Hiring technicians is a pain point every shop and dealership is struggling with today. And after putting all the time, money, and effort into finding and hiring a qualified technician, the last thing any shop owner or manager wants is to lose them.

The loss of a technician is expensive for a number of reasons. An open bay means potentially turning down business. In addition, the average company loses between 1% to 2.5% of their total revenue getting a new employee up to speed.

The costs add up, which is why shops and dealerships need to focus on employee retention just as much as, if not more than, employee acquisition.

Customer Loyalty is Important – But So is Employee Loyalty

There are numerous industry articles encouraging shop owners and managers to develop customer loyalty programs. In fact, Ratchet+Wrench recently published a great article that outlines how one shop was able to increase their customer referrals by implementing a new loyalty program.

And, while customer loyalty is no doubt extremely important to the profitability of a shop, I couldn’t help but wonder why we don’t see more articles about employee loyalty in the automotive industry.

After all, Gallup reports disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability.

In dollars, a disengaged employee costs a company 34% of their annual salary.

So how can shops and dealerships increase the loyalty of their technicians? We’ve listed out a few ideas below.

How to Retain Skilled Technicians

1. It starts with smart hiring.

Smart hiring is the first step to retaining. Without a good hiring process in place, shop owners and managers risk hiring techs that aren’t a good fit for their shop. It’s important to be transparent in the hiring process about job expectations, shop culture, pay, benefits, etc. It’s also important for shop owners and managers to make sure the applicant has the skills and qualifications needed to be successful in the position. Together, all these details help both the tech and shop owner decide if it’s a good fit.

2. Offer competitive benefits.

There is no shortage of job opportunities out there for skilled technicians today. This means shops need to be offering top-notch benefits — including competitive pay, health insurance, paid time off, retirement benefits, and bonuses.

3. Invest in your techs’ career development.

Automotive technology isn’t becoming any less complicated. Whether it’s covering the cost of ongoing education, developing a mentorship program, or providing internal trainings — it’s incredibly important for shop owners to invest in advancing their technicians’ skill set. The first step is to sit down and have conversations with each of our techs about their long-term career goals, then develop a plan for how you’re going to help get them there.

4. Create an employee loyalty program.

Just like shops offer customer loyalty programs, they can also offer employee loyalty programs. Employee loyalty programs reward employees for their hard work and dedication. An employee loyalty program could include anniversary gifts/incentives, referral bonuses, shop perks, etc. It’s the little things that show you care that can make a big difference to your techs and shop staff.

This article was originally published on Automotive Management Network.

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