We recently hosted our second WrenchWay Roundtable discussion where we discussed why shops and dealerships need to focus on technician career development.
Our panelists included:
- Tim Winkeler, President & CEO, VIP Tires & Service
- Jim Bennett, Director of Technical Training & Development, ATI, and Owner of CarMasters Automotive
- Jake Schaefer, Service & Parts Director, Smart Motors Toyota
- Damon Agostino, Automotive Technician, Sixth Street Automotive
The full recording is available below and on WrenchWay’s YouTube channel. We’ve also included some of the highlights below.
Highlights from the February WrenchWay Roundtable
1. Investing in your technicians shows you care.
Career development is important in so many ways. But what it really comes down to is it shows that the shop cares about their employees.
Damon Agostino, Automotive Technician, Sixth Street Automotive speaks to this point well:
But, as Jim Bennett, Director of Technical Training & Development, ATI, and Owner of CarMasters Automotive states, career development isn’t just good for technicians, it’s needed for the shop too:
2. In order to be successful, career development programs need to be individualized and ever-evolving.
It’s important for shop owners and managers to help technicians reach their professional and personal goals.
Jake Schaefer, Service & Parts Director, Smart Motors Toyota, takes this a step further noting that technicians’ goals change and evolve throughout their entire career:
3. It is the responsibility of management to provide all the resources for technicians to be successful, and it is the responsibility of the technicians to use those resources to advance their careers.
Career development doesn’t rest entirely in the hands of management. Even when shops with the most established career development programs provide the training and resources for techs to advance, technicians still need to put in the work to actually develop.
Tim Winkeler, President & CEO, VIP Tires & Service, talks to this point very well:
However, it’s important to note that not all shops can provide the same resources VIP Tires & Services does.
Damon Agostino explains that, in smaller shops, technicians may need to take career development into their own hands:
4. Career development programs are going to look different at every shop/dealership, but all good programs have the similar components.
No technician career development program is going to look the same, but great programs share a number of similarities:
- Share the vision. Technicians first need to understand the overall vision and long-term goals of the shop. Only then, can they begin to picture what their role is in helping achieve that vision.
- Give clear expectations. Every step in a career development plan needs to be detailed to include what it takes to achieve that level. That could be training, certification, years of experience, etc. Whatever it is, needs to be transparent.
- Check in regularly. As previously mentioned, career development is ever-evolving. It’s important to meet with your technicians regularly to reassess goals, discuss challenges or barriers, and evaluate progress.
- Be flexible. Get regular feedback from your technicians on the career development program in your shop, and look for ways to improve it. Also, know that every technician is going to develop their careers at a different pace.
Watch the Full WrenchWay Roundtable
It’s impossible to capture the amazing discussions of the night in this article, so be sure to watch the full recording of the event.