When it comes to recruiting new, talented employees, we could all learn a thing or two from college athletic coaches. Every year, there is only a limited number of prospective, star athletes graduating from high school that have the talent to compete at the collegiate level. Each of these exceptional student-athletes are simultaneously sought after by numerous college coaches. The competition for recruiting these athletes is firece. So what does it take for a coach to land a top recruiting candidate?
Obviously, the most winning athletic programs have the best chance at signing the top players – everyone wants to be on a winning team. But why is it that many star athletes choose a school that doesn’t always have a winning record?
The reason for this is the vision, phylosophy, values and culture that the coach has instilled in their athletic program. More often than not, these athletes want a chance to succeed in life, just as much as they do on the field of play. A coach who can show a top prospect how he can help them achieve their goals on and off the field will win every time. Yes, the promise of playing for a championship or having state-of-the-art facilities helps, but the opportunity to be a part of something bigger and more meaningful is usually the deciding factor in which school they choose. This is what sets the best coaches and programs apart from the others, allowing them to acquire the right talent for the success of the program and the athletes themselves.
This situation is much the same in the diesel repair industry. Just like the limited number of prospective, star high school athletes graduating each year, there is only a handful of talented diesel repair technicians coming out of trade schools these days. So the competition for recruiting these people is very tough. Not only do you have to be a successful repair shop with a good compensation package, you need to offer those prospective employees something your competitors don’t.
Here are some guiding principles you can adapt to your shop culture that will make qualified, talented diesel repair technicians want to work for you:
Treat your repair technicians like the superstars they are: Your shop makes money from billable hours. Your repair technicians are the ones who bill those hours. So do what is necessary to provide your technicians with the tools, facilities and creature comforts that make your shop a better place to work, and their job easier to do. This will allow them to do more work, better and faster – making more money for your shop.
Help your technicians make more money: If you pay your technicians an hourly rate, the only way for them to make more money is to work overtime. But that doesn’t always mean your shop will make more money – it could actually cost you money. Instead, structure your compensation package so that when your technicians make more money, your shop makes more money. Here are two ways that can be done:
- Offer a Performance Bonus: Excellent technicians are able to bill more hours than they work. If they can perform good work quickly, your customers will get their truck back faster and the technician will be able to move on to the next job sooner than estimated. This is a win-win situation for both the customer and the shop. Share with your technicians the increased revenue their efficiency-based performance brings into the shop.
- Pay a Flate Rate Wage: Paying your technicians a flate rate can be a very attractive benefit to them. With a flate rate pay scale, the more they work, the more money they make. This also benefits your shop, because a quality-minded technician who can work fast, gets more done in a day, bringing in more revenue.
Take a team approach to running your shop: A team environment is all-inclusive. That means everyone plays an integral role in the success of the organization. Motivate your technicians by allowing them to participate in setting goals for your shop. Let them assign the objectives required to reach your goals. Trust them to take initiative and assume responsibility for their actions. Post the metrics for reaching your goals and hold them accountable for their performance. Let them develop solutions to problems that are preventing them from achieving your goals. This approach will provide your technicians with a sense of ownership and generate cooperation and colaboration among them.
Help them pursue a life outside the shop: Someone once said “You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do”. It is important to give your technicians the time and opportunity to pursue the things in life that make them happy, outside of work. And you should encourage them to do so. Wheather it means spending time with friends and family, going on vacation, or doing something for their personal development and enjoyment, time away from work has many benefits for both the employee and the employer. The lack of work-life balance has been linked to reduced work productivity, increased absenteeism, lower commitment, and poor morale. By demonstrating your commitment to their personal development and happiness, your technicians will work more efficiently, make fewer mistakes, take more pride in their work, and be less likely to leave your company.
Stay up to date with technology: Many heavy duty diesel repair shops use management software that is based on old technology and methods. Many of these systems still require printed work orders and hand-writen notes and part requests. These out-dated methods can be cumbersom and time consuming. The younger generation of technicians use high-tech devices in their personal lives, on a daily basis. There is no reason to think they would be content working at a shop that utilizes old-school methods and low-tech systems. Technology is meant to make your shop more efficient and minimize the frustration of time-consuming paperwork. Show prospective employees that you are committed to staying on the cutting edge of innovation by investing in the latest technology, and you will attract better talent to your shop.
Conclusion: By implementing these guiding principles to improve your shop culture, you will get the best diesel repair technicians to come to work for you. In the end, it will make your shop run more efficiently, improve employee morale, and make you more money.