Any business is only as good as the employees working there–and that includes your tire or auto shop. Highly-skilled technicians can put your shop on the map, helping you build a strong reputation for quality service in your local area. On the other hand, technicians that don’t have the knowledge and work ethic needed to succeed could end up driving potential customers away.
Because of this, it’s essential to retain your best technicians. That’s doubly true right now due to the ongoing tech shortage, so many auto shops have put some unique strategies in place to boost technician retention. Here, you’ll find some of the best ways to boost employee morale and keep your techs satisfied.
Offer Tool Repayments
No matter how much they know and how hard they’re willing to work, breaking into the automotive industry can be difficult for new technicians. One of the primary reasons for this is tool-related expenses. Techs are generally responsible for buying their own tools, and that can be pricey.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way you can help motivated new technicians get on their feet while building loyalty to your shop. Consider paying for the big-ticket items they need to do their job upfront and garnishing their wages until the purchase price has been paid off. That way, they’ll be able to get to work ASAP!
Competition between employees doesn’t have to be a source of stress. When you’re smart about using this strategy, your technicians will enjoy going head-to-head with their coworkers while getting more motivated than ever to do a great job.
Here are just a few fun competition ideas for your shop:
- Track your technicians’ average car count per day over the course of a week. Whoever’s car count is highest gets a special prize!
- Provide special incentives for techs who can successfully upsell customers.
- Hold contests that aren’t directly related to productivity (for example, giving an award to the technician who has worked on the most red cars by the end of the month).
Make it more fun by creating a leaderboard for competitions to make it easier for technicians to see how they’re doing.
Provide Ongoing Training
As a business owner, your investment in employees doesn’t end once you’ve hired them. The automotive industry is constantly changing–pioneering companies introduce new technological innovations regularly. Members of today’s workforce know how important it is to stay ahead of the curve. In fact, 60 percent of Millennials think of improving their skills on the job as a high priority when searching for a job.
Keeping this in mind, it’s not hard to see that training should be a big part of your employee retention strategy. You can improve your shop’s training offerings by:
- Bringing experts in for after-hours training sessions (with food provided).
- Paying techs to attend two training classes per year.
- Helping your employees access webinars and other remote training opportunities.
- Asking technicians what they would like to learn and making an effort to provide education surrounding those topics.
Build Relationships Beyond Work
Many people spend more time at work than with their families. As a result, your efforts to improve your shop’s company culture shouldn’t stop at maximizing productivity. Help your techs feel like they’re part of something bigger by taking their emotional well-being seriously.
To accomplish this goal, take steps such as:
- Start a monthly employee dinner.
- Hold holiday parties.
- Give employees personal attention in one-on-one meetings and lunches.
- Welcome–and act on–employee feedback.
- Encourage a healthy work-life balance.
Level Up Your Benefits
Like many industries, the world of auto and tire shops is fiercely competitive. That means you’ll need to go beyond just offering 401(k) and insurance in terms of benefits. Specifically, you might want to reconsider your approach to paid time off.
If you’ve traditionally given techs one week of PTO each year, it’s time to take another look at this policy. Shifting to an open leave policy can remove a potential source of stress in your employees’ lives, especially if they have a family to take care of. Better yet, introducing this policy shouldn’t hurt productivity. After job listing website Indeed started offering open PTO to its workers, they saw a 20-percent YOY increase in vacation days AND record growth as a company. Show your techs you value their time and they will work hard for you.
Give Them Stable Work
It stands to reason that overworked employees won’t function at their best. However, it’s equally important to make sure your techs are getting enough work. A steady flow of cars helps you and your employees make money, and when you’re trying to retain your best technicians, a steady paycheck is vital.
For auto shops (and any other business), marketing plays an essential role in driving customer growth. But many auto shops are independently owned, which means the people who own these businesses need to build marketing strategies while taking care of everything else. Of course, the need to keep all these plates spinning can burn out even the most qualified professionals.
Luckily, you don’t need to tackle your marketing efforts alone. Marketing software offered by BayIQ automates everything from a dedicated customer loyalty program, to digital marketing, to online reviews. It can also be fully integrated into your current system and provide reporting to help you increase technician efficiency and make adjustments as you see fit.
If you’re ready to retain your best technicians, expand your business, and simplify your to-do list, BayIQ is the way to go.