A young, newly appointed service manager asked me, “How do I ensure my techs are doing what they are supposed to be doing? I don’t want to spy, but I get the feeling some techs aren’t being as thorough as I’ve taught them”.
This man understood the need for both follow up and trust. He knew that perceived “spying” would damage the tech/supervisor relationship, but also knew teaching and training is only useful if the tech applies the knowledge learned.
What exactly is “spying”? The word has many definitions, but in this context, spying can be defined as “secretly collecting information”.
As a leader, if you’re open and upfront with the practice of “Observing from afar”, how can you be perceived as spying?
Let’s assume all techs have already been adequately trained in proper pest control procedures. Could you not inform techs well ahead of time that “observation from afar” will begin on a specific date?
Could you not explain the reasons for the new procedure and what you’ll be looking for?
I see the announcement going something like this:
“Would everyone agree that as a supervisor of this company, I have the responsibility of protecting the company’s assets – the company assets being it’s employees, customers, property/equipment, and reputation? The protection of those four things are my responsibility, right?
“One of the single best methods I can think of to assist with this responsibility is a practice called ‘observation from afar’. This is where I’ll be periodically observing each of you perform pest control services from a distance. This is not to be confused with spying, because I’m not being secretive. I’m telling you ahead of time, I will be observing.”
“So why am I doing it?”
“I want to identify any potential training issues. I’ll also want to ensure you’re protecting yourself by wearing proper PPE. Most importantly, I want the opportunity to recognize you for doing things the right way. Sure, I’ll be looking for training opportunities, but I’ll also be looking for what you’re doing right.”
“So, how will you know when you’ve been observed? I’ll visit with you immediately after the service is complete. As you’re getting into your vehicle, I’ll give you a call or pull up and we’ll either visit at the location, or find a good place to discuss my observations”.
“Does anyone feel unsure about our pest control service protocol?”
“Is everyone comfortable with what should or should not be done during a pest control service?”
“Does anyone feel this practice is unfair, underhanded or sneaky? Nobody? Good!”
“Just to be sure everyone has a voice, I’ll be available after the meeting to discuss any questions, concerns, suggestions, or comments.”
“As always, I appreciate your hard work and dedication. Meeting adjourned”.
It’s important to note, I have NOT used this method of supervision, but I do see benefits of using “observation from afar”.