Every shop and dealership knows the importance of employee appreciation and recognition. You’ll frequently hear owners, managers, or fixed ops directors talking about how their people are their top priority… Yet, over a quarter of employees aren’t recognized for their work, with an additional 17% saying they just receive it annually—which isn’t much better (Zippia).
It’s high time that shops (service centers in particular) step up their game if they want to keep their technicians. Techs are retiring, fewer students are entering the industry, and it’s a technician’s market… They can literally work anywhere.
So, what can owners and managers do to show technicians appreciation and recognition? We have a few ideas, but we cannot cover this topic with first addressing the elephant in the room.
Technician Appreciation & Recognition Begins With Fair Pay
First and foremost, let’s be perfectly clear…
Technician appreciation and recognition begins with paying your technicians what they deserve.
Pizza parties are great, but they don’t pay the mortgage.
The purpose of this article is not to dive deep into how you can pay your technicians more, but this topic is impossible to cover without touching on pay. According to Jay Goninen, Co-Founder & President, WrenchWay, here are some things shops can evaluate in order to pay their technicians more:
“Start by evaluating your profitability and cash flow to understand where you are. Then, look at your payroll and see what everybody is being paid. From there, take your employees’ pay and evaluate it against the market by doing research on competitive shops.
Once you get that done, you should have a good understanding of where you stand in your local market and may have learned about some benefits that other shops offer—which you may want to consider.
From there, evaluate hypothetical numbers. I used to give each tech a “hypothetical” raise and calculate the financial impact of it. You could also use a percent increase for the team as a whole. I liked to do it using the current production of techs (no increase/decrease in how much work they put out). Once you figure that out, you can see how much additional money it would cost you to give a raise or add a benefit and how you would sit from a profitability standpoint.
Be sure to calculate costs associated with potentially losing a tech as well, such as lost billable hours, recruiting costs, or potentially lost customers.”
Co-Founder & President, WrenchWay
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Once you know technicians are being compensated fairly in your shop, it’s time to look at other ways in which you can show appreciation and recognition for their hard work.
6 Tips for Making Technicians Feel Appreciated & Recognized
1. Promote loyalty with milestone awards.
The most common way we see shops recognize employees is through milestone awards. Milestone or service awards recognize employees who have been with the shop for a certain tenure. Celebrating larger anniversaries is obvious, but make sure to celebrate smaller anniversaries as well with shop swag or money for tools. This type of recognition promotes loyalty and longevity in your employees.
2. Offer team incentives.
When talking about employee recognition, we often think about it on an individual level. However, a great place to start is by looking at your team as a whole. Offering a team incentive for meeting shop goals keeps everyone focused on a common objective while promoting teamwork.
Craig’s Car Care recently posted a video on Shop Talk outlining the incentives their technicians received for meeting their monthly goals. The shop catered several lunches, paid for all the snacks/drinks for the team, and gave them all $200 to use towards tools (or a $200 bonus for front office staff). This is the perfect example of simple things you can do to keep your team working together to meet shop goals.
3. Do regular walk-arounds.
The easiest, yet most often overlooked way to show technicians you care and appreciate them is by doing regular walk-arounds in the shop. Ask technicians about their weekends and their families. Gauge their mood and satisfaction levels. Find out where they can use additional support. These casual encounters help build trust and loyalty, and it won’t go unnoticed by your team.
4. Personalize rewards and incentives.
When you’re doing walk-arounds, make a mental note of the small things about your technicians. Do they have a tool they need to replace? Have their work boots seen better days? Do their kids have a school activity coming up that you could offer an afternoon off for? Recognizing the individual needs of your technicians shows you care about them as individuals and want to see them thrive.
A more formal way to gain some insight into your employees’ personal preferences is by having them fill out a quick questionnaire during their onboarding. You can ask for all their personal preferences, including:
- Favorite restaurants
- How they take their coffee
- Hobbies and passions
Knowing these things about your employees can make it easy to personalize your recognition efforts later.
5. Keep it fun.
Research suggests that having fun at work has a positive impact on engagement, creativity, and purpose—increasing employee retention and reducing turnover. Try hosting a barbeque with outdoor games during the summer. Take the team to an outing to watch a local race. These are great opportunities for technicians to build comradery, which makes them less likely to leave.
6. It doesn’t have to be costly.
It’s more important for recognition and appreciation to be thoughtful and authentic than it is for it to be costly. There are a lot of ways to show appreciation without spending any money at all. A simple, “Thank you. You’re doing an amazing job,” goes a long way.
Another idea is if you have an employee relocating to the area, put together a list of all your employees’ recommendations for local restaurants, coffee shops, things to do in the area, hair salons, healthcare providers, gyms, etc. This costs you nothing, and will leave a lasting impression on your new employee.
How do you show technicians appreciation and recognition in the shop? Share this article on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter and let us know. Don’t forget to tag us @WrenchWay (@WrenchWayHQ on Twitter)!