Employee turnover is a big problem in any business. It adds hassle and expense, and it erodes customer confidence in any business that trades on customer satisfaction. Your customers want to know and trust the person who is working on their cars because, in a very real sense, they are trusting their lives to their competence.
Attracting good employees is important, but it’s only part of the equation. Keeping those hardworking and capable employees is also crucial to operating your business. When a good employee leaves, the manager must find his replacement and continue with business as usual at the same time. Training a new employee also costs money in time away from work for both the trainer and the new employee. This investment is not something you want to see walk out the door. Employee morale is also negatively affected if turnover is high. Your auto shop will be much more productive and cost effective if you keep your employees happy and wanting to stay with you. How do you do this?
- Hire quality employees – This is very important for two reasons. If you hire the wrong person, it will hurt your business’s bottom line and could be very costly to correct. Do your research and take your time during the search process, conduct thorough interviews, check references, and remember to look at each new candidate as someone who must fit into the team you’ve already built. It’s not just about skills, personality and the ability to get on well with others are important as well. If you make the right hiring choices, your new employee will likely be happier on the job and more willing to stay.
- Pay your employees well – Be aware what good compensation is in your area for each type of job you need done. Good employees will respond to generous pay by investing themselves more in your business. If you are hesitant to give raises, calculate how much it will cost you in time lost and training when you have to find a new worker.
- Offer them good benefits – Benefits are scarce on the ground these days, and some of them are hard for smaller businesses to afford. However, good benefits are not limited to healthcare and paid sick days. Many workers will stay longer in a job if it allows them better flexibility to work around the other responsibilities in their lives. Flex time, compressed schedules, or even the opportunity to work off site for some clerical or administrative tasks may be appealing to your employees.
- Create a positive work environment – It may be hard to believe, but many people will work much harder for a word of praise. Americans regularly volunteer, and they do so because they feel better about being able to help and about what they can do for others. People have varying incentives for doing what they do, and money is only one of them. Awards and other types of public praise can work wonders in making your auto shop a great place to work.
- Invest in your employees – Look at your workers not as simple tools, but as whole people who have their own life goals that can be fostered or encouraged. Most people will not want to leave a mentor or cheerleader behind. They appreciate being valued too much.
There are, of course, many other small things that you can implement in your auto shop to make it a great environment and opportunity for your workers. People often focus on this problem by asking why employees are leaving. Consider it the other way around: What is there to make them want to stay? When you can answer that question well you will have largely solved your employee retention problem.