Become the Most Desirable Employer in Town

July 20, 2018
Rissy Sutherland says there are a number of ways to separate your shop from the competition when it comes to quality job candidates. Here's how one shop became the most desirable shop in its market.

This month, I talked to so many shops around the country who are struggling to find and recruit the right teams. However, many are complaining and not doing anything about it. By this I mean they still run the same ads, provide the same pay plans and—surprise!—they are still not getting the results they want. If we aren’t willing to change, recruit, train different skill sets, make different pay plans, offer different benefits and try new ways of finding people, then we can’t expect different results.

Of course, frustrations always lead me to search for the best of the best to answer questions.

One of my interesting finds this time around was Mike Myers at Myers Garage Inc. Mike is a third-generation shop owner and purchased the shop from his parents. As the years started to pass, his typical recruiting methods no longer worked for him. Instead of just continuing to try the same things and getting the same results Mike decided to formulate a plan of attack to fix the problem.

Mike started by defining what he was looking for in each job title. He said if he could pinpoint the attitude and qualifications of the right person, then he would be more successful in locating them. He started this by defining the exact characteristics of service advisor, manager, A-tech and general service technician. This allowed him to write the ad, do the interview and touch on each one of the key components that made up this person.

Next, Mike had to figure out what made these people respond to the ad. First, he went to his own team members and asked them: How did you find us? Why did you respond? Why did you interview? What made you take the job? Next, he went to his ideal candidates and asked them the same questions.

Before he started his search, he also implemented the benefits his team wanted to see and highlighted what made them stay. Things get crazy here because he implemented a 4.5-day work week. Yes, you heard me correctly. They work hard and long 4.5 days per week but shut down midday on Friday. Not only did this new program not affect profits or revenues, but it also helped to attract really good talent that could do more and quicker so work was produced with happier people in less time! Next, he added medical and life insurance for his employees because it was a major pain point.

Everyone agreed that having a fun environment that included them in what was happening in the shop was a big factor. So, they have Wednesday free lunch day so they can get together, eat and keep working. To get even better at communicating, they now come in early to have a morning meeting to review the plan of attack and expectations each day. Mike says it’s so spot-on that they could run the shop each day without talking to one another.

Next, he instituted an in-house training program so that he was open to hiring the right people for attitude and aptitude, not skills each time. They have a progressive training program not only for entry level techs, but also for managers. This has allowed him to hire managers from the uniform company and restaurants because he changed what he was looking for.

Finally, he went out and told everyone in his community what he had implemented with benefits and training and then communicated to everyone the people for which he was looking. This actually evolved into a recruiting program because Mike’s shop is known as the place to work in the community—not just in the automotive space. He gets referrals and applicants because of this reputation. In fact, large employers in his area are so aware of Mike’s “ideal” candidates that they refer them to him when they spot one. Case in point, one superstar tech that he hired was an IT millennial who was referred to him by a large employer that said, “Mike, I think you may want to talk to this guy. He likes cars, works hard, is motivated and can solve any technology issue.” Sure enough, he was hired and today he’s one of the best techs that Mike has!

About the Author

Rissy Sutherland

Rissy Sutherland is an auto care industry lifer, having grown up in her family’s automotive franchise business and later implementing the training and operational systems for all 300 auto repair franchise locations for Moran Industries—the automotive giant that purchased her family’s shops. She has opened more than 400 shops in her career as the executive for nearly a dozen automotive brands. She is one of the industry’s foremost experts in shop operations.

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