How Important Are People Skills in the Maintenance Profession?

Maintenance professionals are known for their technical skills—it’s at the top of the list for any job posting.

But another skillset might be almost as important. For employees who spend a lot of time with machinery and equipment, people skills contribute significantly to success in the maintenance field.

Why Do Maintenance Professionals Need People Skills?

People skills are related to interpersonal communication—including the ability to actively listen, explain issues in a way someone else can understand, build trust, show patience, make suggestions, work with others, and display empathy.

Sooner or later, everyone needs the maintenance team—from the operator on the phone calling about an emergency breakdown, to the vendor working on a warranty job, to the manager asking for an update on a repair.

These are a maintenance team’s “customers,” whether they are people paying for services (like building tenants) or internal departments that need something done (that’s everyone, from accounting to production to the executive team).

And people skills are key to working with customers.

Sometimes these interactions are challenging, because maintenance professionals often work in highly stressful situations where they need to discuss unpleasant information. They also typically need to explain details to other people who might not have the same technical background, as well as educate users about the assets in their care.

So, it’s important that maintenance professionals prepare by developing—and refining—people skills to work in this demanding environment.

How Can I Help My Team Develop People Skills?

Some people are naturally good at people skills. And others need training. Just like you train your people to repair equipment, you need to make sure they have the training and support to develop these “soft” skills.

It’s also vital to give your team the tools they need to make communication effective. For example, CMMS software enables maintenance teams to improve customer service by streamlining communication and increasing access to information. Those two things make it easier for your maintenance team to provide quick response times and detailed answers to questions and/or problems.

Technical skills will always be a priority for maintenance technicians. But don’t overlook the importance of people skills as well.

What’s your experience? What have you found that works? Leave a comment or contact us.