In every occupation we find the common issue of cultural disconnect between the work force and those who drive it. The trades are no different. It boils down to human morality, integrity, and capability on an individual level, so what can companies do to bridge that gap and get everyone on the same page?
Field trades operate differently than, say, corporations in that HR is basically non existent in the trades. I mean, it exists, but nobody utilizes it. When a job needs to get done within a set amount of hours, and the work crew isn't making it happen, no one is going to go to HR because the boss onsite is cursing us out. Clearly. So what can we do?
Most of the adversity I've come accustomed to is caused by a little thing called 'miscommunication'. That little thing causes a ruckus daily in the field. E.g. Engineer said to do it like this, workers say it cant be done and change it without telling project manager who bid the job low for hours.. etc. In this ONE situation 3 opportunities for communication were missed, causing the job to cost the company money, instead of make it.
When we think of training, especially in HVAC, we think of tools, or labor, or systems, not communication, anger management, or leadership training, however MOST job site altercation could have been avoided if this kind of training was offered. Here are some other tips:
BEFORE BIDDING A JOB CONSULT WITH ALL DIVISONS NEEDED FOR THAT JOB! The last thing you want is an engineer deciding how service is going to work on that system in 2 years. Trust me, I'm an engineer AND a service tech.
ALLOW COMMINICATIVE SESSIONS BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND WORKERS WITHOUT FEAR OF LOSING THEIR JOBS! People are just people and when our livelihood is threatened, we tend to keep in our issues out of fear. This causes more problems then airing our grievances ever could, because eventually that volcano explodes and results in a very unprofessional episode, or loss of a worker.
ENCOURAGE MANAGEMENT TO KEEP A MORAL, UNDERSTANDING VIEWPOINT! Don't choose someone for management who has trouble getting along with or understanding others, has a self serving attitude, or a thirst for power. This kind of management doesn't work and will result in mass quits and high turnover.
At the end of the day we all need to make sure we aren't jumping the gun and judging people before we know why the action took place, and leaders need to lead with empathy and forge connections with their workers so that communication is never an issue.