Retaining Qualified Technicians – Part 2
Do you have issues with technician retention? Most shop owners would say “Yes!” Last time, we talked about why a tech might want to leave their position and seek work elsewhere. Today, we are addressing how to get good techs to stay working with you.
Track Performance Externally and Internally
Shop owners devote lots of money and time to gathering information that will help them improve their customer satisfaction ratings. But when they’re asked if they’re tracking their success in meeting or exceeding the expectations of their internal customers, aka their employees, most cannot answer in the affirmative.
In many instances, shop owners simply don’t know the technicians well. They couldn’t say, for example, what each technician’s favorite color is, what their hobbies are, or in some cases, what their family life is like. If shop owners are going to hire and retain good technicians, they really need to understand their technicians’ needs and expectations, then design benefits, incentives, and the working environment accordingly. Remember, the better you know and understand your techs, the more you’ll be able to please them. Utilizing a “Getting to Know You” form, such as the one below, will enable you to better understand your technicians’ wants and needs.
Some longtime technicians may be resistant to change, and not willing or able to make the adjustments necessary to meet current performance standards. These techs require additional effort on your part, and, if handled correctly, can often continue to be retained.
As a shop owner, you need to ask yourself, from a technician’s standpoint, “Why should I work for this shop?” (Technician’s on the other hand, should ask themselves, from a shop owner’s point of view, “Why should I continue to employ this individual?”)
The road to attracting and retaining technicians begins by building solid relationships. Get to know each of your technicians on a personal level, including their favorite hobbies, names and birthdays of immediate family members, short-term or long-term aspirations, etc. Then use this information in conversation to demonstrate your interest in them. It will also provide insight when determining incentives and bonuses.
What Do Today’s Technicians Want?
Like most people in the workforce, your technicians want interesting and challenging work that enables them to use their real skills. They also want ongoing technical training paid for by the shop, along with a strong benefits program tailored to their needs. They need to earn a reasonable wage that enables them to do more than simply meet their basic human needs. And, of course, they want job security coupled with the assurance of continued employment.
Awesome technicians are hired, continuously nurtured, and usually retained by awesome employers! Some common practices by “awesome employers,” as defined by technicians, include:
- They have the desire to be the best, and go the extra mile to develop this quality in all their technicians.
- They provide a working environment that encourages a sincere desire to learn more through training and education, which fosters continuous lifelong improvement.
- They provide ongoing, high-quality training, and schedule this training during the work week instead of on evenings or weekends. When having a technician attend training during the work week, an awesome employer will provide full wages for each training day, so the technician doesn’t feel penalized financially for attending.
These training practices demonstrate a shop owner’s respect for the needs of technicians to have sufficient time off with family and friends, and promote a great work-life balance.
Good shop managers or owners must be able to motivate the people who work for them. Those who possess the following traits are more likely to have motivated, productive employees:
- Be receptive to technicians’ suggestions. Embrace the opportunity to encourage creativity in the workplace.
- Exhibit a genuine concern for all people — employees, customers, and vendors. Treat them with dignity and respect. Then the staff will work with you, instead of for you.
- Practice teamwork and cooperation. Be willing to help wherever and whenever needed or requested, making everyone’s job easier.
- Implement a strong value system that demonstrates professionalism, pride, honesty, and trust.
- Budget for, and make a continuous investment in, the tools and equipment your technicians need to do their jobs.
- Maintain a philosophy that requires all complaints by the staff to be accompanied by at least two suggested methods of resolution.
- View employee complaints and concerns as a way to obtain insight into their needs and expectations.
- Display technicians’ credentials in their work and rest areas as well as in customer waiting areas.
- Have your shop’s mission statement in place.
- Employ systems designed to support the common goal of billable hours.
- Provide a variety of tasks on a daily basis, including some combination of diagnosis, repair, and maintenance.
- Enable technicians to retain more of their disposable income by issuing tool purchase coupons as incentives, bonuses, or rewards.
Of course, there are many more characteristics that can be added to this list. However, as you make improvements toward becoming recognized as an “awesome” employer, the task of retaining qualified technicians will become much easier.
If you want to learn more about recruiting, staffing, compensating, and retaining your shop staff, enroll now in Guerrilla Shop Management! These and many more topics are covered in this course, which begins October 29th. Click here or call 800-755-0988 to enroll!