As we discussed in Close the Back Door now, the back door refers to the people leaving us — both customers and employees. They leave for a variety of reasons, but a lot of those reasons are in your control to overcome.
Just like customers, you spend a lot of time on job postings, recruitment, training, and benefits to get a new employee on your team — even more so today with the technician shortage we are all experiencing. We want to keep great employees and avoid the “quiet quitting” many other industries are seeing.
How to Keep Great Employees
You may need to change how you pay, train, treat, and find employees by doing the following:
Pay Them Very, Very Well
This is about the money. Your Master Tech/Diag specialist is in high demand and deserves to be paid accordingly. Your green General Service Tech should be paid more than what the highest-paying fast-food restaurant or retail chain is paying — that is your competition for entry-level employees.
Improve Your Benefits
A handful of paid holidays and a week’s vacation don’t cut it in today’s employment market. Get creative and find a way to offer a variety of benefits that today’s employees demand.
Train Them Very, Very Well
If you don’t have a Master Tech with great diagnostic skills, build one. If you have one, put a B-tech on their hip and make it a job requirement to teach them. If you aren’t investing time and money into sales training for your front counter, get that fixed ASAP. Provide tech training in-house. Provide tech and SA training time during the workday. Yes, I said it; take them off the floor and give them time to do training on the clock during work hours.
Treat Them Very, Very Well
This does not mean letting them get away with bad behavior, poor performance, and negative attitudes. It does mean you and your managers become great leaders that make people feel appreciated, valued, challenged, and held to a high standard because you believe in them and invest in their success.
- Attend Leadership classes and create a strategy to apply what you learn.
- Find out what Employee Engagement means and create a strategy to improve it.
- Develop a strong shop culture that attracts like-minded people who will respect and appreciate one another’s gifts and talents.
I often hear excuses for these ideas — “It will cost too much,” or “We are too busy,” — but you are leaving the back door open for someone else to offer that person the opportunity to grow. You will have to raise your labor rate significantly to do this — make it happen or plan on being out of business within the next three years because you can’t keep and attract employees.
Other tips to keep in mind:
- If you need a skilled tech, consider hiring a recruiter to pursue and capture them. It will cost you time or money — you don’t have the time.
- Be a bloodhound for talent that fits your culture. Your next service manager may be working in a different industry. If you have a fantastic experience with a salesperson, invite them to lunch and do a soft interview.
Actively pursue the people you want on your team. Hire slowly and fire fast. And when you find the right fit, ensure they have everything they need to succeed in your shop and don’t want to look elsewhere.
Non-ATI members: At ATI, we make sure our members learn best practices for shutting the back door, keeping quality employees and loyal customers. Curious about what we can do to help you and your shop grow, increase profits, and be the best in your area? Get started with one of our shop owner events.