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The role of the manager in employee engagement

Friday, March 15, 2019 - 06:00
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If you have ever lost a good employee and wondered what you could have done to prevent it, I suggest you keep reading this month. Great techs and advisors are very difficult to find and expensive to replace. There is a tremendous amount of information out there today on hiring and recruiting but very little on how to hold on to them for decades. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the millennials who represent almost half of the workforce need to be treated very differently than Generation X and Y associates. In the future you are going to realize these folks will be more interested in landing a job based on the way it feels versus the way it pays! If you have been reading our articles you know I let the ATI coaching staff write the articles, because I feel they are closer to where the action is, coaching shop owners every day — 1673 to be exact. This month I feel a need to write this one myself based on training I have been receiving recently that I believe will help every shop owner in North America and Canada. I tried it out on my very first 20 Group I created 15 years ago to see if they felt it was as important as I thought it was, and they agreed unanimously. These guys are very successful veterans; we call them our Mastermind Group. Also, our coaching staff believes it to be one of the biggest problems facing shop owners today, and we will now be teaching it at ATI.

Engagement vs. disengagement

Let’s begin by looking at the national averages on employee engagement. Actively engaged employees represent only 5 to 15 percent of our workforce, engaged typically run at 20 to 25 percent of employees, somewhat engaged 35 to 50 percent and actively disengaged 5 to 15 percent of your employees. The last category are the ones that have already quit but they haven’t told you yet! I am sure you have had this happen if you’ve been in business any length of time.

If you would like a few sample questions to help you deliver better one-on-ones with your people that will force you to ask the right questions to help you deliver better employee engagement, simply go to for a limited time.

Disengagement looks like gossip, no focus, tardiness, low productivity and initiative. Engagement looks like people loving what they do and looking forward to coming to work. Highly engaged shops have 40 percent less turnover, 21 percent more profitability and average 20 percent annual revenue growth. Even if you are comfortable with your current numbers you know the labor force you need to maintain and stay the best is hard to find and recruit into your business. You cannot afford to lose any of the good ones.

Answers to the Tech Shortage

BoltOn Young Technician Working

If there’s a tech shortage nationwide or just in your shop, JB Burkhauser is here with how to address it - nationally and locally.

Solve Your Tech Shortage

Another problem coming your way is the economy, which I am preparing ATI members for as we speak. The general economy is going to slow down in the second half of 2019. The segments already in decline that will affect you are the North American light vehicle and heavy duty truck market. All of us old guys know that when vehicle sales slow down the repair market and average vehicle age increase. We used to like this period; then we realized the cars they are not selling will not be coming out of warranty and into our shop someday! This means a Phase B Accelerating Growth Repair and Maintenance segment while the general economy goes into Phase C Decelerating Growth. Don’t worry about a real 2008 recession just yet; that will be rearing its ugly head in mid-2022 and 2023 if my economists are on target. In an accelerating growth market you have to focus on your quality control, maximizing profit margins and workforce development. Pay attention to training and retention so you don’t have more cars than employees!

Culture vs. engagement

I know many of you have really been working on culture and have realized it is a very important asset to help people want to work at your business. The problem is your people can be culturally aligned but not engaged! Culture is how things are done around your business. Engagement is individual, between each person and the company.

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