Getting out of the office can often look like the impossible dream. There is so much to be done in the office that the thought of leaving creates anxiety about what won’t get accomplished. What if I told you that time spent in the field (in the form of ride alongs with your team) was far more important?
Like any worthwhile activity, this should start with a plan. I recommend creating a monthly schedule of who you will ride along with and when. Be realistic about the time you can commit and stick to it. If you aren’t doing any ride alongs now and you plan to devote three days a week to doing so in your plan, you may be setting yourself up for failure. To start, try committing one day a week, then try to spend that whole day with that technician. Get as much windshield time as possible that day. By giving them quality feedback after each call, you can positively affect the outcome of their day, and you’ll begin to see improved results almost immediately.
Share your ride along schedule with your team and dispatch. Remember, this isn’t meant to be a surprise inspection. You want your team to be prepared and have every opportunity to shine. This also gives you the ability to look at their scheduled calls and make adjustments ahead of time so that you can create the type of day you want to observe. Things won’t always fall totally in line with your plan, but at least you’ll have a course you can adjust.
There are many benefits that can arise when partaking in consistent ride alongs, and they can be a great way to get to know your team better. A lot of bonding takes place when you are crawling under a house or pulling a toilet together! It also gives you a completely different perspective on the challenges they face in the field that you might not even know about. You may even discover new ways to make their job safer or more efficient. Sometimes owners or leaders will dismiss their technicians’ feedback as trivial, only to discover how frustrating things can be for them when they experience their issues in person.
The ride along is also one of the best ways to discover what coaching and training could benefit each tech…or even the whole team! You’re there to be an observer, and to give constructive feedback and encouragement. Nexstar has many great tools for this, including the curbside feedback form, which is used to communicate that feedback in a positive way.
Getting out there and riding with your team shows them you care and that you are committed to helping them be successful. Hop in the truck with your techs as often as possible!