Retain Your Best Hires
Offer Your Employees Benefit of a Credit Union
|Take advantage of a great member benefit of ASA’s — its credit union! Now you can offer the employees at your shop the benefit of belonging to a credit union and all of the perks that come with it. From loans to savings accounts, the ASA Federal Credit Union offers a host of financial services. To learn more, go to www.asafcu.org or call (800) 272-2220.|
What are the critical components to a business philosophy for the purpose of employee retention?
There are five that emerge as priorities:
1. Quality Supervision – People more often leave supervisors than they leave their job. Anything an employer does to make a person feel undervalued will contribute to turnover. Supervisory skills can be improved by making sure that the employee receives clarity about expectations, clarity about earnings potential and feedback about performance.
2. Learning and Development – Quality employees consider training and development a priority, and a good program in your business will enhance retention. We are very fortunate in the automotive repair industry as quality training is available through multiple sources, such as suppliers, manufacturers, private educators, and associations such as ASA. Many shop owners have de-emphasized training with the attitude that after training an employee, he or she will leave for other employment. Learning and development will actually result in positive retention when used consistently as part of a total retention package.
3. Contribution Encouragement – Employees that are encouraged to contribute to how work gets done and kept informed are more loyal. People care about their work and appreciate knowing their efforts help the business and the customers. In the day-to-day operation of a busy shop, regularly scheduled meetings are an effective tool for interaction with the staff.
Douglas Kirchdorfer, AAM, owner of Downing Street Garage in Denver, has a weekly lunch meeting where he takes the opportunity to communicate his shop’s business philosophy and goals. The first item on the agenda is always acknowledgements for the week.
At Terry Wynter Auto Service Center, we have a management meeting every two weeks after hours where employees are encouraged to speak freely and ideas are shared openly. At each meeting we have a “round table” where everyone shares one thing they have learned in the past two weeks. Recently, we set up email addresses for every employee as a practical way to share information, keeping employees in the know. There are many ways to accomplish the goals of encouraging contributions and keeping employees informed, all of which will lead to a more engaged staff.
4. Fair Pay and Benefits – Pay does not matter to the degree that many perceive. Employees want to feel that pay is fair within the company and industry. In relation to pay, employees need to know the behaviors that contribute and lead to pay increases. For example, at Terry Wynter Auto Service Center, we pay technicians on a scale based on the number of ASE certifications achieved.
Take a look at any list of the best places to work, and you will find companies that feature attractive employee benefits. A company sends a strong message when benefits are in place that impact the well-being of employees and their families. As John Vallely, AAM, owner of McLean Auto Repair in Elgin, Ill., says, “Employees are people first and employees second. I would do most anything to improve their quality of life.”
Betty Jo Young, AAM, owner of Young’s Automotive Center in Houston, encourages shop owners to “think outside of the box” when it comes to benefits. It is certainly an area where creative thinking can give your business the edge in employee retention.
5. Respect – There is a direct relationship between respect for employees and low turnover. Companies that work to minimize the traditional gap between management and workers will benefit from their efforts. Kirchdorfer says, “Praise employees in public and criticize in private.” An additional benefit of top-down respect is that employees will pass along how they are treated to your customers, which leads to better customer relations and service.
Once an effective retention program is in place, it helps to recognize that all turnover is not problematic. As careful as we are, hiring missteps are made or changes to employee situations occur. These should be handled with care, using an exit interview to determine if any adjustments to policy should be made.Our best hires are the business’ most valuable asset. The last thing any business owner desires is to see great team members leave for the competition. A good retention plan is your best form of prevention and a cost-effective way to retain valuable employees.
Terry Wynter, AAM, is owner and manager of Terry Wynter Auto Service Center in Fort Myers, Fla. He is a member of the Automotive Service Association’s Mechanical Division Operations Committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.