to add more structure, control, or (unwanted) support. The best person to know how much support and structure she needs is your employee herself. Ask her how much and what kind of support she needs and otherwise, let her get on with it!
Make sure the employee is 100% certain of her goals and your company/team strategy. If he knows where the North Star is, it will be much easier for him to feel confident making business decisions without your presence or input. This confidence will build a sense of self-worth through the knowledge that he is trusted by you and is capable of doing the right thing and adding value.
How do you know if the goals and strategy are clear to the employee? How would you feel if I called her up right now and asked, “What are your boss’/department’s top three priorities this month, this year?” Would you bet money on the fact that she could answer accurately? If not, this is a sign you should be spending more time clarifying the WHERE you want to get and WHY. Leave the HOW up to her.
Communicate regularly – not just about tasks. It is best practice to have a one on one meeting every week with each of your employees. This is especially important if your employee is in the field. Done à la Mark Horstman of manager-tools.com, this is a 30-minute meeting with the opportunity for the employee to bring any topic to the table whatsoever. I can hear you thinking, ‘That’s nice, but I don’t have time!’ Consider this, if employees know for sure that they are going to get their 30 minutes with you consistently every week, they will not feel the need to contact you to discuss less urgent items, knowing it can wait for the one-on-one. Managers experience noticeably fewer interruptions and have an increase in available time after just a few weeks into the one-on-one routine. Oh…and another bonus; teams who get regular one-on-ones with their bosses perform measurably better.
The best way to start this meeting is by asking, “How’s it going?” You and your employee both have a chance to bring topics to the table, but the employee goes first. Of course you have catch-ups and ad hoc meetings and phone calls all week, but this one half hour a week provides a safety net for the employee to feel sure she will always have a time and a place to be heard by you. Close your computer, shut your door and pick up the phone. Do not multi-task. Dedicate yourself fully to this phone call, and listen not just to what is being said, but how it is being said and also what is NOT being said. Your employee needs to feel connected to you and part of the team. If you make this a ritual that always takes precedence in your calendar, you are sending a signal to this person that he is important.
Emily Brown is a blogger for GetAcademicHelp.com.
“To motivate field service employees, first and foremost you should remember that…”
You’re one team, and you should be ready to help each other and be open to the new possibilities of working with someone who is likely very talented. So listen carefully to what employees have to say and respect their ideas and opinions.
Being a mentor is one more important thing in making the boss-employee relationship work. Be someone that your employees can rely on for advice and sounding off on ideas. Take care not to come across as condescending or intrusive, but do impart you knowledge and experience with humility, goodwill, and in the way of mentoring.
Dr. Noelle Nelson
“The best way to motivate field service employees is to…”
Catch your employees in the act of doing something right.
Acknowledging your employees when they do something right is a far more successful motivator than only pointing out what they are doing wrong. Psychology has long proven that people respond far better to positive feedback than to negative.
Consistently letting your employees know that you see the hard work that they are putting into their job will help you keep employees on the right track since people are likely to repeat behaviors they have been praised for. By letting workers know that you value their efforts, you increase your employees' sense of competence and they become far more motivated to do good work.
Whitney Bristol is the Marketing director for Jasper Contractors. Jasper Contractors is a national roofing company that has been offering exceptional roofing services since 2004. The company has earned an excellent reputation and are both BBB accredited and an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor. Jasper Contractors’ continuous growth has allowed the company to constantly employ new, money-motivated individuals within a recession proof business model.
“Here at Jasper Contractors, we motivate our field service employees by…”
Having monthly award ceremonies where each market competes for the title of Best Field Sales Team. Winners with the highest number of installs receive a trophy, and the employee with the most sales receives a championship belt. This promotes friendly competition within the company. We also motivate them with monetary rewards and also a gift of their choice.
Graham Whistance is the Managing Director of MyMobileWorkers. With a passion for tech and all things mobility, Graham has now been in the software business for over 20 years and has a proven track record for navigating companies through the minefield of implementing software.
“To motivate field service employees effectively, management should…”
Treat them like human beings – sometimes field service employees are just seen as a resource doing a job. They aren’t. People will tend to treat you the way they are treated. There obviously have to be boundaries; therefore, set expectations early. Make sure people understand why these expectations are there and the consequences if they're not met.
We find that when companies introduce mobile technology into the field service environment field workers are sometimes treated as ‘them.’ ‘They’ will be worried about big brother watching them, and ‘they’ will not want to use it because it isn’t what ‘they’ are used to.
