“Begin as you mean to go on.” That’s an old saying but a true one, especially as it concerns leadership roles at work. If you have new people coming to work for you, how you interact with them on your employees’ first day of work will set the tone for your future interactions with them. It will also impact how they see your auto shop’s rules, policies, and procedures and affect how they respect and follow them. The first day is the day to demonstrate good auto shop management. It will save you both time and money if you do it right.
The first day on a new job is overwhelming because there is so much to learn and there are so many new faces. If you want your new employee to feel comfortable and work well with the team you already have, make those introductions more than a cursory exchange of names. Let your current staff know what the new person’s strengths are or what their background is. Give your new employee information about the staff too, something they can use to remember what their roles are. It’s also a good idea to connect the new employee to someone on your staff who is good with people. A new hire who feels welcome and appreciated is less likely to ghost or quit.
Proceed with Orientation
If you have not established an orientation procedure for your new employees, this is something you need to do. Training your staff on how to train others strengthens your entire operation because it means no one person is responsible for it and training can continue. Even if a manager or key staff member leaves, the information is still available. Orientation is an excellent time to distribute the employee handbook you have created of all the policies and procedures at your shop.
Your orientation process should include teaching and training your employees everything they need to know to work at your auto shop. It should parcel out that information in digestible chunks and allow your new employees opportunities to ask questions. You may want to give new employees a list of all topics covered by the orientation so they can keep track of what they must know. Checking off the items on that list will allow them to feel more confident and also know the scope and detail of what is expected of them.
Every new employee wants to know what his new work environment is like, who does what, and what the boss expects. The sooner he knows those things, the less anxious he will be. Employees will be more likely to respect the boundaries and expectations you have of them if you communicate them clearly and firmly early on. If an employee can’t live with those expectations or your shop’s management, it’s better that he leaves early on rather than causing problems for the staff and management indefinitely until he either gets fed up and quits or you fire him.
Let your new employees know what your policies are on tardiness, absences, smoking and substance abuse, and any other issues you find challenging in management. Good, firm leadership actually limits conflict because people know where they stand. Most people work better when they know the rules and know they will be enforced.
We’ve mentioned many times that the auto repair industry has a desperate shortage of auto mechanics. Every shop struggles with it. It’s challenging to attract workers. It takes up a considerable amount of management’s time contacting and interviewing new people. That’s why making the right impression on the first day is so important. If you want to keep the new employees you’ve hired, making their first day a good day, from introductions to orientation to clear communication, will help.
What does your shop do to make your employees’ first day good? Do you emphasize certain policies more than others? Have you found any tricks that help ease the transition from new worker to team member? Please let us know in the comments below or on our forums!