Last month, Marne Martin, CEO of Servicepower, evaluated the need to focus on the technology required to operate a field service operation and discussed recruiting, training, motivating, and retaining new Millennial employees (Technology and...
ARCHIVE FOR THE ‘performance-management’ CATEGORY
Last month, Marne Martin, CEO of Servicepower, evaluated the need to focus on the technology required to operate a field service operation and discussed recruiting, training, motivating, and retaining new Millennial employees (Technology and Technicans in field service). This month, Marne discusses the importance of performance management and how to implement it in your organisation.
Once the technology and staffing are taken care of, performance management is the next essential step to the success of a field service organisation (FSO). It involves accessing meaningful metrics, working across teams, and aligning execution to improve performance across the entire field service organisation. It involves having the right people communicate the key messages from the metrics and implement change, using analytical information to drive continuous technician improvement, business productivity goals, and customer satisfaction. This is where the best organisations differentiate themselves. Performance management provides the opportunity to train and encourage Millennials with a responsive performance culture in mind.
What is Performance Management?
Performance management is an employee centric program including metrics, leadership supported processes, and technology used to measure employee performance against pre-defined targets driven by company strategy and goals. A well-formed performance management programme incentivises employee behaviours that support company strategy and goals by measuring and reacting to positive or negative performance metrics. Flexible technology which provides easy to understand analytics that can be viewed conveniently, on a variety of devices, is essential. It also requires committed management that mentor and drive accountability, as well as a group of technicians that are motivated to continuously improve.
In the following sections, we define the building blocks of implementing performance management in your organisation.
What are the Most Important Metrics for field service operations?
ServicePower has published several pieces on key performance indicators (KPIs) for field service, including a white paper, and a new infographic which defines the top KPIs measured by best practice field service organisations - those companies leading in service profitability.
The top KPIs include: customer satisfaction, total revenue, total service cost, service revenue, mean time to repair, on site response time,revenues under SLA/contract, SLA compliance, contract renewal rates, field technician utilisation, first time fix rate, service parts revenue, customer retention.
62% of best practice field service organisations list development and improvement of metrics or KPIs to measure field service performance as their top strategic action.
So, assuming intelligent scheduling and optimisation technology is in place, what should a robust performance management plan look like?
Each plan should include the following:[ordered_list style="decimal"]
- Defined targets:-The operations team must decide on the baseline, and define standards or targets for scoring technicians.The KPIs mentioned above are clearly important to the best practice, top performing FSOs. Other KPIs to consider include net promoter score, quality/inspection score, and sales.
- Defined scoring methodology:- Scoring can be done a number of ways, but typically the process is similar to school grading scales, which takes individual scores and rolls them up to a total score for some time. For example:[unordered_list style="bullet"]
- First time fix rate = 90%
- 95-100% = Exceeds expectations
- 85-95% = Meets expectations
- 0<85% = Does Not Meet expectations
What are the Prerequisites for a successful performance management process?
The devil is in the details. Once targets or KPIs and scoring methodology is established for each field technician, it is a matter of measurement and issuing ‘grades’ for each technician. It is also necessary to establish the process which will be used to manage the plan.[quote float="right"]Ensure the plan is easy to use, has a defined dispute process, recognises that money talks, and encourages collarboration and competition
Ensure the plan is: [ordered_list style="decimal"]
- Easy to use. Measuring, scoring, delivering the results and incentivising behaviours must be easy to administer. The process must deliver score reviews regularly, using real time information delivered to the technician on his/her connected device. Subsequent coaching must be built into the process if technicians do not meet targets/KPIs following score reviews indicating shortfalls.
- Has a defined dispute process. The plan should incorporate a defined process for technicians to dispute metrics, in a non-confrontational way. For instance, give technicians 5-10 days to dispute a score before closing out the report for the month. Providing technicians access to real time metrics, eliminates surprise. However, escalation processes need to be defined as they will be needed from time to time.
- Recognises that money talks. When possible, tie compensation to meeting or exceeding targets and also tie performance improvement plans to missing targets.
