ETR must not Compromise Service Provision – 6 ways to Prevent it


What’s the most important part of your business?
Sales figures? If this is your first thought you’re heading for some challenges.
What about your assets? And I’m not talking about the equipment you spent your capital on.
For service providers field workers make up an integral part of the business’ activities. Employees do the work, showcase the company’s product and determine how many sales can be done each day.
Can you afford to mismanage this asset?

ETR as an Important KPI

Does your ETR (Employee Turnover Rate) rate as an important KPI?
If not you may have found the source of some of your field management challenges.
ETR can’t be taken lightly. This figure indicates how your business performs in terms of:

  • Creating healthy working environment. Workers will pick such an environment above a higher salary in some cases.
  • Doing effective training because workers want to feel skilled in their tasks.
  • Providing necessary resources because employees want to feel empowered.

How can you prevent these challenges escalating into problems you can’t control?

Preventing a High Employee Turnover Rate through Field Management

KPIs are picked for their ability to let your business function better. Your employee environment is a vast—but fun—area you can effect change.
Yes these changes require some effort especially from field managers. Field managers play a prominent role in how employees perceive their work and employer.
Do you know how to facilitate your employees in a way that benefits them and the company? KPIs help you streamline this process by making changes in the correct places.
A streamlined company will eventually save time and money. Are you ready to transform your business, service providing and profit margin?

  1. Do You Pick the Correct Team Members?

Don’t make a mistake even before your new worker starts his or her first job.
You can’t hire the first applicant knocking on your door. It may hurt his career as well as your business.
Employing the wrong person causes future conflict and unnecessary problems:

  • If someone doesn’t have the correct skills the work won’t be done in time.
  • Untrustworthy people may steal from the company.
  • Workers without communication skills tend to cause more conflict than others.

How do you prevent this from happening?

Where do you find your new employees?
When you allow anyone to apply for a position you’ll get resumes from all types of individuals. Unfortunately you can’t trust—or use—all of them.
You’ll save yourself some trouble if you limit your sources:
Ask for referrals from within the company. Your field workers already know what the positions entail. They won’t refer someone that will make their jobs even more challenging. You can also ask for character references so you know you employ trustworthy individuals.
Employ recruitment agencies. These professionals know how to vet applicants and prevent too many impractical applications.
Ask competitors for referrals. If they worked with individuals before they can give accurate feedback on skills and character.
If you start off with the correct group of people you’re chance of success becomes better.

Do you know what you want in an employee?
You need a detailed job description so you can align someone’s skills with a position’s requirements. You can ask other workers for feedback on specific challenges. With this information you can have more accurate interviews.
An interview must tell you whether someone is appropriate for:

  • The position: For practical work—such as field work—you need someone skilled to start work immediately. If you have to train someone you’re wasting time and money. Do you have proof the person can fulfil the requirements? It’s prudent to include a practical test in an applicant’s interview process.
  • The company: You want your employees to get along. The pressure of field work, clients and timelines can result in people becoming irritable or angry. This can result in disputes in the team and even damage your public image if it involves clients. During an interview you can determine whether this will happen on challenging days in the field. Ask tough questions and watch applicants’ reactions. If they can handle the pressure of interviews they’re bound to cope well on the job too.

Don’t settle for less. It’s wiser to wait until you find the correct applicant than wasting time and money.

  1. Do You Look After Your People?

The workers you already have want to feel cared for.
Why should they give their best for your company if you don’t look after them too? If they can find more accommodating work environments elsewhere you’ll lose workers.
Employees rate your care in various ways:

  • Salary packages: Make sure you pay market related rates. You don’t want to lose good workers to your competitors.
  • Work communication: Communication in the company must be clear. This requires clear lines of authority. Your field workers are the last links in a chain of messengers. This chain runs from your clients through you to the workers. When unclear job tickets are given confusion reigns. You clients won’t be happy. But your workers will also feel upset. If they make mistakes because of other people’s bad communication they can feel misused. Prevent this with enhanced communication. Using software and applications to make communication easy can also prevent misunderstandings.
  • Protection against clients: When workers are on site they’re at the mercy of clients. Make sure your workers know you’ll support them whenever disputes arise. When circumstances are out of workers’ control or when clients change their minds it falls outside workers’ responsibility. Do you care enough about your employees to help them handle these tough situations?
  • Schedules: Yes you must optimize your workers’ time. But this doesn’t mean you must let them work too hard. When workers head for burnout it has the opposite effect of optimization. You’ll see less work getting done and even quality can wane. Counter this with reasonable working hours. Allow workers to take time off to handle personal problems. This shows you care more about them than simply getting the work done.

