How to Avoid Your Default Future

The default future is the place you end up when you decide not to make the necessary changes in a specific area. For instance, deciding not to invest in proactive recruiting efforts can cause you to end up working in the business instead of on your dreams.

Let’s use shop owners Bill and Susan as an example. Bill is the owner and Susan, his wife, handles the administrative functions of their thriving location. If you Googled the term “Top Shop” a picture of Bill and Susan would appear! For this reason, Susan couldn’t understand why Bill would always interview a minimum of six people per month when he didn’t have any open positions. Susan asked, “Bill, why are we running these employment ads? We are fully staffed with a great crew. This is a waste of time and money.” Susan posed a valid question since their shop has a reputation for retaining great people and is known for being the place to purchase automotive services in their town.

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Any Shop Can Experience Turnover

One fateful week everything changed. They decided to terminate Mark, their ‘B’ Technician, because of several comebacks and his recent attendance issues. Jane, their service writer, gave notice because her husband accepted a job out of state, and they were relocating. Jack, the ‘A’ technician, told Bill he was leaving to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time day trader. So, in a seven-day time span, Bill lost three out of his seven employees!

How would your business be impacted if you lost three people in seven days? Bill’s story teaches us that even the best of the best can experience unexpected turnover. Not being prepared for this possibility can lead you to your default future. I can’t imagine that a shop owner would write a vision statement for their business that reads, “My vision is to have a business where the profits depend on my presence.” No! This is the future that is arrived at by default.

Here’s what you can do to avoid the default future:

Establish A Monthly Interview Goal

One of our members was telling me about an exercise that was done during his recent 20 group meeting. The shop owners were divided into five groups and asked to describe the most pressing issue in their business and what they were doing to address it. Each subgroup would report their findings back to the main group. There was only one issue that came up in all five groups: Finding and hiring good people. If finding people is the biggest problem, then looking for prospects should be your biggest priority.

I recommend establishing the minimum number of candidates that you will interview each month regardless of your staffing levels. Setting a goal for the number of interviews will force you to put the necessary number of feelers out so that you have candidates to talk to. Let’s say you set a goal to interview three candidates every month. You will be inspired to refresh your ad when you notice that you are struggling to find three people to interview. I conducted an informal survey of a sampling of my members, asking them how many candidates they interviewed during the month of April. Three shop owners reported interviewing four or more people. All three also reported hiring at least one ‘A’ player during this time frame. Establishing a monthly interview goal makes a difference!

Tweak Your Approach

I was speaking with a shop owner named Ronald who told me that he had an ad running for a technician that wasn’t getting any responses. He ran the same ad week after week until finally, he decided to change things up. He changed the title of the ad while leaving the rest of the copy the same. The new title was changed to read as follows: “Automotive Technician with pay up to $35.00 per hour.” This ad generated seven responses and resulted in him hiring a great technician. Ronald changed his result by tweaking his approach.

What are you doing to tweak your approach? If you are running an ad that’s not getting responses, it’s time to change the ad. If prospective employees are ignoring your “Now Hiring” sign, that’s a sign that it’s time to change the sign! If the internet hiring sites (Craigslist, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, etc.) aren’t generating candidates for you, it’s time to utilize social media. If none of the previously mentioned ideas are working, it may be time to consider investing in a professional recruiting service.

It’s been said that continuing to do the same things and expecting different results will lead to a default future! (OK, I’m the one who said it!) Tweaking your approach will get you to the future you have designed for yourself. I am happy to report that Bill avoided the default future. Since he was always hiring anyway, he could fill all three openings with candidates he had already interviewed. Since he established a minimum interview goal and tweaked his approach, he can work on instead of in his business. If you take these steps, you will arrive at the destination you planned for instead of ending up in the default future!

Non-ATI Members: At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.