Despite being fundamental to the company’s functioning, maintenance is still often seen as an “expense” and a “necessary evil”. The result? Some maintenance departments become revolving doors, unable to retain managers, supervisors, and technicians.
Employee turnover becomes especially serious if we take into account that there is a shortage of specialised technicians. Besides, the process of recruiting and training new employees also has costs to the company. Read some of our best suggestions to reduce the technicians and maintenance managers’ turnover and retain talent!
Give the right feedback
The thankless part of maintenance work is that, when done right, it becomes invisible. Some companies only pay attention to this department when they want to find a culprit for a breakdown. But, as we all know, maintenance is not only used to “put out fires” when equipment breaks down.
It is crucial for maintenance to be seen as a strategic area to achieve the company’s objectives. The team must feel recognised when it gets good results (low downtime, high availability and reliability of assets), instead of just receiving negative feedback.
…and know how to receive feedback
Communication is always two-way. Don’t close yourself up when it comes to receiving feedback. It is important to understand what the expectations of supervisors and technicians are. Do they feel they don’t have the tools they need? Do they think they work too many hours? Do they not agree with the shifts?
Nobody likes to feel invisible, much less to feel ignored. Pay attention to the team’s feedback and promote continuous improvement through Kaizen events, for example, in which everyone can discuss how best to solve each of the problems that affect your operation.
The right software
Without the right tools, there are no conditions. And when we talk about maintenance, we are not just referring to the material to perform the repairs. Between software, IoT, and increasingly advanced condition-based maintenance techniques, there is a lot of technology that streamlines your operation.
Therefore, it is safe to say that asset management software also helps to retain the best professionals with you and provide a more rewarding environment. For field technicians, it is more practical to access technical data sheets and requests on mobile, while managers can monitor all processes remotely.
We often forget that maintenance work can be profoundly lonely. Living on an island makes the maintenance manager and technicians feel stagnant and unmotivated. It is not enough to implement a strong corporate culture – you have to prove that you are a team on a daily basis.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to communicate with teams on the ground and create ‘insight hubs’. For technicians, especially those with less experience, feeling that they have this remote support is an asset. At the same time, they never stop feeling like a part of a team.
In the case of companies that provide technical assistance, this point is especially important because your technicians are also your face to customers. Offering this support allows them to provide a better experience and promote customer loyalty, according to a study by Deloitte UK.
Along the same lines of thought, it is also important to offer continuous training to fight the feeling of “stagnation”. During initial training, it is important to continue to provide opportunities to progress and learn more. Continuous training is especially attractive for those who are starting their careers.
Both Maintenance and Facility Management are areas that are evolving rapidly and that require adaptability. Whenever you adopt a new technology that has a direct impact on the team’s work, prepare an onboarding phase to facilitate implementation.
On one hand, working alone can promote the mental check-out of the team and the company. On the other hand, giving more autonomy to your employees shows confidence and less authoritarian leadership. In fact, several managers defend this approach in industrial maintenance.
Companies that promote autonomous maintenance, which can serve as a springboard for Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), involve much more each worker in daily operations. This increased responsibility translates into more participation, commitment, and high-performance teams.
Safety at work
Do you know someone who likes a job full of safety risks? Neither do we. But safety at work is a particularly acute problem in maintenance, which is related to 10-15% of fatal work accidents in Europe and 15-20% of the total. In Great Britain, analysis of data from recent years indicates that 25-30% of manufacturing industry fatalities were related to maintenance activity.
Therefore, there is no doubt that providing a safe working environment is one of the factors that most contributes to reducing the maintenance department’s turnover. New technologies can also contribute to reducing the number of accidents at work, through sensors, probes, robots, and the Internet of Behaviours.
In addition, bear in mind that we are facing a vicious cycle: if your technicians are not engaged, they are likely to be sloppier and take unnecessary risks. According to a Gallup study, companies that involve employees more are also safer and have 70% fewer accidents at work.
So, you can not only decrease your team’s turnover but also increase job safety. Win-win, exactly as we like it here at Infraspeak.