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December 17, 2021

How to build a motivated field service team


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A successful business is hardly ever a one-man show. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur, it is likely that you have developed strategic partnerships to support the services you offer. Depending on the nature of your business, strategic partners can span from marketing partners that help generate leads for your business, to field service partners that raise the capacity of your business for specific projects. The latter is commonly used when businesses take on work that they alone can’t handle, and, thus are required to take on more resources from partners (other businesses).

Teams, no matter what form or size, are the most important resource for field service businesses. They are the means through which services are delivered. Yes, equipment and raw materials are also important, however, tangible items are easier to manage and maintain. Some industries, in particular, education, construction, landscaping, cleaning, and a few more rely entirely on the work of their teams.

As such, any field service business aspiring to success will have to invest in retaining motivated teams and partners (who deploy teams on behalf of your business). There is evidence that supports claims that motivated teams can increase the quality and quantity of work performance from 20 to 40 percent.

So, with that in mind, here are 6 ways to build motivated field service teams that are prepared to reach high levels of teamwork and productivity:

Set distinct goals

Teams that have little to no idea what they are doing are likely to dissimilate fast. In other words, if internal or external teams (or partners) are not aware of the goals of the project then their ability to plan and deliver high-quality work will suffer. In absence of goals, teams tend to lose perspective and motivation to complete tasks to the best of their ability. 

Leadership is expected to set distinct goals that would guide their work, set clear expectations, and define rewarding mechanisms that would keep teams motivated for longer than a week. Setting goals is only one part of the process, it is also extremely important that these goals are adequately communicated to every member of your team. By going through this process, you make sure that every member of the team is sufficiently aware of their priorities and the work that they have to do to achieve certain rewards set out by your planned reward mechanism.

Setting goals also helps build camaraderie across different teams. A good illustration of this is a situation where you have set specific goals for customer satisfaction in your plumbing business. These goals will likely be crafted in such a way that both your team of technicians and your customer service representatives or sales team will have to work hand in hand. These teams can learn from each other and build good working relationships while performing their distinct duties towards a common goal.

Stay engaged with your team

When work feels unrewarding, teamwork suffers. You should always encourage the members of your team to fully participate by inviting and entertaining their input and suggestions on how to do things better. Ask your team members questions, listen to their answers, and, whenever possible, implement their solutions and suggestions. This will also foster open communication within your team, which is another integral component of a successful business.

Also, another way to increase motivation is promoting good work ethics among your team members, and then giving unique recognition to individuals or groups who put in the exceptional effort - think of it like those ”Employee of the month” programs. Such efforts will make the rewarded individuals or groups feel appreciated and motivated to continue running the marathon. Be careful to avoid creating unhealthy competition in your workplace. You can emphasize that the essence of your reward system is to foster good teamwork and unity towards achieving the business’ goals.

Remember, if you do decide to pursue a program with the goal of motivating team members then make sure the due diligence and planning is conducted during goal-setting (or immediately after).

Create a detailed agenda for your meetings

Whenever it is time to have a team meeting, if the members of your team seem to have embraced the belief that this is just going to be another couple of wasted hours, then you are certainly doing something wrong. For most businesses, there’s a 50/50 shot that teams do not enjoy spending time in meetings.

In a survey conducted by the folks at Igloo software, 47% of respondents believed that meetings tend to be generally unproductive.

In the interest of you and your team, plan meetings ahead of time. Create a detailed agenda that highlight key discussion points, and tries to define a time within which each topic has to close. In addition, make sure to be inclusive and encourage everyone to share their opinion. While we’re on the topic of inclusiveness, don’t go inviting everyone to the meeting. Invite only the team members who need to attend, start the meeting on time, and then end it once all important issues have been discussed.

Manage, but do not micromanage

After goals have been set, the action plan has been discussed, roles have been dispensed, and everyone is in agreement, it is good practice to let your team members figure out the best way to go about their tasks. These are people who you must have hired after ascertaining they were competent enough to handle the jobs you required them to do, so you should be able to trust their work, rather than breathe down their necks in a bid to control every step they take and every move they make. 

Manage your team and correct them where necessary, but if you do not let them have some independence as they perform their duties, you will find yourself with an unmotivated team on your hands.

Furthermore, even when an employee fails at a task, avoid meting out punishments in such cases. Instead, encourage them to learn valuable lessons from their mistakes so they can avoid such mishaps in the future. And then in the spirit of keeping them motivated, also encourage them to try again.

Be the kind of boss you would like to work for: positive, understanding, and empathetic.

Pay your people what they are worth

The salaries you pay your team members should be consistent with what other companies in your industry and geographic area are paying. This will help you avoid losing exceedingly competent employees to other companies because you are underpaying them. We have already discussed the different ways of creating a desirable compensation plan to increase employee retention across field service businesses, such as construction, landscaping, plumbing, electrical and similar.

Related: How to create a desirable compensation plan

Provide good work incentives

A clean and pleasant work environment, opportunities for self-development, health insurance, mental health resources, PTO programs, and offsite employee activities are a few examples of useful work incentives that you can offer to your team. The point of this is to build a supportive environment for your employees, giving each member and the team as a whole the chance and the drive to thrive.

It is in the general interest of any practical business owner that, for the gain of their business, they avoid making mistakes that will scare their employees away. After all, you invest time and energy in training and developing them to fit the culture of the business and they suddenly decide to leave. Do not micromanage, operate without planning, underpay, discourage innovation, or punish failures, and you will surely be on the right path to building yourself a fired up and highly productive team of workers.

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