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What are some ways we can utilize the resources we have to keep up with other shops?

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It’s hard for our staff to stay up to date on all the latest trends in technology and diagnostics. What are some ways we can utilize the resources we have to keep up with other shops?

Bill Haas, founder, Haas Performance Consulting LLC

We tend to have our mentors being the oldest people in the shop, the ones with the most seniority, the ones in the industry the longest. We tend to lean on them as being the most experienced tech, so they become the key individual for diagnostics, or the drivability diagnostics and reprogramming of modules.

The reality is that we might be better served in our industry with reverse mentoring. The person who’s only been with us a few years or just recently out of a technical college or an automotive program is more in tune with the technology. They’re from that video game generation, and they are used to pushing all those keys and arrows and have no fear of what’s happening on a keyboard or a mobile device.

You look at where some of the technology is going to take us in the future—technologies like mobile learning, where we’re going to have companies deliver technical information and training modules to technical devices—and who’s going to be better prepared to take that information and adapt it quicker? Is it someone younger, someone from Generation Y, or is it a 60-year-old Baby Boomer?

The reality is that it’s Gen. Y, and in reverse mentoring, they become the person who helps the older generations—and your more senior staff—and shows them how it all works. Maybe they help to stress the importance of smart phones for a technician: “Look how easy it’s making my job, let me show you how to do this.” You can look to them for online marketing advice or how to better use social media. They may be more in tune with the latest trends in tools and equipment and diagnostics, because they were just working with it all in school and in their programs. These are tools that they know about that older generations may not be as comfortable with.

It’s something that our industry will have to look at and say, “Maybe we need to change the model here.” This becomes an issue of talent management: We have the right people; we just might not have the right people doing the right things.

We have really smart people in this industry, and we need to make sure we use them effectively—and that includes your newer, younger employees. They can be a tremendous asset, and shops should look to use them in this way.

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