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Marconi: Why Your Employees May be Looking to Leave

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My daughter-in-law recently landed a new job. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is why she left her previous job. When everyone was congratulating her on her new position, I asked her a few questions: What made you look elsewhere for a new job? Was it for more money?”  

She told me that while money is always a consideration when looking for a new job, it was more about broken promises and feeling detached from management. She said that her boss rarely spoke to her, and the agreements made when she was hired were never addressed during her three years with the company. My daughter-in-law is a fashion designer, not in the auto repair business, but the issues that pushed her away from her job are issues we should pay attention to.  

The past few years have been an employment whirlwind for many repair shops. A record number of employees considered looking for new jobs, and the technician shortage increased to a point where nearly every repair shop in the nation is now looking for quality workers. The hard reality is that for us to solve these problems, it will take the collective effort of every shop owner. Don't hold your breath if you expect an organization or some entity to come to our rescue. We need to recognize our internal problems and work to solve these problems.  

A recent Gallup survey of over 13,000 job seekers revealed that 64% said that an increase in income and benefits is very important and at the top of the survey. This surprised Gallup since a similar study conducted in 2015 discovered that pay and benefits were at the No. 4 spot. It’s no doubt that COVID and the economy have impacted the mindset of the typical employee.  

Although pay and benefits have moved to No. 1 in this survey, it’s not the entire picture. Following pay, in the Nos. 2, 3, and 4 spots were: greater work-life balance and wellbeing, the ability to do what they do best, and greater stability along with job security.  

Gallup also found something very interesting. While pay and benefits have risen to the top of mind among job seekers, the three main reasons why people quit their present jobs are: not seeing opportunities for development, not feeling connected to the company’s purpose, and not having strong relationships at work. It’s obvious that while money may be top of mind when seeking a new job, money alone will not prevent your employees from looking over the fence for greener grass. It comes down to these strategies for shop owners concerned about employee retention: 

Auto repair shops must be profitable enough to provide great pay programs with a competitive benefits package.  However, keeping your employees requires creating a workplace environment where employees feel like they’re part of the company’s overall vision and mission.  

Employees should believe they have a career, not just a job. Shop owners should also develop career paths (with goals) that combine the company's needs with their employees' wants and desires. 

Consider this: There may be people in your shop right now looking to leave, being recruited by your competition or even from outside our industry. You need to get ahead of this. Speak to your employees. Schedule one-on-one meetings with them. Ask your employees what they like about your shop and what they don’t like. Find out what they want out of life. You will find the more you reach out and connect with your employees, the stronger the bond will be between you and your employees. It’s a win/win for everyone. Please act on this today. Don’t wait for the Friday afternoon surprise. You know what that is. It’s when your top tech pulls you aside at 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon and says, “Hey boss, got a minute. I’m giving you my two weeks’ notice.”

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