Explain to people why you as an organization have chosen to introduce mobile technology, the consequences if the company don’t, and the consequences to the individual if they don’t use it. However, focus on the time savings and the benefits on them not scrabbling around looking for their job sheet. Perhaps even open the device up to being able to be used to browse the Internet or access email on the understanding that it won’t be misused.
Jason Allison has worked in the plumbing industry for over 20 years, beginning his apprenticeship in 1993 serving on multi-residential housing projects. Over the next decade, Jason developed his skills to include job supervision, project management and estimating, leading to the launch of his own business, Santa Cruz Plumbing, Inc. in 2006. Over the past decade, Santa Cruz Plumbing has grown from a two-man shop to a full-service plumbing company with over 50 employees and jobs stretching throughout the Bay Area, from Monterey to San Mateo County.
“At Santa Cruz Plumbing we motivate field service employees is by…”
Offering recognition, monetary reward, and work that is challenging and fulfilling. Our employees appreciate verbal praise recognizing them for their hard work. It's imperative that they feel valued and like an important part of our team. Additionally, we offer monetary rewards in the form of salary and bonus incentive programs. An example of an incentive program in which we offered bonus money was when we were boosting our online reviews as part of our online marketing campaign. We offered our plumbers bonus cash for obtaining four or five-star reviews in Yelp and Google. The employees would solicit positive reviews from happy customers upon service completion. The customers who left reviews for Santa Cruz Plumbing would mention the plumber's name so in addition to the monetary reward, they would also receive praise from the customer about a job well done!
Speaker and author Sandy Geroux, M.S. delivers programs that overflow with ideas to help leaders inspire employees to go the extra mile to find hidden WOWs that add up to exceptional experiences for everyone around them. Attendees describe her dynamic speaking as enthusiastic and extremely motivating!
“The best way for managers to motivate field service (and sales) employees is to…”
Give them the tools and training to not only help them do their jobs properly and instill pride in themselves and their work, but also to keep them from embarrassing themselves! Then reward them for their good work and proactive thinking, as appropriate.
For example, our lawn service recently killed a good part of our front lawn, and it is quite obvious that something was going wrong.
Here's the exchange that occurred between us and the service technician:
- We had to call the company to complain about the lawn dying because he didn't notice it!
- When we called and asked for someone to come out right away, they refused to send someone out before our regularly-scheduled maintenance visit in a couple of weeks.
- When he did come out, the technician told us we weren't watering enough and that the damage was caused by a lack of water (we thought we had chinch bugs and told him that; he said no, it was watering).
- So we began watering (costing ourselves a water bill that was over $300 that month – yes, go figure – in Florida, a state surrounded by water, water is more expensive than anywhere else we've ever lived!).
- The lawn got worse...
- The following month, a different technician came out and informed us that we had chinch bugs! When we inquired about the water, he said that there was no way that damage was due to a lack of water and we should never have been told that.
- We then received letter from the company telling us that their chinch bug treatment was no longer working because the chinch bugs had become resistant to it. So, if we wanted them to apply a new treatment, we had to pay extra for it.
But here's the kicker - below is a conversation that occurred between us and a salesperson from that company around this same time:
- The salesperson knocked on our door and told us he was from our lawn company.
- We thought he was there to talk about our problem, but to our incredible surprise, he began telling us that we had BIG problems with our lawn and that we needed to get some help with it. He then told us that whoever our lawn company was doing a terrible job of maintaining our lawn and that we should consider using his company because they would do a MUCH better job for us.... Then he asked who our lawn company was.
- We looked at each other and said, “YOU!” We then related the story of what was going on with the lawn.
- The look of shock, dismay, and embarrassment on his face was enough to get him to stammer out an apology and slink away in embarrassment.
- I actually felt badly for him because he was so embarrassed, and all of this embarrassment could have been prevented by a few actions:
- First, train your field service personnel properly to do their jobs (or hire people who have enough experience to know what they're dealing with in the first place).
- If you have a need to hire inexperienced field service personnel due to high demand, at least assign an experienced person who can check on their work... and possibly allow them to shadow the experienced person for a while.
- As new problems arise (either with a particular product, such as the chinch bug treatment that no longer worked) or with their level of experience, communicate with them so they have advance knowledge that there could be a problem, or offer them re-training and specific solutions to help ease the situation.
