We recently hosted our second annual TechMission event, and it was a HUGE success, to say the least! We had a great two days filled with eight sessions, 24 industry experts, 12 sponsors, and nearly 1,500 registrants.
The theme of this year’s event was “Keeping Technicians in the Industry.” With an average of 41% of technicians leaving the industry in the first two years of their career, we wanted to focus on what schools and shops can do to prevent this. Throughout the two day event, we identified six key areas we need to focus on in order to keep technicians in the industry.
6 Focus Areas to Keep Technicians in the Industry
Better Preparing Students for Industry
Setting students up for success from the beginning is crucial when preparing them for industry. We can’t have a mindset that students are going to be experts right out of trade school. There are a lot of misaligned expectations from shops and students. It’s important for shops and schools to work together to create a smooth transition when starting in the industry. We need to ensure we are supporting students when they are learning new skills and be patient. If we don’t properly prepare students for the industry, they are going to go somewhere else that does.
Onboarding & Engagement
Whether we want to admit it or not, first impressions have an impact. From the moment you step into a new shop, you’ll know if it is the right fit for you. Ensuring you have a plan in place for new hires is crucial for technician retention. Technicians want to know your shop is organized and has a strategic schedule. Technicians should never feel lost when onboarding and should know exactly what is expected of them. To keep technicians in this industry, we have to ensure we are making a great impression on day one. You should have a plan and strategy in place for every new technician that walks through your door. This could be a week-long plan, 30-day plan, or 60-day plan. What it is, just be transparent and have structure.
It’s no secret compensation plays a big role when finding a good shop. Technicians want to feel they are getting paid appropriately for the work they are doing. Compensation is important, but it isn’t everything when finding a shop. To keep technicians in the industry, shops need to be providing time off, insurance, training, a good work environment, etc. All of these factors fit together when looking for a shop that is the right fit. We know there are shops out there who need to be paying their technicians more, but be sure to take a look at other benefits as well.
Offering mentorship programs to young technicians is one of the best ways to keep technicians in our industry. It’s important for young technicians to have someone in the shop to look up to. Mentorship programs provide new technicians with someone they can go to with questions and get hands-on training. A mentor acts as a role model to young technicians, and someone they can relate to in the industry. Not every technician is built to be a mentor. It is important to pair new technicians with a mentor who is positive about the industry and has a similar personality.
Everyone wants to feel important and appreciated for the work they do. However, not everyone likes to be recognized the same way. Some technicians may like a public shout-out in front of the team. While others would find that extremely embarrassing. You need to get to know your technicians on a personal level to know what motivates them. Find out their favorite food, hobbies, and things they are passionate about. Use what you learn from your technicians and turn it into a recognition strategy. It’s the little details in recognition that are going to go a long way.
Career Development & Training
As a technician, learning doesn’t end when you get out of trade school. The industry is constantly changing with the advancements of technology, and it can be hard to keep up. As a shop owner and technician, it is crucial to make training a priority. The money you invest in training will always go back into the shop. It allows technicians to improve on their skills, and can save time on repairs. It also keeps you on top of the trends of new vehicles. If technicians aren’t up-to-date on the newest technology, then they won’t be able to fix some of the new cars coming into the shop. This can be a big problem for the business.
Thank you again to all the sponsors, panelists, and attendees for making TechMission 2021 a huge success.
If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to watch the recordings on WrenchWay’s YouTube channel.