RDE 2022: The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Retention and Hiring in the Workshop – Workshop oriented news | CarTailz

As the industry faces recruitment and retention challenges during the ongoing tech crisis – a topic covered extensively in last week’s SEMA Show training sessions – Tony Adams, business services consultant at AkzoNobel and former body shop owner, shared the bids and prohibitions that auto and collision repair shop owners can follow to attract and retain employees.

“We can’t try to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result,” Adams said during a Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) educational event. “We need to unlearn many of the bad habits we had in running and managing our businesses and adopt new tools. …We have to constantly question our beliefs and our thinking and the way things work and who we are today and how we run our organizations.”

So what could be the problems? Adams pointed to an MITSloan Management Review article, “Toxic Culture is Driving the Great Resignation,” which ranked 1.4 million workplace reviews from Glassdoor employees by searching for keywords related to the reasons employees left their jobs . You might think it’s payment, but MIT has determined that’s not the case. That’s place 16. Place 1? Toxic workplace culture.

In a follow-up article, “Why Every Leader Needs To Worry About Toxic Culture,” also referenced by Adams, the key characteristics of toxic culture were shared:

    • Not included. Adams also noted that the automotive and collision repair industries are overwhelmingly male dominated.
    • Nepotism – Bosses hire friends and family members. “We need new leadership skills today so we can learn how to look for different attributes instead of just looking at who I’m closely associated with,” Adams said.
    • Disrespect – MIT found in employee reviews that commonly used terms were “dumpster fire” and “soul crushing” to describe the work culture.
    • Unethical.
    • cutthroat.
    • Abusive – persistent psychological abuse (humiliation, never saying good job, etc.).

And the toxic properties lead to stress, burnout and mental health issues that cost employers about $50 billion annually in attrition costs, as well as $16 billion in healthcare costs from a 35-55 percent increase in serious illness, Adams said.

Adams also shared results from a recent Gallup employee engagement survey. Respondents were divided into three groups – actively disengaged, engaged, and disengaged. He said the first group “reduces the performance of those around them by at least 50%” and made up 17% of respondents on average.

Engaged employees want to help others, improve the workplace, and are passionate about their work, Adams said. They make up 32% of respondents. Disengaged employees do no harm, but neither do they do anything to make things better; They’re the “silent quitters” — the people who just show up and get the job done every day,” he said. They make up 49% of respondents.

“You have to train them up or down,” Adams said of both groups of disengaged employees. “I know this is a really tough decision, but it has to be done. …They will never give you more than their bare minimum. Why should I give you more if you allow this technician to kick trash cans and throw tools? I understand he may be your best man ever in production, but I’ll never give you more.

“As leaders and managers, we are on the stage all the time and our people are watching us. … If you tolerate that, I will never give you more. This is the widest range of possibilities. The goal is never 100% employee engagement. …I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation. The goal is to get as many of these people into that engaged status as possible.”

Adams recommends reading Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Truth about Employee Engagement, which discusses the three signs of a miserable job—anonymity, meaninglessness, and measurement.

Adams found that if your company is struggling with customer satisfaction, there are likely to be employee satisfaction issues as well. “It has to be the employees first and foremost. I think we sometimes get that wrong. …The employee who works for you is more important. If they are happy, they are healthy, they are fully engaged in their business, they will deliver exceptional CSI [Customer Satisfaction Index].”

Based on his research, Adams shared his take on what employees are looking for. First and foremost, a problem many companies struggle with is the distinction between executives and managers. The difference, he said, is that responsibility can be shared, but accountability rests with one person and follows an action. “Ninety percent of people in leadership positions don’t lead; they work or manage. Until we can use new skills, until we can unlearn and relearn new skills, the toxic culture will continue to prevail. The attrition will continue.”

Some businesses need to rethink their leadership style for the younger generation – Millennials and Gen Z. “If we come to them and say, ‘Take it or else,’ what will they do? ‘Otherwise’ all day. We have to stop complaining and we have to adapt. We need to learn how to lead again and we need to change our perspective on it. We need to put our leaders in leadership positions.”

