Would you work for you?

How to make your shop a success by making it the kind of place where you’d want to work.

It’s no secret that we have an extreme shortage of competent people throughout our industry. As an employer, you’ve got to attract the right skill level required for your shop.
The big question becomes: Are you a shop where people want to work?

To attract and retain these people, you have to know what makes them want to be in their line of work, what makes them want to do their best work, what makes them want to work in your shop and what makes them want to stay?

Many shop owners will say that employee loyalty is rare these days. Yet some of the best shops in the country have employees that have been there for 10, 15, even 20 years, and the employees are competent, productive people. What’s the difference in the personnel managing methods of the best shops over weak shops?

I’ve found some common features that put the best shop employers on solid footing with their employees. These features include:

• Accountability
• Care and concern
• Trust in the employees
• Reputation of the shop
• Resources to help the employees succeed
• Satisfaction with the job’s challenges
• Compensation for a job well done

In the weakest shops, the biggest complaint among employees is the ad-hoc compensation bonus plans that management dreams up, coupled with vague shop policies.

Although an employee’s career path and appropriate compensation is important, management shouldn’t neglect the obvious. When you ask an employee to spend half, if not more, of their waking hours at your shop – no matter how you compensate them and at what level – they cannot overcome misery for long. If the employee doesn’t like the environment they’re in, they’ll move on.

The same things don’t motivate every employee, of course. Factors such as age, position, gender and size of the business all play a role in the result. Also, the shop will become more diversified as employers look to immigrants, older workers and untrained people to fill positions.

That means the shop will need to accommodate a broad range of people’s needs and varying work environments. Due to these variances, the shop manager will need to supply a compensation and benefit plan that accommodates individual needs and not only motivates the employees toward their personal job objectives, but also wider shop initiatives that offer a higher level of excellence to the customer base.

It means management will be faced with developing shop policies that treat people fairly, while giving them the flexibility to handle their responsibilities and challenges. Ask yourself, “How would I like to be treated if I were working in this shop?” This is a management skill level that must be learned, addressed and embraced if the shop is going to attract the best within the industry and retain their services for the balance of their careers.

Managing a shop today has drastically changed from as little as five years ago. The owner/manager must now be considered as a position in the shop and not just a person. The position must be treated the same way as a competent technician’s position is treated, in terms of which tools does this position require to execute to the best of their ability?

Consider the common denominators listed above and how they apply to your shop. Assess yourself critically because it’s a key aspect in forming the culture of your shop.