Why is this necessary? It’s not simply about keeping your employees happy. They’ll work even harder for you if they know they can trust you.

  1. Do Employees Feel Respected?

No one wants to feel like a pawn in someone else’s game.
Do you employees feel you respect them?
This is important because:

  • Workers want to feel they’re worth something. If their bosses don’t respect them they believe they’re failing at life.
  • Workers want to feel they have a purpose in a company. If they’re not respected enough to be listened to, why should they even go to work?

These thoughts will impact the quality of their work.
I know field work happens at a fast pace. There’s not always enough time to nurture relationships. But you can implement activities that communicate respect. You’ll be surprised at the positive feedback you get.

Hear their Problems
Yes field work managers are more senior to workers. But that doesn’t mean workers’ opinions don’t matter.
You can’t listen to all their opinions. But you can put feedback systems in place.
When certain aspects surface regularly you know it’s something you have to attend to. Leaving it can develop into a large problem.

Include them in Decision Making
There’s nothing that states respect as much as listening to someone’s opinion.
How do you make decisions in the company? When these decisions impact your work force you should allow them to have a say too.
Workers don’t want to be at the mercy of their employers all the time. This tells them they have no worth or power. To feel in control of their lives again they may retaliate with bad quality work.

Don’t Waste their Time
You’ll be surprized to know your workers don’t want to stand around doing nothing. If you want to keep them happy make sure they optimize the time they give you each day. This includes not wasting unnecessary time:

  • Use software and applications so they don’t have to waste time on phone calls. Calls limit the time they can allocate to the job.
  • Make it easy for them to do administration. Field workers know it’s about doing as much work as possible in a day. Excessive paperwork is perceived as wasting time. Software can streamline this process too. Empower your team so they can reach the goals you set for them.
  • Keep meetings to a minimum. What isn’t said within 30 minutes is probably not important. Only include people in meetings that play a role in the discussed topics. Anyone else will feel they can use their time better.

Give Praise
Do you give credit when it’s due?
Most field workers want to give you their best. If they’re never told their work reached your expectations they assume the opposite. When no positive feedback is given your workers may feel their attempts will never by good enough.
Prevent this by confirming correct work and praising—& thanking—them for:

  • Accuracy
  • Keeping to timelines
  • Clean working spaces
  • Handling clients well

Acknowledgement of excellent work will help you see a repeat of the situation.

  1. How do You Develop Them?

It’s human nature to desire progress.
Your field workers want to know their careers can take them to more beneficial circumstances. Do you discuss this with your workers?
When workers fear their current positions offer no growth possibilities they search for opportunities elsewhere.
Prevent this with some plans.

Progress isn’t only about increasing your workers’ salaries. They want to see growth in themselves too.
Training programs are beneficial for your employees but also the company:

  • Your employees develop new skills. Their gratitude to you can result in loyalty. This will make them work harder and stay with your company even when times are tough.
  • These enhanced skills result in better quality work done on site.

Your investments in your workers result in excellent returns for you.

Career Paths
Someone’s career can also develop. Do you discuss opportunities with your employees?
You can’t promise a worker a future position. But tell them about possible promotions. Those with ambition will work towards getting it.
Be clear about your expectations. You don’t want workers to live with an illusion only to be disappointed. If they feel you misled them you won’t easily regain their trust.

  1. What do They Think of You?

Do you care about what others think of you?
Employees may require your consideration even if no one else matters to you. They associate the value of a company to what they think of those in leadership positions.
Leaders determine the atmosphere of a working environment. A high ETR may show people simply don’t want to work with you:

  • Are you unreasonable in expectations?
  • Do you cause unnecessary conflict?
  • Can they trust your word?

How do you determine this? Anonymous questionnaires are an excellent way to get honest feedback. But be prepared for the outcome.

  1. Field Work Tips

Field work is done in unique working environments. Field work managers can guarantee a low ETR when they attend to some features on site:

  • Priorities and expectations: Are you clear about what your workers must do on site? They don’t want to be criticised for their work when they’re doing their best. Clarity on job tickets prevent these misunderstandings.
  • Objectivity: You know each person has a unique view of a situation. Whose opinion should your workers follow? Must they listen to you or a client that drops by?

Prevent misunderstandings in field work and you’ll have happy employees that deliver quality work.

Do you realize yet where your risk areas lie? Service provision is dependent on quality field work. You can’t risk having disgruntled employees. Take steps even before your KPI tells you there may be a problem. A few small adjustments can make your employees loyal to you for life.

About the Author:


Povilas V. Dudonis is a serial entrepreneur and likes to dig deep into methods and processes of business operations to find ways to reach maximum performance