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Dealing with and Learning to Manage the Changing Workforce


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Good article Joe,

There's no doubt that the "moral" of the shop starts from the top. I've struggled with the same issues over many years of service work myself.

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When I first started in the business, I worked for the "Old Man" who loved to yell and berate you. Granted his business was strong and he had been in business for over 60 years, his employee turn over rate was insane. The average employee lasted no more than 3 years. Now that I have gotten old and experienced many different styles of leadership, I find that morale is one of the most critical factors in shop productivity and employee retention. Your article was right on. You can't force your core values on people, but you can try and instil them in people and hire the right people that fit your style from the start. Good Job Joe! Thanks!

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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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