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Repair Shop Advice

Three Ways to Improve Auto Repair Shop Employee Morale

November 22, 2017

One of the biggest impacts a shop owner can make as a leader is to provide a great work environment – one that allows their employees to happily provide for themselves and their family, instead of making them miserable.  But it’s not just the right thing to do – it’s essential to keep technicians from leaving in this extremely tight labor market.  Here are three ways to improve auto repair shop employee morale that cost little or nothing.

Get to Know Your Employees Personally

In corporate America (dealerships and national chains) it’s easy to feel like headquarters has an earnings-per-share goal and your purpose in life is to help them reach it.  While that does come with some perks – their physical work environments look great, and they have great equipment – it’s hard to feel like you are anything other than a small cog in a very large machine.

Independent shops should not feel like this.  Employees should feel important – like their work determines the success of everyone around them – because that’s exactly the case.  Employees will care about the people they work with if the shop owner and/or manager sets the tone of caring in the shop.  Employees will notice if their managers take the time to learn about them personally as well as professionally.  Take the time to get to know your employees and learn what motivates them. Provide that motivation and you’ll reap long-term rewards from your efforts.

Provide Appropriate Positive and Negative Feedback

Every manager knows that, when an employee is failing to live up to expectations, you have to talk with them about it.  Avoiding these conversations allows bad habits to set, and those habits will become entrenched over time.  The problem will get worse, and it will bother people more and more until it boils over, potentially leading to a dismissal that didn’t need to happen if it was only addressed earlier.

There’s two sides to this coin, however.  When a manager is genuinely impressed with great work, great effort, or great displays of moral character, they shouldn’t miss the opportunity to show their approval.  These signals of appreciation can really motivate people, and help them drive through the tough times.

Share Shop Success with Your Employees

How can a profit-sharing plan cost little or nothing?  If a profit sharing plan is well constructed, your shop should earn more by giving money away to your employees than by keeping it all.  Profit sharing plans allow employees a window into what makes a shop profitable, reward hard work, and tie your team together in a tangible (financial) way.

These plans should not be taken lightly – if designed poorly, they can both demoralize employees and reduce shop earnings.  But consulting with a coach or mentor that has successfully implemented a profit-sharing plan, and implementing a well-considered version of that plan, could be one of the best morale-boosting financial decisions you ever make.

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