- Encourages friendly competition and collaboration. Sometimes, creating competition associated with individual, team or department scores can drive additional motivation for improving scores. Likewise, collaboration can help share best practices especially if an organisation recruits new technicians often.
Utilise technology to make performance management programes easier to administer.
Technology solutions often offer integrated business intelligence tools.[quote float="left"]Analytics data may have a negative impact on some KPIs, but yield improved overall results for a company.Take advantage of reporting and dashboards available in your field service management software to establish targets/KPIs, continuously measure them, and use the data back at all levels of the organisation, such that it can be used to fine tune operations. The analytics data will also help to quantify and communicate gains from collaboration with other departments, such as improving call center triage for improved first-time fix, or considering parts availability when dispatching a technician. Both may have a negative impact on some KPIs, but yield improved overall results for a company.
Ensure that your technology is simple to understand and use, and provides data to all silos within the organisation, including the individual technicians.
Ensure that the right security is in place to limit the technician view to his/her own scores.
Establish user hierarchies. Scores typically roll up from the technician, to a higher level. Set permissions such that each user may view data and scores for his or her own team members.
Perhaps most importantly, the analytics technology must be flexible so that management can adjust targets when needed, and use the data across function groups, such as operations, marketing and sales, to drive continuous improvement across the enterprise, as well as new business opportunities.
What are the keys to successful deployment of a performance management programme?
- Agree on metrics across the company before discussing with technicians. It’s difficult to deliver concise, understandable targets/KPIs when they conflict, or business silos have different priorities. For instance, quality and productivity can be at odds. Agreement must be achieved before delivery to field technicians to avoid confusion and disputes.
- In union environments, rolling out a process takes longer and requires more approvals. Understand the environment in which you are working and plan ahead to facilitate / enforce adoption.
- Pilot the plan before rolling out to the entire field organizations.
Is Performance Management Applicable to 3rd Party Contractors too?
Absolutely! Though some employee KPIs, like those above, can be utilised to measure and score 3rd party contractors, often the metrics are slightly different. The following 3rd Party KPIs can also be used to measure the effectiveness of contractors:
- Jobs accepted, % work-in-progress, job status, repair turnaround time
- Claim submission time
- % Parts used on claims
- Number of parts used on claims
- % Labour only claims
- % Trip charges
Now About these Millennials: What is the performance management opportunity?
Millennials grew up with technology, gaming, and social media. Find ways for the Millennial workforce to show self-expression by developing ideas for improved processes and efficiency. Facilitate sharing throughout the organisation.[quote float="right"]Make field service cool. Spending time around field service technicians is never boring
Make sure that they feel connected to their fellow technicians, even from the field. Encourage best practice sharing and competition to improve and be the best.
Make sure that the performance metrics tie into financial and other rewards so that your Millennial workers don’t become jaded about putting in the effort to sustain continuous improvement.
And lastly, make field service cool. Spending time around field service technicians is never boring. Their stories and humor are usually second to none, so facilitate interaction between the older generation that perhaps didn’t see technology as their friend, and the Millennials who couldn’t imagine being without it. This helps transfer knowledge from more experienced workers and drive KPIs achievement by new employees that need to learn about company assets, but also how to work in a world enabled by IoT.
Be social and share this article.
Whilst improving productivity, efficiency and most importantly customer satisfaction should be at the top of every field service company's agenda, unless you have properly addressed how you can monitor and manage your processes you're going to...
Whilst improving productivity, efficiency and most importantly customer satisfaction should be at the top of every field service company's agenda, unless you have properly addressed how you can monitor and manage your processes you're going to have an uphill struggle. Aviram Hinenzon, Vice President with ViryaNet explains why...
When implementing your mobile workforce management system, you may not be thinking about performance management.
You’re so focused on the implementation that you may postpone your performance management initiative. And keep postponing. Until you’ve moved onto something else. So your performance management initiative never gets started.
Now your new mobile workforce management system is generating data. Awesome! You have all this data, but you still don’t know what you should fix. Dang it. Should have started that performance management initiative when you had the chance.
