Are You Listening to Your Field Technicians?

From boosting employee morale to improving your bottom line, it pays to pay attention to what your field technicians have to say.
Are You Listening to Your Field Technicians?
Stop barking orders, and start listening to your technicians.

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It’s easy to bark orders or tell people how they ought to be doing their job. Real listening, on the other hand, can take plenty of time, effort and hard work. But here’s the thing: it’s worth it. From boosting employee morale to improving your bottom line, it pays to pay attention to what your field technicians have to say. 

Business Makeover Expert Ellen Rohr says she is obsessed with this concept because of a previous work experience. She was once hired by a group of venture capitalists to visit with industry business owners and encourage them to take the family name off the truck and replace it with a new franchise name — a transition that would essentially turn her into the new boss. 

She was met with so much opposition along the way that she learned to change her approach by putting on a uniform and riding shotgun. “My intention was to just make a friend and to wear away the resistance I was getting from people,” she explains. The results were shocking. 

Windshield time well spent

It can get lonely out in the field and it’s easy for employees to begin to feel under-appreciated, Rohr explains. “You probably spend more of your time correcting bad behaviors or putting out fires than honoring and recognizing the good work that goes on day after day,” she says. 

Riding along and sharing some windshield time together will allow you the chance to learn things like the kids’ names, musical preferences or favorite hobbies of your workers. In the process, you have the opportunity to forge a powerful bond. 

People put up with a lot of crap at work — wearing a uniform, doing paperwork, being on call — if they feel loved.

Because receiving that kind of positive personalized attention from a supervisor tends to be so unusual in any workplace setting, when that field technician goes home at the end of the day the first thing shared will likely be a proud story about the whole experience. 

“People put up with a lot of crap at work — wearing a uniform, doing paperwork, being on call — if they feel loved,” Rohr explains. 

Ask questions and listen carefully

There’s an added benefit to this type of relationship-building approach. “We make this way too hard,” Rohr says. “Your team knows what’s wrong, and they are willing to help you fix it.” 

Once you’ve developed a sense of rapport, ask for genuine input using a variety of questions that empower your employees to share their thoughts about the job and the company as a whole. 

Here are a few examples:

  • What would you do if you were me?
  • What do you think we are doing that’s just a waste of time?
  • Are we putting roadblocks in your way that prevent you from having good relationships with customers? 

Gathering ideas for improvement isn’t the only thing you stand to gain. If you listen closely and find ways to engage your employees in making their ideas become a reality, then you have found others who are also invested in making changes that benefit the entire business. 



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