What Do Millennials Know? Knowledge Management in an Aging Workforce

Electrical Engineers

The Future Starts Now - Millennials in Field Service

Millennials seem to be all over the news lately, whether it’s their dining preferences, spending habits, or how their apparent love of avocado toast is dooming them to a life of poverty. So it makes sense that millennials are also a hot topic in field service, with Field Technologies magazine naming “Managing Millennials” as one of the major themes to come out of Field Service USA 2017[i].

*For transparency’s sake I should probably note that I’m a millennial and while I don’t own my own home, I’ve also never eaten avocado toast in my life.

In my previous blog, I talked about the importance of knowledge management (KM) in field service. Ineffective or underutilized KM can truly be the nail in the coffin for service organizations, especially as more and more organizations are coming face to face with the realities of an aging workforce. According to the Field Service 2016 Solution Spend report, 61% of Field Service USA attendees surveyed plan to invest in knowledge management within the next 24 months.

Of course, grappling with an aging workforce and preparing for the inevitable generation shift in service organizations is hardly a new concern. In fact, by 2025 millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce[ii]. While they may be getting a bad rap in the media, there is no denying that millennials bring a whole new and equally important strength to field service.

A Shift in Field Service Knowledge Management

KM is evolving from being traditionally product-focused to providing more opportunities for interaction, learning and collaboration. All field service technicians understand the importance of KM at the point of service. However, as the aging workforce retires, it will be imperative that the new talent is willing to embrace the modern KM systems so that service teams can effectively share and retain tribal knowledge.

The new generation of field service technicians are exceptionally comfortable with technology, more so than any other generation before them. This is great news because KM technology is progressing at lightening speeds, and becoming more and more imperative to field service success. Millennials are uniquely qualified to adapt to and accept new innovations in KM technology, and take on the challenges of learning a new system.

Mobile Service Management is Crucial to Empowering Millennial Technicians

However, KM software that effectively handles the retention of existing knowledge is only half the battle. The real challenge is deploying this knowledge into the hands of their field technicians. This is the generation of connectivity after all, and the millennial field technician expects to have the knowledge they need at their fingertips 24/7. Service organizations are quickly discovering this as well; Aberdeen Group reports that the Best-in-Class are 52% more likely to prioritize investment into mobile tools in order to provide technicians with better access to information in the field[iii].

As service organizations contend with retaining and transferring tribal knowledge from an aging workforce, knowledge management will play a more important role than ever before in the training of new talent. First, organizations must recognize and make use of the millennial technicians’ unique technological strengths. The most effective way to do this is through the use of a knowledge management system that caters to their need for mobile knowledge. In doing so, organizations can ensure they are creating an empowered and efficient service team. 

Visit AnswersAnywhere to find out more about mobile knowledge management that is purpose-built for field service.