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How to part ways with a long time employee?


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I currently employ a mechanic and friend who has been with me for about 20 years. He was formerly a transmission rebuilder, but we have switched to mostly reman units and have no need for a rebuilder. His pay has remained the same despite his value declining. I am currently paying him roughly $100,000 a year. The problem i'm having is that his skill set is not near that pay level anymore. He does light diagnostic and basic managerial work, but I am not confident enough for him to run the shop for more than an hour. With the current state of the industry our numbers have gone down a bit over the last two years. While still being profitable, I can't help but think about the extra income that would be available by terminating this employee, I just dont know how to do it. Any advice on how to do this? I like him as a person and have known him a very long time, but I feel his is paid about twice as much as he is worth. Any help wouldbe greatly appreciated.

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I have the same issue just reversed. I have a long time friend who is an excellent transmission builder but very slow when it comes to normal diagnostic or work. He is looking for a job closer to his home but I don't think that he would be a good fit. I feel your pain :(

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  • 7 years later...

@hello5555, I would come up with an alternative pay solution for him. Sit down with him and just let him know what’s up. Ask if he would be willing to take a new salary. Explain to him that you value him but can no longer continue to pay his current salary with the lack of rebuilding he is doing. It’s a sign of the times.

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  • 1 month later...

Goodness gracious, are you a business owner?  Do you run a "for profit" business?  There is a LOT unsaid here.

You have a rebuilder on premises, but have switched to mostly remanufactured units.  So either your ticket costs have raised dramatically or you're leaving profit out there.  Why did you switch?

It's not a popularity contest, it's not a friendship.  He's got it MADE and he is going to suck at your teat until you pull him off.  It's not personal, it's business.  You owe it to yourself, your family and every productive member of your team, AND YOURSELF to make that move.  

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NCTransmission, 

The original post was from 2012. The employee is still with us, we decided his loyalty was more important than a few extra dollars profit. Since then we have come up with a new role for him and although he is still overpaid by most standards I don’t regret keeping him. We’ve increased business by over $1.5 million per year since 2012 and his hard worked has helped us get to this position. I wouldn’t consider him someone that is “sucking at my teat”. I would consider him a loyal, lifetime employee that I’m proud to have on my team. Sometimes you just need to be creative and figure out how to switch things up with loyal, hard working people rather than cut them and move on to the next guy. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm glad you kept him. I understand what running a business is about but people aren't tools that can be thrown away when they become obsolete. I'm sure your customers notice the same mechanic there for 20 years how would you explain it to them he stopped making you rich so you let him go. 

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      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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