When the Costs Outweigh the Benefits
This last month has been very stressful and busy for me. It all started with our manager in Oklahoma resigning to return to the dealership he came from. Since he had been with us for several months, I had started limiting my visits to just a few days a month, while tracking their performance through our DMS. His resignation created the need for me to go to Oklahoma so I could put some processes in place to continue to operate while ensuring that I knew everything about the operation to pass on to his replacement—if I ever find one. For now, I will be traveling to Oklahoma every other week.
At the same time, we decided to roll out our scholarships to the local high schools. For those of you who have visited schools lately, you know the struggle of getting in the school to speak with anyone. After I was able to get appointment to speak to the principles and guidance counselors, I was forced to move them because I had to get to Oklahoma before the manager’s last day. The good thing is that all of the schools seemed to like our scholarship. Now we just have to wait to see if any students apply. At least the scholarship gave me the ability to discuss the type of individuals and training our industry is looking for and how current and future generations of technicians need mechanical and computer abilities.
After I spent a week going from school to school, we had our annual employee benefits review. It was here that I found out that two of the technicians we had hired earlier this year from other dealerships had only been averaging 24 hours per week at work, while producing less then 20 flat-rate hours per week. I thought this was a problem, since I have been providing them with full-time benefits. So, I called my two service managers to my office to discuss what was happening.
Like I thought, my managers tried to tell me that with how busy we are and our shortage of technicians, we were better off with these two technicians then without them. I disagreed. So, we started to look into the work they were doing and how it was affecting the rest of our employees. As it turned out, these two technicians were costing us way more than just their benefits. They would start jobs and then decide to call in sick or have a family emergency causing us to have to have a different technician complete the work. The technician that got stuck with their jobs would have to spend additional time to figure out where to start and how to finish the work. And by having to have someone complete their work the rest of our customers suffered by us not being able to work on their vehicle at the time of the appointment.
We then looked at the comebacks for the two technicians and the fact they were never here to fix their mistakes. All of this extra stress on our good employees was causing them to believe that my managers were favoring the two technicians and that there would be no repercussions if they came to work or not. In an effort to ease my employees minds, the first thing I did was to move them both to part-time and explain to them that they no longer had full time benefits. They both stuck around for a week or so and then they decided that they should move on.
Since they have left, we have been able to keep up with our schedule and all of our other technicians have become more efficient and happier. So, I guess the moral of this story is that no matter how busy you are, it is not who you hire that affects your business—it is who you keep.