AMi’s different approach to improving employee retention

Jeff Peevy

We are a very technical industry and as a result, often think technical when we are looking for solutions to our challenges. For example, when addressing customer loyalty and satisfaction, we often think of improving the technical aspects of the repair process.

Now I am not saying a technical approach is not important, just that it should not be the only approach.

Employee retention has plagued repair businesses since the beginning. In fact, we are not alone as it is a common small business challenge. However, there may be an angle we have not addressed that could help improve it.

For many years, I have been involved in studying the impact technical training had on repair business performance. During every study, we continued to see the impact non-technical skills had on operational excellence.

Now after two years with AMi, I see the role non-technical skills (aka soft skills) play in almost every aspect of our business operations. One of those is employee retention. Even among a repair business’s technicians, soft skills, specifically, listening, communication and overall interpersonal skills play a large role in how long they stay employed at a shop.

In a recent AMi survey that encouraged participates to think about how listening, communication and interpersonal skills impacted their business, including employee retention, it became clear it should not be overlooked. In fact, 83% of repair businesses believed improved listening, communications, and interpersonal skills would make a positive impact on their business.   77% believed at least 30% of a technician’s skill inventory should be soft skills relating specifically to their ability to interact well with their peers and customers.

The survey also found that there was a direct correlation between listening, communication, and interpersonal skills and employee retention.

The graph highlights an important aspect that should not be overlooked when attempting to improve employee retention. It seems, employees with the highest soft skills tended to stay longer. It is believed possessing these skills help an individual influence their work environment, resulting in being happier in it. Those lacking these soft skills, when unhappy, attempted to improve their environment by simply changing jobs.

As an industry, we often write off soft skills as personality traits and do not work to develop them. Development of soft skills, specifically the ones we have discussed, begins by raising the awareness of them. AMi can assist with soft skills development with approved live instructor-led classes and the following online courses:

Once inside the myAMi learning portal simply search for these titles.

To sign up for the myAMi learning portal go to