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How do you deal with a complaining employee


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After 2 years of being open and having good growth, I was able to hire my 1st employee. We had worked together before at another shop and he is a fantastic tech, everything you could ask in an employee except for one thing......he complains about everything. From cars, customers, politics, kids, loud cars, Japanese motorcycles... you name it, he gripes about it. He does amazing work, never a comeback, always on time, just a miserable SOB. He has it pretty good here with good pay and flexible hours . I cant afford to lose him but I cant deal with his constant complaining. Any ideas?

Edited by carbtech72
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You have few options here imo. But FYI - I am only a part time shrink :wacko: jk.

I didn't quite understand if you said that you can or can not loose him, assuming you can't at this moment.

He is spending minimum half of his daytime hours with you, right? Try to influence what goes in, you will most likely influence what comes out.

Silly as it may sound, but what radio or TV station is on during your working hours? If it's a talk radio, change it to whatever music you both can appreciate.

Implement some kind of training procedure (i know you/him whatever, don't think he needs it) just to keep him busy (he is going to complain about that too, so be prepared) when he is not working on the cars. Make you shop environment more fun for him, he must like something. Please note I am not promoting pole dancers or anything like that B)

While doing it all, try looking for a replacement. Not saying you must replace him, but if it comes to that, better to come from you and expected rather than from him and with two weeks notice. I do believe that people can and do change, as rare as it may be, but only under extreme external circumstance.

One more thing, try to see how often you are complaining yourself. Just put a tick-mark somewhere you can refer back to at the end of the day/week. Sometimes the employee is subconsciously saying what the employer wants to her. We tend to her others more than we hear ourselves speak...

 

 

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Just another point of view, but he might not realize he is complaining all the time. You might just try bringing it to his attention... Kinda like the whole 'you have something in your teeth' or 'your breath stinks' or 'dude, you got a booger hanging out your nose'

 

Some people just don't realize it, and if you tell him, the response might be 'holy crap, my boss is right. I do bitch/moan/complain all day!' If you do go this route, I wouldn't bring it up first thing in the morning, though. Wait till he is complaining about something around mid-day and point it out. Something like 'I'm not trying to be rude man, but have you ever noticed you complain a lot? Sometimes it can kinda wear on me.' ...

 

However, I was so happy to see the very first part of your post. 2 years to hire your first employee! I've been wondering what the normal growth rate is of a shop. That is a valuable data point. Anyway, back on topic!

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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