- Give them a mobile app they can use to, for example, enter in a problem a client is having and see if there is any information or a solution they can access and recommend to the client.
- MOST OF ALL, if you're going to send salespeople into an area where you already have clients, give them a list of clients in that area to at least spare them the embarrassment of soliciting current clients! Even if there is no problem, the company (and their representative) look completely incompetent by appearing not to even know who their customers are.
So, the moral of the story is to keep in mind the 3 Ps of motivating field service and sales representatives below by enabling them to feel pride in their work – and keep them from embarrassing themselves (and de-motivating them in the process):
- PROPER tools
- PROPER training
- PERIODIC refreshers and new communications
By the way, we've cancelled that service and are still (over 2 months later) waiting on a refund they promised us when we cancelled.
Rory Briski is a Senior Management Executive successful at partnering with core business operations to significantly expand market share, generate sustainable revenue, and grow profits. Briski is a strategic visionary with strong domestic and international management experience with a track record of building high-performance, multi-cultural teams. Having traveled throughout the world meeting with clients and governments, Rory brings extensive international experience and well-honed presentation and negotiation skills within a multi-national environment.
“The best way to motivate Field Service Employees is to…”
Actually support them from the home office. In many companies that I’ve helped, I’ve seen calls come in from the field and they sit for hours, or sometimes days, before being acted upon. When a call comes in for help from the field, it should become the #1 priority for everyone. The Field Rep is with the customer, having an issue, and they need support right then, at that moment.
If you don’t supply it, the customer may wonder why the rep is even there, and it will undermine their credibility and reputation. It may also generate thoughts with the customer such as what kind of lousy support you provide and provide a good excuse to look elsewhere for products/services. The Field Service person will lose trust in the company’s ability to support them and that will lead to resentment and ultimately finding work elsewhere.
Field service personnel that are properly supported feel better about themselves and the company, and they can be your best salespeople. When a Field Support person feels valued, they are naturally motivated.
Ben Miller is the Owner of AAI Pest Control in Northern California. He has been in the pest management business for many years and when his Father-in-law retired a few years ago, Ben and his wife purchased the company. They have approximately 20 field technicians and are passionate about serving their community.
“The best way for managers to motivate field service employees is to…”
Make sure they know that they are valuable and trusted. Employees work harder for you and the client when they know that you are rooting for them. If you treat employees like they are replaceable, or you micro-manage them too much you lose their loyalty. We do a lot to keep our techs motivated. We just launched a program that rewards technicians for happy customers. They have a point structure and each time a client says they had a great experience, or they fill out a positive survey, we reward that employee with points towards prizes. We are anxious to see how that works, but so far everyone seem excited about it. We like to make the workplace fun so that our staff want to stay with us for the long haul.
Randi Busse is the Founder and President of Workforce Development Group, Inc., a coaching and training organization that specializes in improving the customer experience, increasing customer retention, and maximizing revenue. Randi challenges business leaders and employees to think in innovative ways when it comes to taking care of their customers. She is also the author of Turning Rants Into Raves: Turn Your Customers On Before They Turn On YOU!
“The best way for managers to motivate field service employees is…”
To treat your employees as if they were your customers, because they are! Your field service employees are your internal customers. The way you treat them is going to have a direct effect on the way employees treat external customers. Treat your employees with respect, professionalism, care, patience, and understanding, and help them feel valued for the contributions they are making to your organization.
Jennifer Martin is a Published Author, Motivational Speaker, and Business Consultant who specializes in Business Development and Work Life Balance. She helps Business Owners, Leaders, and Managers learn how to run successful businesses without sacrificing their sanity or their lives in the process.
“The best way to manage field service workers isn't…”
A one-size-fits-all solution, and what you might do to motivate your work from the office team isn't always a good fit.
People who chose field-based jobs tend to have different personalities, and therefore, different needs, desires, and motivating factors compared to people who plug in to an office for a typical 8-5 office job.
So, what do you do if you want to help motivate your field workers? Get them engaged!
- Create a unique incentive program for each individual. First get to know them uniquely. Rather than creating a one size fits all approach consider having the manage field service worker team manager get to know each person individually to find out what would motivate them personally. Create a customized incentive program just for them that includes the prize or reward that they would personally be motivated by.
