To achieve high levels of performance in your shop, you need to have a complete staff of techs who are ready, willing, and able to serve your customers’ automotive repair and maintenance needs. When a tech leaves, it makes a hole in your organization that negatively affects your work flow, your cash flow, your profitability, your other techs’ morale, and your customer satisfaction.
Let’s take a look at the causes of high employee turnover, and some solutions that you can implement now to prevent or minimize the loss of valued techs.
The causes of staff turnover
There is a wide variety of issues that cause techs to leave their employers, such as:
- Low wages
- Inadequate benefits
- Flat-rate pay systems that are unfair to lower-level techs
- Older, long-time techs feeling neglected and taken for granted
- Lack of sufficient training and onboarding systems
Do any of these ring a bell? If so, it is time to make some changes – if you want that revolving door of constant staff turnover to slow down and stop!
Solutions to fight staff turnover
Let’s examine some ways that you can keep your techs from drifting out the door:
1. Hire the right people in the first place:
To get the best techs for your specific shop, be honest with prospects. Explain all the details of your shop’s working conditions, how work breaks are structured, and the expected speed and volume of the workflow they will be handling. Tell them about the other techs they will be working with and those techs’ individual strengths. Be specific about the pay and the benefits, as well as any opportunities for growth within the shop.
Encourage and reward successful referrals from your current staff. Your techs are very likely to know other techs in other shops, and many are interested in improving their situations. These referrals are usually of much higher quality than those you get from conventional means, since your staff members are putting their own credibility on the line through their recommendations.
2. Provide pay, benefits, and bonuses that will keep techs from straying: Think about the total cost of replacing a tech who has left for “greener” pastures. Sure, there’s the cost of training and supervising that new employee. But now consider these three costs:
- The cost of all the repair work that can’t be completed because you lost a tech
- The cost of having to dump that work on another, already busy tech
- The detailed knowledge of those customers’ cars that has left with the departing tech
It’s pretty expensive to lose that tech, so, if pay and benefits are a major reason for techs leaving a shop (and they are), why not step up and pay your techs what they are worth, before your competitors do?
Structure a benefit plan that rewards long-term retention. Additional weeks of vacation for more years of service are a great perk that techs will appreciate. Flexible hours that provide work-life balance are another way to show you care. Bonuses tied to customer satisfaction are another way for the techs and the management to work together for the betterment of all.
3. Continuing education support: Techs are constantly trying to hit a moving target. There is a steady stream of new vehicle models, new features, and new technologies coming off the production lines. These cars, trucks, and SUVs are going to be driving into your shop before long.
Be ready for the latest vehicles by helping your techs keep up with them. Have a shop budget for continuing education, certification, and licensing, spending it where the shop needs it most. Spread it around so that your entire staff can benefit, whatever their current skill levels. You will benefit from all the capabilities that a highly trained and experienced tech staff can provide, and your staff will want to stay with you and advance even further up the ladder.
4. Define a career path for your techs: Show that you can help your techs achieve their work-related goals. Entry-level techs do not want to be on the bottom rung forever. Show them, as well as other techs at higher levels, that they can advance as far as they are able, and you will support them. Techs that have an achievable longer-term goal within your organization will be much less likely to leave it.
5. Keep your employee engagement high: To boost employee retention, you need to make your techs feel that they are succeeding in their jobs, and that they will be recognized for doing a great job. Help your techs to do that great job by encouraging communication, fixing problem areas, and improving workflow. Value your techs’ input and be sure that their vision of your shop’s operation is lined up with yours. Once that everyone is pulling in the same direction, you will see successful outcomes more consistently.
6. Build a workplace culture that encourages loyalty: Think about the type of working environment that you provide for your techs and other employees. Do you:
- Trust your techs to do the right thing?
- Treat them with respect?
- Recognize service anniversaries for every tech, every year?
- Have team-building events outside of work hours periodically?
- Support your techs’ goals outside the shop wherever possible?
If you are, then you know that this is precisely the right way to create a shop atmosphere that makes your employees eager to come to work every day. If not, it’s time to make some changes.
7. Make your shop and company culture a pleasant and safe place to work:
- A shop layout that is uncluttered, space-efficient and organized
- Well-maintained and state-of-the-art shop power tools and equipment
- Clean bathrooms and showers for use by techs
- A place set up for staff to store, heat and eat meals
- Availability of personal protection and safety equipment
The formula for retaining your techs is quite similar to the ones that make them productive and happy
It’s no accident that the same strategies that promote your employees’ efficiency, productivity, and happiness will also result in their staying at your shop for the long haul.
If you have already achieved this blessed state, congratulations! If not, you now have your blueprint – it’s time to get your shop in gear and start winning!