One of the biggest complaints we hear from technicians is they are often frustrated with their employers because they don’t provide a clear path for career growth.

According to LiveCareer, 45% of millennials say a job that accelerates their career development is “very important” to them, compared to 31% of Gen Xers and 18% of baby boomers. However, very few shops have an actual career development plan laid out for their technicians. Lack of career development opportunities is a major reason why technicians are leaving the industry, and contributing to the overall growing technician shortage.

It’s imperative for shops and dealerships to develop a career development plan for technicians in order to keep them in the industry.

6 Steps to Creating a Career Development Plan for Technicians

1. Meet with technicians to identify career goals.

This is an incredibly simple step that often gets missed. Shop managers and fixed ops directors need to set aside time with every technician to get an understanding of what their career goals are and figure out what the shop can do to help them achieve their goals.

2. Identify the options.

Create a list of the different career paths technicians can take in your shop and make sure you have clear job descriptions for each of them. Different career paths could include:

  1. Advancing in their role as a technician —
    • A-Level Technician
    • B-Level Technician
    • C-Level Technician
  2. Moving into a customer-facing role —
    • Service Advisor
    • Sales
    • Parts
  3. Advancing into a management role —
    • Service Manager
    • Shop Manager
    • Future Owner

3. Outline requirements for each position.

For each position in the shop, identify what it required in order to achieve the position. This could include:

  • Years of experience
  • Training
  • Certifications

4. Make resources available to technicians.

There are a number of ways shops/dealerships can help technicians reach their career goals. All shops/dealerships have different means when it comes to how much they can invest in training resources. However, some different ways shops can help include:

  • Providing paid trainings
  • Paying for certification tests and/or study materials
  • Offering tuition reimbursement
  • Cross-training different areas (i.e., finance, sales, advising, parts, management, etc.)
  • Allowing for job shadowing
  • Developing a mentorship program

5. Work directly with technicians to create individual development plans.

Once a shop has the foundation of a career development program in place, they should meet with each technician to create individual career development plans. This should be a written plan between the technician and the shop that states the tech’s goals, how they are going to achieve them, and how the shop can support their goals.

6. Communicate regularly.

Shop managers and technicians should meet regularly to review the tech’s individual development plan and discuss:

  • Progress being made towards goals
  • Barriers to achieving goals
  • Where management can offer more support

Putting the Pieces Together

Creating a career development program for technicians isn’t difficult. In fact, most shops and dealerships already have a lot of these steps completed. It’s just a matter of organizing everything together, presenting it to the techs as a cohesive, well-defined program, and following through.