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Technician Outlook with Jake Sorensen-Part 2 [RR 659]


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Jake Sorensen- 2019 NAPA ASE Technician of the Year and 2019 Ratchet + Wrench All-Star technician of the year. He is an ASE Master technician with L1,2 and 3 advanced level certifications. He is the shop manager and diagnostic technician at McNeil’s Auto Care in Sandy, UT where he helped develop an apprenticeship program that is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. This program has graduated several high-performing automotive technicians and was used by NAPA Auto Care as a template for their automotive apprenticeship program. Jake also developed the curriculum for an automotive course that he teaches at an adult education high school. Listen to Jake’s previous episodes HERE Listen to Part 1 HERE. Key Talking Points
  • How do you keep technicians happy? Pay attention to why they left their job in the interview process. Pay isn’t the only factor. What is the work environment? What are the opportunities? How is the equipment inventory and is it updated? Consider simple things like a stocked fridge for your technicians. Your break room doesn’t have to be newly built- provide a clean table and some comfortable chairs.  Painting the bathroom to make it look fresh also makes a difference
  • Training- offer different variety of training so it works for them
  • What is the next step for master techs? Everyone wants to work toward something. Move into diagnostics. Pay needs to reflect technicians continuing to progress and advance. Labor rates also need to continue to rise. 
  • Dedicated diagnostic technician- separation of mechanical and diagnostics technicians. A diagnostic-specific technician needs to constantly be training to stay ahead. “A Tech” is superb with mechanical skills and can do light diagnostic work. 
  • Diagnostic bays- Customers have a preconceived notion that a computer plugs into the car and tells tech what is wrong. Consider taking them to an area with diagnostic tech to show the customer the technology invested into diagnostics. Monitor total shop production instead of where it came from- diagnostic tech won’t be “most efficient” compared to “A Techs.” 
  • Team events- BBQ’s, annual boating trip, bowling, Christmas party with spouses and family
  • Thanks to Jake Sorensen for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
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Be socially involved and in touch with the show: Facebook   Twitter  LinkedIn   Instagram  Youtube   Email   Join the Ecosystem - Subscribe to the INSIDER NEWSLETTER HERE. Buy me a coffee Since 1989 TRACS has been the industry’s leading shop management system. And in the last 30 years it’s gotten better and better. Today TRACS Enterprise offers even more of the features AutoCare Center owners want—things like a powerful interactive scheduling calendar, faster and streamlined work flow, plus streamlined parts ordering and purchasing options. And there’s more—Punch-out to Mitchell ProDemand, mobile VIN capture, and multi-shop capabilities. That means you can count on TRACS Enterprise to help drive your success today and well into the future. Learn more about TRACS Enterprise and the hundreds of other benefits the NAPA family has to offer. Talk with your servicing NAPA store or visit www.NAPAAutoCare.com.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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