How Do I Find Good Technicians?
In a world where consumers can influence a company’s success based on how share-worthy their experience is, it is crucial that owners employ top talent. This is because employees are the ones who make the repair experience for a customer.
Unfortunately, collision repairers across North America have been struggling to recruit and retain top talent in recent years. The Collision Repair Education Foundation’s new 2019 survey helps provide some insight into the technician landscape; most notably, the rate of technicians leaving the industry and the rate of technicians retiring have both increased. The lack of development in technicians over 50 years old also remains a concern. The average age of technicians, 41, still continues to increase.
In addition to general industry shortage, finding the increasingly rare A-Tech is now a continuous chore for most owners. A-Techs are licensed journeymen who have the experience to perform all aspects of the collision repair process. This includes parts replacement, frame and structural repairs, as well as any mechanical work associated with the repair process. Most facilities cite the need for several A-Techs in their repair center. This is because these technicians do the majority of the work, with B- and C-Techs supporting when they can. Do we have to rely so much on the A-Techs if they are so hard to find?
Make a Change in Your Workflow
Rather than starting on a never-ending search for the highly trained and sought-after A-Techs, owners have the opportunity to make a change. This means adjusting their workflows to better equip themselves for the way the industry is already moving. Owners can empower B- and C-Techs with additional responsibilities. Then, they can have A-Techs perform quality control checks for each step in the repair process.
This change does take time to implement. Productivity may even slip as you work to get your new segmented workflows in place. Over time, however, this prepares a repair center for long-term success. Because it equips more technicians with a variety of key skills and prevents a repair center from shutting down if one of these key employees goes on vacation or resigns.
If your technician shortage is not just limited to A-Techs, but all technicians, some additional tips below can help you recruit and retain top talent in your area.
Find Top Talent
Although you may be in need of an experienced technician now, investing in people outside of the industry and providing on-the-job training is an alternative way to build talent. Oftentimes, employees will be grateful that owners took a chance on them, causing them to stay with the repair center that gave them their “big break.”
Create a positive work environment
Being sure current employees are happy is important, as your business is nothing without them. Paying technicians well, providing benefits, employee referral incentives and offering employee appreciation gestures are all strategies owners can implement to keep existing employees and create that word-of-mouth buzz that your facility, not the one across the street, is a great place to work.
Keep a tidy facility
Maintain a clean, professional and inviting space, not just at reception, but also in the actual shop, office and in the employee break room. Removing clutter and waste helps ensure you are in adherence with safety and workplace regulations while also making where the staff spends 8+ hours of their day is a pleasant one.
Implement 360 performance reviews
Build trust with your employees through 360-degree performance reviews where staff review management on performance. This opens up the review process to a conversation and provides employees the opportunity to give their feedback on a regular basis, so management can make changes before the environment gets too negative, causing staff to leave.
Get involved with local vocational schools
With some schools suffering from budget cuts to their collision repair programs, it is important to support these schools. Donate supplies in exchange for advertising space. Additionally, creating brand awareness will help introduce students to your company. When they are looking for work, they’ll remember you as a champion of their program.
Learn from your colleagues
A franchise family, like CARSTAR, hosts “EDGE Performance Group” meetings. These facilitate best practice sharing amongst owners for a variety of business challenges. Items discussed include employee retention and recruitment strategies. With these groups consisting of owners from across regions, recruiting can even be a collective effort.
The CARSTAR network of franchise owners also has exclusive access to Collision University. This houses hundreds of key training materials, including webinars on how to find and keep good technicians.
To see if CARSTAR is right for you contact Lori Kroeger at Lori.Kroeger@drivenbrands.com or 1-844-906-9764.