- Ask for input about setting a department goal. Give all of your field service workers a chance to have some ownership around their work/contribution. Get them invested in helping your organization reach your goals by asking them to help you create your incentive or bonus program, or establish what thresholds are worth celebrating and what the celebration will be for accomplishing the goal for the whole department.
- Play as a group. Bring your field service group together for social events (think happy hour, a game of darts, a sporting event, etc.) to create a bond with your external team.
- Run a contest. Run a contest for the whole team to discover the best solutions to one of the following questions. Give the winner a great prize and public recognition for their contribution (some companies make this an on-going experience to acknowledge people monthly).
a. What can we do to improve the customer's experience?
b. What do you think we can do to help everyone work more productively, or more effectively?
c. What would help make (this company) more fun?
d. What can we do to make more money or sell more product or services?
- Celebrate team successes and give positive feedback. Want to see more of the good and less of the other stuff? Celebrate when someone on the team is doing a great job and make sure you get the whole company involved.
Then have the team's manager take time to identify 3 positive reasons why each team member is valued by the company/organization. Then have the manager share a compliment with each person on the team at least once every 2 weeks.
- Respect and empower your staff. There's nothing worse than feeling like a peon when you aren't earning what you feel like you are worth. If you can't pay your staff with money, pay them with attention, respect, and consideration. Give everyone the ability to make decisions in their own realm and recognize and appreciate them when they get it right.
- Create a team project. Give your team the ability to create something as a group/team. If you want an engaged, dynamic, and team focus, then give your team something to focus on collectively. Regardless of the position someone might be in, create opportunities for everyone on staff to cross pollinate a little and share their wisdom and creativity on a larger level as a part of a group.
The more engaged your team is, the greater sense of ownership they will have in your success. When they are a part of creating success, then they have something that they can really feel proud of creating. Create a company culture where everyone can get involved.
John Bruce is the President and COO of Performex®. As a Mechanical Engineer, John experienced firsthand the journey from technical professional to leader. After decades of experience in Fortune 500 leadership roles, John joined Performex, which focuses on the unique leadership challenges faced by technical professionals. As COO, John applies his real-world experience to help others become great leaders.
“Keeping field service employees engaged can be challenging, to say the least…”
With geographically dispersed teams and difficulty monitoring individual performance, many managers struggle with strategies for improving employee motivation.
Humans are hardwired to crave progress, with the desire to be on a winning team. Research has shown employees' engagement and motivation levels skyrocket when they have achieved progress toward goals. A leader can tap into this natural drive and enhance performance by:
- Clearly communicating overall goals
- Linking each individual's objectives to overall initiatives
- Celebrating progress toward goals
Just sharing an understanding of the company's goals is not enough. If a team is focused only on long-term goals, they are not consistently winning. Small wins are crucial to maintaining emotional health, both in business and in our personal lives. Despite evidence that recognizing and celebrating progress greatly improves a team's morale and productivity levels, less than one half of managers take the time to do so.
By defining common goals and a creating winning team atmosphere, a leader can boost motivation and results among his/her team.
Leah Thurber is a blogger for GetAcademicHelp.com.
“For many business owners, it’s not always easy to determine what truly motivates employees…”
To do their best work, to come in on time, or to remain loyal to the company. It is true that one of the most difficult components of being an effective manager is not only learning to keep your employees organized and on task, but to truly know how to motivate employees as well. Unfortunately, not every employee is naturally willing to go the extra mile in their everyday efforts, and many times this is because they don’t feel a sense of ownership in their work.
It is very important to give more than money to your employees. It’s naïve to think people aren’t motivated by money, but that doesn’t mean money is the only motivator. Studies have shown employees who feel engaged — which encompasses more than just being paid well — are more productive, less likely to leave the business, and generate higher customer satisfaction rates. Increasing engagement can come from recognition in newsletters, during meetings, with employee of the month programs, or through peer reward systems. Even a quarterly barbeque can be the kind of thing employees look forward to and talk about for months afterward.
What is more, a good manager should avoid talking about financial results. One of the most substantial ways to start motivating your team members is to change the way you talk about your company. The truth of the matter is that while shareholders often care about a company’s financial performance,
most employees don’t have as much of a rooting interest in the financial results of their organization. This is particularly true when employees do not see a direct correlation between their salary and the financial success of the company.
If you can increase the level of engagement that your employees have with their everyday tasks within the workplace, you can start seeing the overall productivity of your entire department increase almost instantly. While the reasons to motivate employees are clear to most managers, finding ways to actually get team members engaged in their work is often far more difficult.
