Shop Management | Operations - Service Repair

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Why your shop needs regular employee reviews

Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 06:00
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This month’s article was written with the help of ATI Coach Kim Hickey.

Many times when you have a lack of accountability or performance in one of your employees, you usually want to blame them first. There is a good chance you could have done something different to change that outcome. If you really believe there is a technician/service advisor shortage in North America, you better start growing the ones you have already hired. ATI Coach Kim Hickey says most of the lack of employee growth is coming from lack of regular employee reviews. Let’s listen to what she has discovered as typical with even great shop owners and managers. What is an employee review? What it is not, is a bad word. It is not something only corporations need to do. It is not something only dealerships need to do. It is not something that you are “too small” to do. It’s also not something you do only when you want to terminate an employee and need documentation. According to the dictionary, a review is a retrospective view or survey, and/or an act of carefully looking at or examining the quality or condition of something or someone.

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When you hired your employees, hopefully you gave them a clear understanding of your expectations as well as what they should expect from you. Many business owners boast that their employees know exactly what is expected of them and exactly where they stand at all times. I’m here to tell you that assumption could not be any more false. Luckily there are several tools in your toolbox that will remedy that situation — and one of the most underutilized is the quarterly employee review.

I’m not talking about having weekly meetings with your employees, or the five-minute meetings in the morning before you open. I’m referring to an actual employee review that has structure and will be an instrumental part in the growth of your employees and your business. For the purpose of this article, I am going to assume that when you hired your employees, you set up clear performance goals, provided standards for their behavior, supplied your new hires with an employment manual that outlined attendance, continued education expectations, informed your employees that they would be receiving scheduled reviews, and that new hires have already received their 30, 60 and 90 day reviews before receiving their nonprobationary status.

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Why?

A review provides a benchmark that you can measure by for productivity, performance and any other goals you set. While a review is one of your best tools for developing an employee, if necessary it can lay the groundwork for nonperforming employees so you can take action steps for reprimand or termination. It gives your employee the opportunity to have your undivided attention. A scheduled reoccurring standardized review sets the stage for nonemotional feedback.

When I first have the “review” discussion with my clients, the first thing they tell me is “I don’t need to do reviews, I have an open door policy and my employees know they can come to me any time.” An open door policy is not a real policy. If you are honest with yourself, how approachable do you really think you are and your “open door” is? When you are rushing in the door, sitting in your office or running around the shop with your head cut off, vendors are waiting to speak to you, customers need to speak with you — do you really think that your employees are looking at that environment and saying to themselves “Bob has an open door policy so I am going to interrupt him right now and share with him how I am feeling?”

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