Maintaining Your Backstage

gary williams newsletterThe big Question that I have been constantly hearing from Service Managers all over, lately is; “Do you know any good Technicians looking for work?” It seems that the career of an “Automotive Technician” is becoming more & more of a dying breed. With the veteran techs being on the verge of retirement & the newer generational career paths swaying more on technology based careers, Automotive Dealers of today need to find new ways of making the position an Automotive Technician more attractive.

In having many discussions with Technicians, all they really want… is to be appreciated. They truly play a huge role in the Fixed Operations Department, so making sure that they are being acknowledged for the work that they do on a daily basis goes a long way. The Advisors & Techs are a key part of your frontline staff for the Dealership. There’s an old saying that states, “Sales sells the vehicle to the customer, but it’s up the Service Department to retain that customer.

There are some real important factors in “Marinating your back stage” which entail, Communication, Compensation, Accountability, Training, & Recognition.

Communication

Communication between employees, their peers, and their managers, can have an effect on employee morale. If the communication is open, clear, & concise, it will create a more productive & efficient work environment. Along with the proper communication with your staff, it also pays to be a good listener as well. Listening will help you to identify who your staff is & help you to provide the proper feedback when necessary. Knowing what & how your employees feel allows you to always be in the loop & help prevent shop politics from coming into the shop.

Compensation

Compensation will always be a soft spot when it comes to determining the proper rate of pay for Technicians. Pay plans for Technicians are very critical now more than ever. In my opinion, paying Techs on solely a flat rate, salary, or hourly pay plan, can affect you in a number of ways.

Implementing a tiered compensation plan, which may include a salary or hourly rate until the weekly hours are met, then incorporate some form of incentive that fits going above & beyond the achievement. This prevents the common Tech practices of racing against the clock & for Flat-Rate Hours or not utilizing time efficiently on Salary or an Hourly rate of pay.

Accountability

Holding your staff accountable sets the standard on what you will or will not tolerate in your shop. Creating a written process of your expectations on various tasks like MPVI Inspections, Repeat Repairs (Comebacks), Quality Control, Housekeeping, etc., will lay the ground rules for shop success. Just remember, in order to hold others accountable, you also have to hold yourself accountable by leading, by example. In other words, “You either make yourself accountable or you will be made accountable by your circumstances.”

Training

TRAIN: To teach, to guide, and to prepare. Keeping your Technicians properly trained is also a very important part of “Marinating your back stage”. Whether its online, instructor-lead, or assigning your apprentice technicians to a mentor within the shop, training is important & instrumental to the growth of your Service Department. Having your Techs become better skilled at what they do, builds character & motivates them to become more productive.

Recognition

The acknowledgement of appreciation for a job well done can sometimes be the greatest reward ever. Some people just want the respect of being a key factor that has added a valued contribution to the process. Remember, it’s not always about the money!

Praise and recognition based upon performance are the oxygen of the human spirit.

-John Adair

In some way form or fashion, collectively implementing these 5 principles within your “Backstage” will keep your “performers” motivated and happy, which will create a productive more environment.

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