Kill the Ego
We continually hear about the technician shortage, and it freaks us out—is there going to be anybody to fix these cars as years pass? But then, out of nowhere, somebody moves into town, they knock at your door and say that they want to come work for you. These instances continue, and soon you realize that there are enough technicians out there, and the issue changes to your ability to keep them.
A technician comes to work at your shop, you train them, you pay them well, and make them into the employee that they are today—then, they abandon you to work at a dealership. You think to yourself, “I’m never going to do this again, I’m not going to pour into some young man or woman and have them quit on me—just so they can take all of that training and go somewhere else.”
But what I have begun to notice is that everyone that has done that to us has been arrogant. On the flip side, all of the technicians that have stayed and grown with us, has been humble.
Young technicians are quitting, and they are quitting out of arrogance.
Why is that? Why are these young techs becoming so arrogant?
It mostly comes down to “C” level technicians being told to “stay in their lane” by their shop owner. He or she is only given easy work, they get really good at that easy work and start making big bonus checks, and then find themselves getting to a place where they begin thinking that they are amazing. These younger techs then start wondering why they aren't making the same hourly rate that the older, more seasoned technicians are making.
The truth is, the young techs have forgotten that they simply don’t know as much as the technicians that have been doing it for years.
Whenever you put blinders on young talent and only give them easy work, they start to think, “Well crap, I could just go over to Easy Work Auto around the corner and just work for them, turn way more hours and make even more money.” Only to show up, find out that they have to diagnose and remember that they wouldn't be able to diagnose their way out of a cardboard box, and they begin to struggle and not make nearly as much money.
It’s imperative that we kill the ego while young technicians work for us.
Whoever is dispatching the work at your shop needs to give a certain percentage of difficult work to these young kids. That way, the young techs are constantly saying, “Oh man, I don't know as much as I thought I did, I need to keep practicing this.” If the tech is given a more difficult job that he or she will need to ask for help on it will help keep them in line and become more humble.
Don’t let your line techs make over $60,000 a year by never doing anything difficult, that will create an overly confident and borderline arrogant monster. The technician may begin to challenge authority because they think that they hung the moon when they haven’t been reminded recently that they still don't know how to program a car.
Ego is the enemy.
If you breed a large ego into a budding technician, you will pay the price some day.
Give your technicians a healthy balance of easy work and work that will cause them to struggle—to remind them that they don’t have it all figured out yet.
Only a really good dispatcher can grade those technicians and know how to coach them. Somebody has to be paying attention and know if a tech needs to struggle more or not. But it is still important to encourage each employee and tell them “great job,” all while challenging them.
Continue to grow your technicians and they will continue to stay.