By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
Shortly before I left my post at Field Technologies, I wrote this article about the need to redefine the field service role. The need has only increased in the four+ years since I wrote that article, yet I don’t see a huge amount of effort being put into how we articulate and sell – in other words, brand – the field service opportunity.
If you follow our content, you know that recruiting and hiring is a primary challenge for 95% or more of our audience. There are many reasons for this, but one that we have discussed is that field service has a bit of a branding problem. There are two common responses when field service is positioned – one is cluelessness as to what it even means, the second is a misperception that it consists entirely of “dirty,” grueling, low-paying work. Either response poses a huge problem for companies looking to recruit talent at impossible paces.
The exciting news is that field service holds more potential not only for organizations but for individuals in its frontline roles than ever before. Further, the way we define, perceive, and incentives field service roles is rapidly evolving. What we need to do with this reality is seize the opportunity to work on a brand refresh of sorts so that we can convey not only what field service is, but why those looking for a new career opportunity should take note.
What’s the Elevator Pitch?
In the article I linked earlier, I focused on things companies should consider about making job postings more inclusive, ensuring the proper prioritization of soft skills, and reflecting on whether or not incentives are relevant and enticing for today’s target employee. These are all still valid points, but what I’m thinking about today is a taking a step back and considering how we articulate what field service is a bit better. We need a good elevator pitch.
At a friend’s recommendation, my husband and I have been watching the show Halt and Catch Fire. It was an AMC show, described by the network as, “Set in the 1980s, this series dramatizes the personal computing boom through the eyes of a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time. Their personal and professional partnership will be challenged by greed and ego while charting the changing culture in Texas' Silicon Prairie.”
As an aside, it’s a good show and worth a watch. But this article isn’t about the show! In an episode we watched recently, one of the main characters, Joe MacMillan makes the statement, “Modern society sits on a foundation of services we take for granted.” That is field service. Field service: the services across a variety of industries that are the foundation of modern society. For example, [insert your industry’s service and what it enables here].
From this simple elevator pitch that highlights the importance of this group of industries no one knows by name, we can then begin to explain how it has evolved and continues to evolve and what that means in terms of the potential that exists in today’s careers. This is the point also where we need to reflect on how we are positioning roles we are recruiting for, what we’re offering in terms of career progression, and how we describe benefits and incentives. But starting with a simpler description for what field service means I believe is an important step.
If you take the sentences I started with and consider how you would expand, you can begin to brainstorm all of the ways you can communicate the exciting things that have taken place in field service in recent years paired with what you’ve learned about what your target candidates value. Things not limited to, but along the lines of:
- Explaining how equipment has transitioned from less mechanical to more digital
- Discussing the role of the frontline as a knowledge worker, relationship builder, trusted advisor
- Emphasizing career progression based on the ways we know service delivery is evolving in coming years
- Ensuring communications are written in a way that appeals to and encourages a diverse set of candidates
- Playing up important aspects like company culture, company and role purpose, flexibility, benefits and growth opportunities, and so on
Perhaps I am biased because I love this space and love what I do, but I think the positives to convey around what field service is and what it is becoming are abundant. I do think, though, that starting with a strong elevator pitch would help to create a greater awareness of not only what field service is, but the major role it plays in all our lives. What do you think?