Morale Boosting At Auto Repair Shops: How To Overcome The Biggest Industry Challenge
Find out how to boost morale at work, what makes mechanics quit, and ways to keep them engaged and loyal.
In this article, you will learn essential factors influencing your employee morale and your techs’ overall productivity. These tips will help keep your employees motivated to deliver the best work and service in the long run.
Underrated Way Of Improving Work Performance: Support Personal Growth
Vehicles are getting complicated at a cosmic speed, and your technicians must keep their skills and knowledge up to date. At the same time, it is also vital for the future of your car repair shop.
But sometimes, persuading employees to attend additional training takes time and effort. There are various reasons, but the most common is a lack of budget. Required certifications and a personal toolbox that every mechanic should acquire right from the career start are already decent investments that will only start paying off in years. So, if you, as an employer, don’t support your mechanics with an educational fund, they will get stuck on a certain level of expertise without challenges and new skills.
Solution. Create a personal development plan for each employee. Identify the skills that a mechanic has to master to raise their rates and get better wages. This will ensure both the growth of expertise and more enthusiasm at work. You can also involve your most experienced techs to mentor and train others for some compensation.
One Thing That Always Triggers Low Work Morale: Not Being Transparent with Wages
A common complaint mechanics have is that they produce more billable hours than they are paid for. That might not be 100% true all the time, but the message is clear: employees neither understand how their wage is calculated nor trust the people they work for. Wage theft and the overall pay decline are painful topics in the automotive industry that you, as an employer, cannot just ignore.
Solution. Put a system in place that is easy to check and follow. For mechanics, such a system should be completely transparent so they can see how their repair orders are processed and what amount they will get in their paychecks. For you as a business owner, it is an important task to find a technical solution that automates the payroll process as it will save you and your team lots of time as well as provide the needed level of transparency for higher employee morale.
To avoid getting lost in the tedious calculations, set up automatic payroll in your business management system. In RemOnline, for example, eight flexible payroll scenarios are suitable for hourly or piece-rate pay models. As it operates in the cloud, everyone in your shop can see real-time data about work orders, sales, and profits. There are also flexible user access rights to configure different levels of access for your employees.
Screenshot of the payroll settings in RemOnline
Another good team morale booster is adding perks for your best performers to the overall payroll computing. Give rewards for fast work order processing, urgent order closing, selling a particular product or part, and providing excellent customer service to raise standards and incentivize employees.
Setting up employee compensations in RemOnline
Areas Of Improvement At Workplace: Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment
Being a mechanic is hard work by itself but doing it in difficult working conditions makes this profession so much more unattractive. If you look for forums where people discuss why mechanics quit their jobs, you’ll often read about an unhealthy environment they had to work in: “In the winter, I work in the cold, in the summer in the heat.” Such conditions won’t attract good technicians and will harm employees’ productivity.
Solution. Provide a workspace that is comfortable all seasons long, with good ventilation and restrooms. Make the inventory of parts and tools easily accessible and with a good navigation system so your techs can quickly find everything they need to get the job done.
Appreciation as a Powerful Morale Boost: Show Your Mechanics You Value Their Skills and Knowledge
Another reason why mechanics leave a shop or even change their career path fundamentally is that they feel not being appreciated.
Their passion is fixing cars and solving difficult technical problems; that’s what they like doing. Sometimes, they even put in extra effort and time to find the best solution. But if their work and skills are taken for granted without a “thank you,” that demotivates even the most passionate car mechanic.
Solution. There are many ways to boost morale and make your team feel relevant: from simply thanking frequently and paying attention to every accomplishment to monetary and not monetary bonuses.
Acknowledge your techs for good work with an “employee of the month” program, gift certificates, additional vacation days, new cool tools, etc. Develop a wage-growing system based on the level of seniority and experience so your mechanics feel they are paid fairly. For example, you can set up a coefficient in RemOnline payroll settings for each employee, and the program will multiply the standard reward value by the specified number.
Screenshot of Coefficient settings in RemOnline
Encouraging Your Team to Stay Healthy: Make “Taking Brakes” a Part of Your Company Culture
There are some hectic days in auto repair shops when mechanics just can’t find time to have a balanced meal, preferring to have a snack like a sandwich or a doughnut on the go. That could become a bad habit and, in the long run, lead to health problems and make people less productive.
Solution. Show your techs you care for their well-being by providing them with quiet restrooms with healthy snacks like fruits and protein bars. Make a rule of having a lunchtime and create a schedule if needed.
People that work in your shop are your most valuable asset, especially those who are skilled and experienced professionals. Show them you highly value what they do for your business, invest in their growth, care for working conditions, and support healthy habits. This way, you will build a highly moral team and create a working environment to attract and retain the best talents.