It’s too easy to focus on “what needs to get done now”. To continuously improve, you must move the focus from the “things that you do” to the “things you can do better”. You also need to understand what “better” means to you.
Taking the First Step
The first step in determining the things you can do better is to define your business goals.
Mobile workforce management is a complex process that includes workforce planning, assignment decisions, and plan execution. So it’s important to align this complex process with your business goals.
You must start with the business goals that are most important to you. Service organisation goals are usually related to:
- business processes
- customer satisfaction
- productivity utilisation
After defining your goals, you must identify the business questions that need to be asked to address your business goals. For example:
- Are we following our optimised routes?
- Are we meeting our service level agreements (SLAs)?
- Are we using overtime? If so, are we using overtime effectively?
- How can we improve our planning and scheduling to increase our efficiency?
You can plan better for your future by analysing your history and addressing your planning and operational analysis.
To address your business goals and to continuously improve, you must identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that must be measured. Keep in mind that you must combine several KPIs together to understand any issues related to your business goals.
Measuring and Visualising Data
Then, you must develop your KPIs by collecting your data in a database that’s best suited for reporting. For example, you could use a Star Schema database which already contains your KPIs calculated and structured for performance management. To measure and visualise your KPIs in different dimensions and different timeframes, you need to develop a query package to retrieve your KPIs from the database.
When selecting your data visualisation tool, you must consider your specific needs. Some data visualisation tools are “heavy” business intelligence platforms that have many capabilities, but require IT involvement. Other “lighter” tools with data visualisation and dash-boarding capabilities are more suitable for business users. You should select the tool that meets your needs and helps you achieve your results quickly and efficiently.
Now you must combine your KPIs into charts and combine these charts into dashboards. To help you make informed decisions and translate those decisions into calls-to-action, your dashboards should have a balanced view of several aspects of your business (e.g., financials, productivity). Monitoring and analysing your metrics with the use of a mobile workforce management solution allows you to generate Balanced Scorecards and dashboards that can help your organisation make business decisions and take action.
When creating your dashboards, you must identify your dashboard users and their roles in your organisation. These users may require different dashboards with different data. For example, typically, executives and customers will need only a high-level summary of data. However, your supervisors and operational managers will require more detailed dashboards.
Maintaining a Performance Management Practice
After creating and customising your dashboards, you must train your team to maintain a continuous Performance Management Practice. For example:
- What are you going to measure?
- How often are you going to measure?
- How will you adjust your dashboards over time (e.g., when your business goals change)?
- How will you adjust your baselines and target lines after your business goals have been achieved?
As you collect and analyse your performance data, you need to confirm the accuracy of your data. Using data accuracy dashboards, you must define the ranges of what’s acceptable as reliable data for your field service organisation. Also, we recommend that you measure the improvement of data accuracy over time. Your data accuracy is an indicator of your employees’ compliance in reporting.
When you discover any service inefficiencies, identify the root causes of these problems by asking yourself, “Why did this happen?”
Then, transform your goals and KPI measurements into decisions and calls-to-action for operational changes. These calls-to-action may include adjusting your mobile workforce management software or making other changes, such as:
- policies (e.g., overtime)
- processes (e.g., communicating with the customer)
- behaviours (e.g., mentoring worst performers)
After you’ve applied corrective actions to the issues you identified, you need to measure again. With these measurements, you must determine if the actions you applied have truly helped your organisation to improve towards your goals. Then, in order to attain or retain your best-in-class status, you need to benchmark your organisation against others in your industry.
Remember that your goals will change over time. So, periodically, you should review the implementation of your Performance Management Practice. And once you have achieved your goals, you must adjust your baselines and target lines for new goals.
Performance management is a continuous effort that has a direct impact on your people, processes and systems. As a service organisation, you need to define your goals, build your business processes, and measure your performance against business objectives. When you’re thinking about implementing your mobile workforce management system, you need to think about performance management or you can’t improve your field service.