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Invest in Your People

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Each month as we write these blurbs of business tips and tricks, it can get difficult to continue to produce new and engaging stories that can take your shops to another level. We have plenty of them in our heads, but how many times have you seen these already?

While going over a previous issue, there was a survey in the numbers section of April’s issue of NOLN. It showed stats from the NOLN Operator Survey for plans of post-pandemic shop improvements. What I noticed was that the absolute number one thing that you should be focusing on only got 13% of the vote—training.

They can all be fixed if you focus on the training. I will try and break down some of the things ranked higher and how they correlate back to proper training investment.


Equipment

This was right above training at 14%. I can certainly see where new equipment will offer opportunities for faster services and potentially new services for your location. 

So, when you bring these very expensive machines into your locations, what is the first thing that you have to do? Train them how to operate and maintain that piece of equipment. You are going to rely on that initial group learning the equipment to be able to show the next group of new hires or future managers. 

There can be so many nuances to the machine that you may end up spending more money training employees on this than the cost of the machine. On top of that, failure to train them properly and timely could lead to very expensive claims when there are mistakes made.  


‘Nothing Planned’

Seventeen percent of operators responded this way in the survey. Do not be complacent. Each year automobile technology changes and updates. Seventeen percent of operators answered this way. Seventeen percent of you will soon be passed by a competitor doing what you have always been doing. 

There are so many ways that you can train your teams on new opportunities that are super cost effective. If you do full-service repair options, for example, your local parts stores hold two to three training classes a year of product knowledge, practical applications and more. Take advantage of these. Many will charge under a hundred dollars, and you can send as many technicians as you want to the training sessions. Investing in these programs expands your team’s knowledge of newer vehicles and potential revenue streams to increase your bottom line.


Additional Staff

This one can be a sticky one for me to discuss, not knowing each of your situations and staffing levels. Some of you, I am sure of, are looking to add people on due to the increase of business in your markets again. You must have the bodies on the floor to service your customers effectively and that is understandable. However, without the proper training budget put in place, these employees will struggle to keep up or progress forward as you hope. Then you just have a warm body holding a vacuum cleaner hose or potentially not tightening a drain plug fully. 

For many operators, “additional staff” means you want to add better employees to your rosters. With the new generation of employees that are in the marketplace now, they will want to know how they can progress and how quickly. 

The Generation Z employee walking in your door has been told that they can be anything that they want to be, and many are told that they should expect to be given opportunities for just being there. Many employees no longer take time with an organization to move up through the ranks. They have aged out in our industry, and we are now dealing with more tech savvy individuals that can get their information at the touch of a screen. I call them YouTube certified. Many of these applicants are also super intelligent, which you will want. 

Put together training programs for your locations. Give them a route to move up in your business. Do you need mechanics? Put together a training program in house to train your own. Opportunity to grow. Do you offer inspections? Put together a training program to give employees a route to this career. Opportunity to grow. Do you want to find better managers for your locations without having to overpay for someone that is not as good as hyped? You guessed it. Put together a training program to find and mold your own people in your own corporate culture. 

Concluding my rant on why all things lead back to training and why this should be one of the top things that you are investing in, I hope that some of these may have opened you up to avenues that you did not see before. Take advantage of vendor training as much of it is free. Hey, they want you to know their products. Look for equipment and service opportunities that are easy to train others on so that you can expand your offerings. Invest in 2022 on training and you will find that you have more money in the bank, less warranty claims and potentially less employee turnover. These are things that we are all after. 


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