Bruce McCully is the founder and CEO of Dynamic Edge, Inc. and a national expert in the areas of computer security and business technology. He began his career in computer networking over 17 years ago, providing IT solutions to businesses in Southeast Michigan and Tennessee.
“The most important way to motivate anyone is to…”
Point out their value. Value to our organization, to our customers and their role in making our company the best IT solution. To motivate my field officers, I point out why they are crucial to the customer experience and how their role helps our organization. These field operators have direct impact on our customers and need to be shown how their work makes a difference. These field officers own their customer relationships and I expect them to realize this from when they start working off site.
I also motivate my officers by giving incentives for excellent job performance. Specifically, I reward them through bonuses based on customer satisfaction scores, utilization (how efficiently they schedule their time) and documentation (how thoroughly they document issues, solutions, describe client network environments, etc.). This motivational formula has led to greater customer experiences, long employee retention and have greater ownership of their work.
Kevin Cronin is a Board Member for Recognition Professionals and Co-Chair of the 2016 RPI Summit to be held January in Las Vegas. RPI is the only nonprofit association solely focused on employee recognition best practices and education as a systematic method for improvements in the workplace.
“To motivate field service employees, managers should focus on offering…”
Recognition. When employees feel appreciated it will show in increased productivity, improved customer service, and higher morale across the workforce. For service workers, recognition is the most valuable when managers can communicate feedback from customers and clients through personal contact directly from managers. Below are a few ways to recognize field service workers that will motivate:
- Sending handwritten notes to the office where they check-in or their home to say thanks in a personalized way for a job well done!
- When there is positive recognition to communicate, consider video conferencing which can be more powerful than just voice and, when appropriate, invite some peers and or other teammates to be present.
- Leverage another local manager to present the “award” or “tangible” during your call or meeting.
- Post the recognition on your company’s R&R site to help the recognition get more visibility.
Dr. Kevin Gazzara
Dr. Kevin Gazzara is CEO of Magna Leadership Solutions, a Management & Leadership Expert, Executive Coach, Professor at five Universities, Speaker, and Author of “The Leader of OZ”. Dr. Kevin Gazzara helps others achieve their full potential.
“To start, as a manager you can't motivate employees! However, as a manager you can, and should…”
Create the best possible environment for your employees so they can become motivated. What motivates one employee is different for another. It is an individual decision. Based on some extensive 10 years of research, we know that employees want you as manager to be a great communicator. Here's my best tip for managers that will contribute to building a motivating environment. When communicating, ensure all of your messages have 3 critical elements of:
- Quantity (how much)
- Quality (how success will be measured
- Pace (completion time with appropriate check-in points)
Become a better communicator and listener to keep your service employees motivated and engaged.
Snezana Pejic is an Etiquette Coach and the Founder of The Etiquette Academy of New England. After spending years managing teams and working in corporate America, where she observed individuals struggle with navigating social settings, Ms. Pejic was inspired to build The Etiquette Academy of New England and share her knowledge and enthusiasm for professional etiquette, protocol and leadership.
Ms. Pejic’s leadership, communication, customer service, and teamwork experience comes from years working as a Financial Consultant with Santander Bank (formerly Sovereign) where she oversaw and managed multiple teams, as well as her training in royal protocol and etiquette while working for His Late Majesty King Hussein of Jordan at the Royal Jordanian Air Force, a private royal airline. Ms. Pejic holds a BA in Business and MS in Finance and E-Commerce from BU.
“The best way to motivate field service employees is by…”
Altering/elevating a company’s culture beyond the mantra “Customers Come First” into “Customers Are Everyone’s Responsibility” and focusing on the true team-play that includes the whole organization rather than individual departments. “Customers Are Everyone's Responsibility” spreads the accountability evenly to each department: from reception to human resources, the finance department to the CEO, and departments that have direct contact with customers.
How can this be justified? In order for the customer or sales department to truly care about customer satisfaction as well as how customers perceive the company image, their needs and wants need to be met – they need to be satisfied first in order to pay it forward. That is why today’s most successful companies focus so much on employee satisfaction and can be found on various “best companies to work for” lists. It is as simple as that.
During his 14 years at Root, Gary has partnered with CEOs and executive teams at Fortune 500 and Global 2000 organizations throughout North America and Europe with a holistic view of their businesses, their people, and the customers they serve. Whatever the challenge, Gary brings over 25 years of business experience to every project, supported by a realistic outlook, a durable “street sense” for creating results, and a sense of humor that puts things into perspective.
