In this episode of WrenchWay Weekly, we look at technician onboarding and training. Watch the full episode, or review the episode highlights below.

A recent WrenchWay Insiders poll asked, “Based on your experience, how would you rate most shops’ or dealerships’ onboarding and training of new technicians?” Let’s explore the results, which are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent:

  • 5—Excellent: 0%
  • 4—Good: 8%
  • 3—Average: 39%
  • 2—Below Average: 33%
  • 1—Not Good: 20%

The findings are revealing in many ways. First, no technician who responded indicated an excellent onboarding and training experience. Next, 92% of respondents replied that their encounters in this area were average at best. And, more than half of responding technicians had a below-average or worse onboarding and training experience.

The survey results serve as a reminder of a significant and ongoing issue in the industry — many shops do not make enough of an effort to educate new staff. One technician remarked, “Most shops take the bare minimum time to explain their processes. They mostly just throw new technicians in with a sink or swim type of attitude.”

It’s worth considering if the ongoing technician shortage is tied into the half-hearted way that some shops welcome new employees. Last month’s WrenchWay Roundtable exposed a sobering statistic that 42% of technicians leave the workplace in the first two years. So, it’s easy to imagine that these technicians soon leave the industry because they never felt part of the business in the first place.

4 Things to Review During Onboarding and Training of New Technicians

A little extra effort upfront can make for more effective onboarding and training. Going over these simple things can make new technicians feel more welcome and part of the team from day one.

  1. Paperwork: Have all the required paperwork ready and waiting for the new technician. Ideally, the documentation should be completed before their first day. At the same time, be sure to provide written materials with details on benefits, company policies, and related information.
  2. Systems and Procedures: When was the last time you mapped out all the processes involved in a technician’s job at your shop? Is this written out somewhere? What computer systems must a technician know to do their job effectively?
  3. Shop Familiarization: The new technician needs to know where everything is located at your business. This includes the breakroom, bathroom, work area assignment, and even a few places to grab lunch. During the tour, be sure to point out the location and check-out process for any special tools.
  4. Assign a Mentor: Be sure to not only assign a mentor to guide the new technician during their initial period at your shop, but make sure the mentor is a willing and able participant in the process. Also, guide the mentor to ensure they know what’s expected throughout this mentorship. One WrenchWay Insider offered this very insightful comment, “The cornerstone of a student’s training starts with the mentor/intern relationship and their willingness to meet that student’s investment level and to sometimes give a little push, if need be. Utilizing this method will produce a more marketable technician and be a better long-term investment for the dealer.”