A major element or capability of the target project management system is to provide a way to establish a viable and supportive working environment for the Field Service Representative. Enabling a culture of community, inclusion, empowerment, ownership, growth, opportunity, impact and accomplishment will be important to sustain a high performance and highly satisfied gig-workforce. To date few if any project management systems provide this capability.
Key features and functions of a project management system in support of a field service gig-workforce:
- Open, honest, and constructive feedback and communications among representatives and between project managers and representatives.
- Social recognition and community celebration of impactful ideas, project accomplishments/major milestones, and career milestones.
- Allow representatives to establish a “collective voice” and build a sense of community with their peers.
- Enables due process and input on decisions affecting representatives and employees.
- Clearly defines tasks and any known risk associated with the execution of a work-order.
- Provides details of the amount paid for completion of each task associated with a work-order, and the right for a representative to choose which work-orders and tasks they wish to support.
- Provide access to training and certificate resources to advance the skills of the representatives.
One of the keys to establishing a sustainable, inviting, quality minded, and innovative culture in a gig-workforce is to enable and encourage the sharing of ideas among peers and with management on how best to improve efficiencies, complete a task, reduce cost, and/or make changes in processes, workflows, methodologies, and other company operations. Establishing a cultural norm can be difficult, especially with a highly distributed and dynamic workforce. But establishing the right culture and empowering the workforce will be necessary to sustain efficient operation of a field services business using a gig-workforce.
One of the emerging areas important for any interface between a business and its workforce is the provision for corporate social responsibility to the representatives, their families, and the environment. This capability can also be an important attribute for the client, allowing companies to express how their projects support society and the advancement of the community.
An effective project management system that support a gig-workforce must provide real-time access to job opportunities and allows representatives to express their interest, request they be assigned, and/or accept assignments to a particular project or work-order. The representative’s profile carried in the system will contain information on their skills, interest, and estimated amount of work they are seeking. The system should also provide an environment for representatives to document their skills, accomplishments, completed assignments, productivity, and other key measures of their capabilities and interest (often referred to as a ranking and reputation system). This documentation cannot only be leveraged by the field services company but helps the representative to easily accumulate and share their experiences and skills with other companies. The system will allow the capability of sharing representative’s information with clients, similar to a LinkedIn platform.
Finally, the project management system must provide a means for the representative to do long-range planning of their work commitments. It will give the representative access to a public calendar and a private calendar to help them schedule their commitments,
One goal of the system is to support the concept of the “economics of mutuality” where every entity in the supply chain receives a fair return on their investment of time and money, including clients, distributors, workers, manufacturers, and innovators. (e.g. greater transparency in the production networks). In support of this, the system must consider support of the five principles of “fair work” in the gig economy (created by the Fairwork Project convening at the International Labour Organization meeting in Geneva): fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair governance, and fair representation (https://fair.work/en/fw/principles/fairwork-principles-gig-work/ ). With support of these principles, the project management system will establish a viable and sustainable business environment for everyone involved.