If you didn’t catch the AOCA convention you missed out on a great deal of education, networking and parties. This event coupled with the Car Wash Show offered a wide variety of topics to ponder over.
Despite the wide variety of businesses and areas they serve, there was one singular topic discussed over cocktails: “Where do all the good employees go?”. You couldn’t bring up an employee problem without eyes rolling back in the heads of those in an ear shot.
Over the past few years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported a dramatic decrease in unemployment from 9.1 percent in June of 2011 to 3.6 percent in April of 2019. This has caused a strain on shop owners and operators to up their game in attracting quality team members to service the customer. This has mainly been done by increasing the wages and benefits to employees.
The kicker is that either employees are not staying with their jobs or shops are not attracting qualified technicians despite the pay increase. The frustration in the manager/worker relationship continues to be a constant pain point in the shops across the country. So, the question is not where do all the good employees go, but where do they grow?
I sucked when I started
I am not ashamed to admit that. So did you! While it may not have been at this current job or this current field, it was somewhere. As you chew on your employees doing something wrong you can remember when you used to do something similar that caused you to receive the same tongue lashing. I can give you countless stories of what I did wrong in my early days and event ones today.
Something changed along the way. I began to take my job seriously because my job started taking me more seriously. There were several people in different professions that didn’t expect me to be up to speed right off the bat but understood that I was learning and could be molded. It was a relationship that forced me to stay with that company and grow.
Where do they grow?
Great employees come from great leaders. You must invest in your team not only in pay and benefits but be genuinely interested in their growth and development. This starts with you as the owner/manager/leader understanding that your employee has flaws or in generally uneducated on what you need them to do. And developing a plan.
Training is successful in three different venues, written, visual and hands on. There is no cookie-cutter program out there that can give you exactly what you need to everyone. Each individual is accustomed to learning in his or her own way. The best way to accomplish your goals is to have a three tiered blended learning.
Have printed materials that the employee can read and reference at their disposal. This may be placed in the shop or in your online training center.
Have a robust e-learning center that will allow the employee to watch videos that will demonstrate the procedures exactly as you would like them done. Many vendors carry online training that you can utilize for your employees
Have an on-hands training session that not only trains them, but they also will train you afterwards.
After you have completed this area and decided that the employee is proficient in your procedures, you should have them initial it on their training checklist. This will serve as an expectation that they are to use only the training received. It will also serve as a training record for performance, HR and legal cases.
You cannot sit back in today’s market and hope that a perfectly trained and groomed employee comes across your doorstep looking to fill your wallets with profits. You must take a deliberate step to grow great employees and create a culture for success inside and outside of your walls.
Take a good hard look at your staff and decide if they can be trained to be great employees. If they can (and the answer is usually so), start taking the steps to stop complaining about the lack of qualified resources out there and create your own great employees.
Become a farmer of great people, yes someone will come and try and pick from your crop, but it’s not really about you, is it? Decide that you can really make a difference in your team then read my next few articles. Or think your people skills are top notch and watch your people go to the competitors and succeed. It’s your wallet after all.
Until then, be great!