Gary is the author of The Un-BossyBoss. He is a frequent speaker at client events, industry conferences, and business strategy and human resources seminars. He has been recognized with a Stevie’s American Business Award for Executive of the Year. He lives in Chicago, Illinois, and Fort Myers Beach, Florida,
with his wife, and has two sons in college. Gary is a Google fanatic and an unapologetic reality show junkie.
“One of the best ways for managers to motivate their employees is by…”
Recognizing them. Unfortunately as many as 39% of managers say they don't recognize their teams often. What damage does this do? It came make people feel undervalued, underappreciated – or worse – leaves them questioning whether or not their work is really important to you and the business. So,
managers need to make recognition a priority and here's how:
- Ask other managers what they've found effective in terms of rewards and recognition.
- Ask your team! Take the time to ask individuals how they would like to be recognized. Find out what types of rewards and recognition they find to be the most motivating. People always appreciate when their opinion is requested and valued.
- Put it on your calendar. Getting into the habit of expressing gratitude doesn't have to take a lot of time, but to make sure you don't overlook it, put it on your to-do list so that it becomes a priority and part of your leadership practice.
- Connect people's work to the big picture. When you celebrate wins, don’t miss the opportunity to reinforce how the accomplishment supports the business. The more clearly people understand how their work – big and small – impacts the business, the more dedicated, creative, and innovative they’ll be to achieve goals they are given.
Halelly Azulay is a facilitator, speaker, and leadership development strategist and an expert in communication skills and emotional intelligence. She is the CEO of TalentGrow LLC, where she develops leaders and teams, especially for enterprises experiencing explosive growth or expansion. Her free podcast, blog, and videos can be found at talentgrow.com.
“Motivation is a bit like beauty…”
It's in the eyes of the beholder. Managers can be most successful in motivating their employees, and especially those located remotely, by getting curious about what makes each of them tick. Ask casually, frequently, about their goals, their dreams, their likes and dislikes, and get to know each person as a person and a team-member. Research shows that 20th Century motivators – what is referred to as carrots and sticks – have limited value in the 21st Century workplace. For many employees, intrinsic motivators like a sense of purpose, mastery, or autonomy are much more meaningful and important. Therefore, managers can motivate field service employees more effectively when they understand more about what each of them desires as a reward from their work, and helps them craft their jobs to best align with those motivations and aspirations.
Kayla Ethan works for Rebates Zone.
“When considering the best ways for managers to motivate field service employees, managers should consider…”
There just cannot be a single best answer for every sector and job role. Even very successful strategies tend to fail when tried without modifying them for the relevant scenarios. But, there are a few points which remain the same in every scenario. Humans are social animals, we need a purpose and we need social contact. The purpose needs to be relevant and clearly defined. The time that you spend on educating your employee about why his work is important, will help him progress in his role and make him an asset for your company. So, make him understand the importance and set clear goals. The goals should not be easy and they should also not be too difficult. A continuous sense of achievement stemming from achieving the right goals can help field employees stay motivated. The other part is that even when out there he needs to know that he is part of a tightly knit team. This is where social contact comes in; being part of a team means the bigger picture, as more than personal goals are at stake.
Heath Suddleson is the President of Executive Achievement, LLC, a company dedicated to turning managers into leaders. He has over 25 years’ experience leading teams on 5 continents in both paid and volunteer roles. His book, The Attitude Check: Lessons in Leadership deals with these and other issues.
“Motivating any employee is simple enough. The challenge is often…”
Keeping management from de-motivating the employees. Of course, this is never intentional. It is usually the result of well-intentioned efforts that produce the opposite results of what we expected. For example, some manager offers a golf trip to St. Andrew's in Scotland as the prize for the front line employee who books the most company revenue. This trip would motivate the boss, but many of the front line staff are not in to golf, some are afraid of flying, and more than a few know they won't win so they don't try. Incentive programs are really easy if you follow these 5 basic rules:
- Keep it Simple. If you cannot explain your incentive in 3 short sentences or less, it is too complicated.
- Make it so everyone who achieves wins. Rewarding only the top performers always backfires because it disenfranchises much of the staff from the beginning. Incentives that reward all achievers will also promote more teamwork than competition.