Added to this, Adams added, is a commitment to learning and consistently moving from just leading people to leadership. “We can’t just have one event. We can’t just talk about it once or maybe twice or over the course of a quarter.” And it doesn’t have to be intense, just intentional and daily, he said.

According to Adams, other measures that stores can consider to improve their work environment include:

    • Enable psychological safety—now the #1 business advantage, according to Amy C. Edmondson’s The Fearless Organization. “Go back to the actively disengaged employees and the disengaged employees; 66% of people don’t talk about it because it’s psychologically unsafe,” Adams said. “People go and say it’s money when it really isn’t, because they know it doesn’t make a difference.”
    • Focus on well-being.
    • Work-life balance and flexible working weeks. According to his research, Adams said the majority of workers would rather have more time off than a pay rise, and many companies are moving to four-day workweeks for technicians.
    • Qualify managers and train them in leadership skills.
    • Stop telling people what to do and instead ask questions so they understand the process.
    • hold employees accountable. “No behavior is repeated that is not reinforced,” Adams said. “If you walk past something and it’s not what you want in your business and you don’t say anything about it, then what happened? They just reinforced the behavior that that’s okay.”
    • Spend more time with your high performers.
    • Create a fun work environment.

“We are the most indebted, obese, addicted, drugged, adult cohorts in history,” Adams said. “You have to build meaningful connections with your team. People can spot fake links. You need to get to know people, where they are and what their struggles are in their life, because as leaders of our organizations we are able to help them; Remove roadblocks. And we can’t do that if we don’t know our people.”

Successful companies also know their purpose besides profit, he added. He noted that it’s important to ask employees for feedback, but be careful what you say right now because how you react will determine whether they will be honest in the future. Instead, thank them for their feedback and come back later after you’ve thought about what to say.


“Part of the challenge is that we bring people into our organization who are trainees and we say, ‘Here, teach this young man or woman how to be a technician; how to become a 30-year-old technician,’” Adams said. “Well, number one, you’re not a teacher. They don’t know how to teach. You are a technician.

“We’ve never really given them a way of what to learn and how to learn and what those commands are, so I think that’s a part that we really need to do a better job at.” [as] an industry; rethinking how we do this and getting people involved… so the mentor knows what to teach the mentee. And when the two of them give the green light and it comes down to me as the business owner, I have no choice but to give you your next raise instead of doing what usually happens, which is I’ve been here two years and I haven’t had any raise.”

Employers should refrain from posting technician jobs that require a certain level of experience and require new hires to purchase their own tools. Instead, focus on what’s unique and different about working in your business, Adams said. It’s important to show that on social media as well. Keep in mind that the industry competes with Amazon – another point raised several times during the training sessions at the SEMA Show.

“It’s $18 an hour. …vacation from day one,” Adams said. “Stock options, 401(k) options, adoption services, you can cover your legal fees. feel-good days. That’s what we’re up against and we want to get people into this industry and pay them $15 an hour to wash cars and we act like they should be grateful to us for having a job like that. …And then we’re like, ‘Oh, and by the way, you’re going to have to buy your own tools, and I’m going to put you in touch with the technician who doesn’t really want to train you or know how to train you.’ And then we turn them over and burn them out. These are realities, folks. We have to change that.”

So how can shops contribute to reducing the shortage of technicians? Adams recommends developing career paths so new hires know what they’re being trained for, what their expectations are, and how to become the technician your business is looking for. And hire a leadership coach who will “drive and challenge you to be a better leader.”

Adams gave his email address, anthony.adams@akzonobel.com, so that anyone could contact him for coaching recommendations, more information, or a review developed by his colleague to serve as a checklist to Workshop mentors to show what new technicians should do to meet specific deadlines.


Featured Image: Tony Adams speaks during a SCRS Repairer Driven Education session November 2 at the 2022 SEMA Show. (Lurah Lowery/Repairer Driven News)

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