Field work is no joke. Techs in the service industry regularly deal with finicky customers, treacherous weather and unreliable equipment, all while trying to perform their assigned job duties. As you can imagine, this day-to-day grind takes a toll, leaving many feeling underappreciated and sometimes angry. It can be hard to address these situations – even seasoned supervisors find them difficult. Luckily, there are some tried-and-true game plans for managing disgruntled techs.
Identify the problem
In many cases, struggling service workers are reluctant to identify specific problems in fear of irritating their supervisors or looking weak. Instead of allowing problems to fester, you should reach out and ask your techs to talk about what's bothering them, according to Contractor Magazine. This way, you can get things out in the open and work together to find a solution.
As you listening to your employees air their grievances, work-related or otherwise, be sure to have an open mind. Many supervisors get defensive when confronted with worker complaints and immediately try to dismiss them. This, of course, leads to more turmoil. So, be compassionate and practice active listening to avoid further problems.
Once you've spoken with your employees, review their complaints and take some time to process the situation at hand. Don't let emotions dictate your actions.
Make a gesture
Chances are, it's going to take some time to work through the issues your techs have brought to the table. Improving employee morale takes time, even when you know what needs to be done to make things better. That being said, you should try offering your employeea something up front to calm their nerves, Harvard Business Review advised.
For example, if they're suffering from burnout, give them a day off to cool down. With this small gesture you can show that you're taking their concerns seriously and genuinely care about their wellbeing, not just their work performance.
As you help your techs get back on track, be sure to document the entire process. This will keep you in the clear legally and provide context should they lodge other complaints, Inc. reported. Of course, if everything works out, this documentation can serve as a blueprint for dealing similar problems in the future. Should the latter situation happen, be sure to document your employees' positive reactions – these statements of support may come in handy when it comes time to hire more staff.
Evaluate your organization
If you find yourself fielding regular complaints, it may be time to review your company and look for any internal kinks that may be wearing on your employees. Many unhappy workers point to common problems when evaluating their low morale. Downcast workers simply need a little encouragement or want supervisors to be more honest with them. With this in mind, honestly analyze your management style and internal operations to look for ways to improve and make your staff happier.
Say you foresee weather problems. To head off any grumbling, gather your techs and give them a pep talk or, if you've got some money left over in the budget, incentivize quality service with a post-workday gathering. Hearing complaints about the direction of your company? Set aside some time to discuss the business with your techs to keep them informed and demonstrate transparency.
With these strategies, you can navigate uncomfortable personnel situations, create positive outcomes and set your service business up for future success.