- Make it public and fun. Each time someone is rewarded for achieving, you not only reward them, you also motivate others to do it as well once they see how easy it is to get rewarded.
- Make it inexpensive enough to be sustainable. If your program catches on, it should be year round rewards handed out on a regular basis. Cash rewards can get expensive and it may take higher amounts to motivate some people. Instead, use candy or company branded promotional items that are inexpensive enough to be given often. Consider that people who can win multiple times won't want the same prize each time unless it's consumable.
- Make it relevant to the employees being rewarded. Just like people fishing use a bait strategy based on the type of fish and the specific environment, managers should use a bait strategy with employees. People are not enticed by the worms, fish are. Select baits not because they attract you, but because they attract your employees. To know what that is, you have to know your employees.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith speaks, writes, and works to solve people and process problems. She supports SMB businesses with forward thinking leaders experiencing significant growth or failed execution initiatives. For the last 18 years, her common sense approach – ACE – Assess; Clarify & Execute – works quickly and provides sustainable results. Learn more about Leanne’s work at Process Specialist or visit her blog, Increase Sales Blog.
“Research continues to prove the best motivation is…”
Intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is expensive and non-sustainable. I would encourage managers to understand the Theory of Self-Determination where these 3 aspects must all be in place:
- Mastery – Allowing employees further professional development and mastery of their area.
- Autonomy – Providing the opportunity for choices that are in alignment with the overall strategic and sales plans.
- Purpose/Relatedness – Ensuring their work has purpose when it comes to relating to people because human beings are social. This also include authentic verbal or written comments from the managers expressing positive feedback.
Good to great managers make sure barriers are removed thus allowing these three internal motivational drives are being demonstrated by their field employees.
Lior Krolewicz is the Founder and CEO of Yael Consulting. A former online marketing leader at a top advertising firm, Lior has personally helped corporations direct millions in online advertising dollars to generate profit. He is an expert in online marketing, strategy, operations and technology.
In his experience with diverse industries, the military, and small and fortune-500 companies, Lior has personally increased sales and productivity, built reporting platforms, and cut wasteful costs, enabling companies to hit and surpass their ultimate goals.
“The best way for field service managers to motivate their teams is…”
To openly measure their success by customer satisfaction and quality of work. The point is not to highlight the failures or to force competition, but to allow the workers to take pride in what they do and why and all else will stem from there.
Karl Schoemer is the founder of VisionQuest, a multi-dimensional training firm and the creator of the I Hate Meetings movement. Over the last thirteen years, Karl has worked with thousands of companies undergoing change, in hundreds of industries, on five continents. VisionQuest helps companies and individuals Seize Change and make it part of their competitive advantage.
“When it comes to the most effective ways to motivate field service employees, smart managers understand that…”
They don't drive change. That's the misconception. Rather, management needs to identify the behaviors that make the change work and to teach, coach and reward those behaviors.
These managers understand that their role is to make the change work for the customer. They also understand that they need to create an environment where field technicians are equipped to do their job and held accountable throughout the process.
Really smart managers start with informative communication. They state the business case, the why we are doing this (always making the connection to the customer and marketplace). They talk straight and give honest answers. They don't focus on benefits, they focus on facts, on process, and on answering as many of the ‘me’ questions as they can that employees inevitably will have. Really smart managers don't sell anything.
Managers need to become a center of influence. Influential people are listened to and followed. Managers create their own positive centers of influence. This is done by using the oldest human behavior modification technique in the world: rewards and consequences. Those who are on board,
bought in, and going along get rewarded. Those who are negative, resistant and spreading discontent are consequenced. Students of the business vs. students of the job, those who see the big picture and the importance of change to the customer are identified and publicly rewarded.
Dr. Michael Provitera
Michael Provitera is a Management consultant, International Business Book Author, International Motivational Speaker, and Professor of Organizational Behavior. He is a recognized business expert, certified Situational Leadership Trainer, and Management Trainer. Michael is quoted frequently in the national media.
“Today, field service employees are using social media, texting, and email as their primary way to communicate with both coworkers, managers, and customers. Therefore, my suggestion is that…”
Managers use social media as the major way to communicate. To do this, the manager must use what I would call electronic leadership. Electronic leadership is a way to motivate, communicate, lead, and organize. The best way to do this is to communicate at least once a day but no less than three times a week. The communication must include a way to motivate, inspire, and keep the attention by engaging the Field service employee.