Your shop’s culture is the personality of your business and what makes it unique. So it should be no surprise to hear shop culture is important to technicians. In a recent WrenchWay Insiders poll, 58% of technicians voted that the shop’s work environment (including shop culture) is more important to them than compensation, career development, or benefits.
Based on a 2021 WrenchWay Insiders Poll
Why is Shop Culture So Important to Technicians?
Most technicians spend 40+ hours a week working in your shop, so it’s important that they feel comfortable both physically and mentally. Some things technicians consider:
- Is there open communication with management?
- Are co-workers helpful and easy to get along with?
- Does the shop have a good rapport with customers?
- Is the shop heated/air-conditioned?
- What things does the shop do to show they appreciate their employees?
If you are losing technicians at your shop (or even if you’re not and just want to always be improving your shop), you might want to double-check your culture. We’ve outlined a few ideas below on things you can do to improve or enhance your shop culture. Let’s get down to business!
Disclaimer: Not every shop is the same, so some of these suggestions might not work for you. But, hopefully, they will spark your creativity, and get you thinking of ways to improve your shop’s culture.
How to Build a Better Shop Culture for Technicians
Allow for a Good Work-Life Balance
Technicians have a life outside of working at your shop. They have a family or other responsibilities they need to take care of. Make sure you’re giving them the opportunity to show up and be present in their personal lives. Let them have a few hours off to attend their daughter’s play. Don’t give them a hard time if they have to stay home because they are sick. They will come back to work thankful and more appreciative instead of resentful and angry that you wouldn’t let them have the time off.
85% of companies that offer work-life balance report an increase in productivity.
Hire for Cultural Fit
When it comes to hiring technicians, sometimes you may get caught up in needing help now and lose sight of what type of personality the tech has. When making your next hire, ask yourself “Would this person fit in at my shop?” Take it a step further by asking yourself, “Does this technician’s goals and values align with my shops’?” Or, during the interview, explain what your culture is like at your shop and then ask the technician, “Do you think this culture would be a good fit for you?”
So much time will be wasted if the tech you hired doesn’t work out due to their personality or values not aligning. Take the time during your hiring process to get to know the technician and how they operate before you hire them.
Provide Teambuilding Opportunities
Teambuilding in your shop doesn’t have to be corny. Everyone doesn’t have to come together in a circle and do cringy ice-breaker questions that everyone hated doing in grade school. But, don’t forget teambuilding all together because it is important for your techs to build a stronger bond.
Teambuilding can be fun when you look at it from a different perspective. Consider “teambuilding” as any get-together where your staff can gather to chat about non-work-related topics and get to know one another. Have a lunch bbq for the shop, or buy tickets for everyone to attend a local sports game. Both of these force your staff to come together and get to know each other in a positive (non-corny) way!
Promote Open Communication
Your technicians want to be heard. Allow your techs to have a voice in shop decisions and give them a comforting environment to let them voice issues they have or that they see. Whether that is through quarterly one-on-one’s they have with their manager or inviting technicians to the monthly planning meeting. Whatever it may be, just involve your technicians early in the process because chances are you are discussing issues that are going to affect them and it may help to get their opinion early.
Thank You Goes A Long Way
When thank you is said meaningfully to your technicians, it shows you respect them. In fact, in 2019, CNBC did a study that found that 75% of Americans agree that if bosses want happier employees, it starts by saying thank you.
As a shop owner, you are busy, but take the time to go on the shop floor and talk with your technicians. Go around one by one. Ask them what they are working on, how their day is going, and at the end of your conversation, thank them somehow. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation either. You could simply say, “Yeah I know you have your plate full, but I appreciate and am thankful for all of your work. Please let me know if there is any way I can help too.” If you begin this practice, your management and other technicians will notice and follow the “thank you” trend.
Celebrate the Wins
Technicians complete one task after another, running around like crazy sometimes. When days and weeks go that way, sometimes it is hard for techs to reflect on what they even did that day. When this happens, they lose sight of the bigger picture.
To help with this, have a monthly or quarterly profit marker in the breakroom or somewhere visible for the technicians to see. Show your technicians they are working towards a goal that is bigger than just them and what is in their bays. Then, when they meet or surpass that goal, award your techs. Order them pizza for lunch or give out a bonus—anything you can to reward and acknowledge their hard work.
Promote Your Shop Culture to Recruit Technicians
Now that you have some new ideas on how to build your shop culture, how do you promote that to potential hires?
When your culture is something you are proud of, show it off to the industry and potential hires on all platforms! Whether it is on your website’s career page, social media, or your WrenchWay Top Shop page – you should always be promoting your shop’s culture. You can do this by:
- Answering FAQs technicians have about work environment
- Sharing photos of your team and the shop
- Sharing videos of your technicians bragging about the shop
Let’s face it, word-of-mouth travels fast within the industry. If your technicians are talking positively about your shop and its culture that could elevate the number of technicians that apply to your next job posting.