I started my career in this industry as a service writer for Keller Bros. One day, Terry Keller pulled me into his office and offered me a position as the shop manager. It was a great opportunity – promotion, more responsibility, higher pay – but when he handed me a list of people I wasn’t allowed to fire, I laughed and said, “No, thanks.”
See, if I was going to manage these people – to take responsibility for their performance, their lives, and their family – I needed to have complete authority over them, or I would never earn their respect.
As a retired military officer, I’ve led teams of soldiers through difficult situations. But I can honestly say that leading a shop is even tougher than leading a team in the military. Stripes and ranks make it crystal clear who’s in charge, but no system like that exists in the civilian sector. You’ll never be handed authority with a title -- you have to earn it.
As the manager or shop owner, you are responsible for the success of your team and of the shop. You need authority and respect in order to effectively manage employees. Just as important, you need to be able to create a great team of quality employees.
But where do you start?
Retaining quality employees starts before you even hire them. Everything from the job description to the interview should work to ensure you find the right employee – one that will be the quality employee you want to retain.
When you’re crafting a job posting, think carefully about the type of employee that you want to attract. If your listing sounds like every other job description out there, you’ll dilute your chances of attracting good employees.
From the very beginning, make it clear what you’re looking for in an employee. If you require a specific certification, make this crystal clear – in the job description, phone screening, and interviews.
When you’re looking for someone who is high quality, productive, and loyal, use language that reflects those qualities in the application process. Ask for references and their work history. If they’ve bounced around from job to job, don’t bother calling back – it’s clear that they will not be loyal to you either.
If you’re not screening applicants before an interview, you’re wasting your time. It takes at least 10 applications before I’ll find someone that is good enough to interview. And out of those I do interview, only 1 in 100 actually gets hired and becomes that quality employee that I wanted.
If an applicant doesn’t meet your requirements, don’t waste your time going through the full process.