Top 10 Ways to Make Project Ninjas Out of Your Contingent Workforce

12.16.2013, Written by Annie Wang
Creative Commons Attribution by Flickr user Michael Benatar
We polled our support, account and user teams here to collect the top 10 ways you can rocket your contract and contingent workforce into the stratosphere with Field Nation.

    1. Set up clear, concise policies and procedures that are easy to read and understand, yet cover how a field tech should behave when facing the most common situations. Then communicate them.
      Why it matters: Look, we’re all human and life happens.  Most problems arise when we fail to set or manage expectations and fail to communicate when exceptions occur.  So be clear about what is supposed to happen if a technician is running late, or discovers additional items that require attention but are not in the original work order or any other of the most common situations that are bound to come up.


    1. Build your preferred network (or migrate them from another platform), train them, make them feel special and loyal to you.
      Why it matters: Engagement means working at a relationship.  All relationships are two-sided.  Sure your work order is there and that’s a start.  But a work order alone will not grow a relationship.  That’s why we have public and private community groups, the ability to provide incentive pay for extra-special service, and preferred networks.  So if you have a tech or group of techs you have come to rely upon, tell them and show them.  Build the relationship.  We can help show you how. 


    1.  Recruit for special application needs and secured upcoming projects.
      Why it matters: Planning, planning planning.  Your chances of scheduling your preferred technician or ensuring coverage exactly when you need it are always better when you plan ahead.  Reach out to our crack ops team to help spin up recruitments for specific skills and geographies.


    1. Set up selection rules that help your dispatchers select your preferred techs quickly.
      Why it matters: There are wide ranges of skills and experience.  So if you know your project needs MCSE or CCNA certification, don’t just say “any Microsoft  or Cisco experience will do”.  The better the definition of the skills, experience, equipment and pay rate you have defined ahead of time, the easier and more quickly your dispatch team will be able to source and send the techs you find on Field Nation.


    1. Set up project templates with deliverable slots that will capture all the information you need before closing the call with your end client
      Why it matters: Field Nation makes automation and scaling easy with work order templates that can be created once then used again and again.  However, make sure to build in enough flexibility into your templates with custom fields or areas like “required deliverables” that ensure you’re capturing all you need.


    1. Establish protocol for escalations (W.O. message, report a problem, engage FieldNation Support, etc. – when and why for each)
      Why it matters: See point 1 above.  Life happens.  Make sure you and your technicians know what to do when it does.


    1.  Message your selected technicians after assignment to get a typed response in addition to their ETA.  This goes a long way toward eliminating misunderstandings that can arise.
      Why it matters: You’re confirming that you and they have a shared understanding. Communicate and over-communicate if necessary.  It’s part of relationship building (see point 2 above)


    1. Establish protocol for backup communication (e.g. encourage a 2nd email on all profiles) what happens when your project manager or dispatcher is sick?  What happens when he or she leaves the company? Who will respond to the projects and WOs?
      Why it matters: Just like you want your techs to be available when  you need them, your technicians want you to be responsive to the needs of their tasks too. Despite all-too-common terms like “human capital” and “contingent work force” technicians are human beings working to help you solve problems and grow your business.  Make sure you’re responsive to them and help them succeed.  When you do, you’re helping accelerate your own success.


    1.  Have someone monitoring “old” Work Orders that may otherwise slip through the cracks to meet any potential problems head on before issues get back to your client.
      Why it matters: Field Nation is a powerful system.  As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility.  You have the responsibility to make sure that your work orders are up to date and relevant.  We have the responsibility to help you.  Old and orphaned work orders can be a source of mis-communication.  So make sure to perform a clean up every so often.


    1.  Have someone in place who can help mediate disagreements if they should arise, understanding that real-world conditions vary and compromises typically work to everyone’s long-term advantage.
      Why it matters: Even when expectations are clear and understanding is shared, disagreements can arise.  Identify a person or team responsible for hearing and evaluating disagreements ahead of time.  This saves time and speeds resolution.


BONUS – Create groups for your technicians and communicate with them regularly.

Why it matters: This often overlooked “community building” goes a long way towards creating a sense of loyalty among your providers by letting them know about upcoming projects, training opportunities, meetings, etc. They’re not your employees, but they are the face of your company to your clients and you want them to know they’re valued and appreciated for the work they do.