As business owners with staff we are always resting on a knife edge when it comes to finding the balance between good loyal staff, and having those who are simply there to collect a pay cheque.
It can take years of training on your part to bring a mechanic up to the level of skill and workmanship that you are satisfied with. This person might become your right hand man: the one who can just get on with the job without any fuss, and the one who you rely on to be in charge when you aren’t there.
But what do you do when this person who appeared to be loyal and engaged with your vision, suddenly resigns without any warning signs that something was wrong? Not only that, they have either gone off to be employed by a competitor, or worse still, gone into business for themselves!
Your first thoughts will be filled with panic, but you must remember that rule number one is DO NOT PANIC!
Unless you have a specific non-compete clause in your signed work agreement with your employees, there is little point in heading down the path of taking legal action against your now ex employee for going into competition with you. Even if you do have this clause, the legal action is costly in terms of both resources and money, and quite frankly, you have better things to do with your time.
Your role now is to focus on the job at hand, which is rebuilding your team, all while making sure there is no loss of quality or service to the customer.
Yes, you are in a spot of bother if this key player was responsible for a huge chunk of your productivity, but you can overcome this by being a little bit resourceful. It will more than likely mean an increase of “on the tools time” for you, but it also provides an opportunity for other members on your team to show you what they can do, and if they will rise to the challenge.
When faced with this predicament, make sure you consider these five tips to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
- Assess the damage- Has the newly departed employee had negative conversations with other staff, or customers, that could be detrimental to your business?
- Stem the flow – Call a team meeting for the remaining staff, address the situation, and clear up any misunderstandings. Also reach out to your customers via social media and email, letting them know you appreciate their business
- Consider why your staff work for you. Ask yourself the question “what makes them stay?”. Do the remaining staff enjoy a good working environment, a decent reward for their time (their wage), and do you provide incentives and opportunities that they find relevant? By being honest with the answers, you can work to avoid a repeat of this surprise departure.
- Assess whether you need to fill the vacancy externally, or whether you already have the team that can be reshuffled.
- Consider avenues to find a suitable replacement. This is any workshop’s toughest assignment: finding suitably qualified mechanics with a great work ethic. Before advertising, construct a list of the reasons that make your workshop a great place to work. Talk about the culture, the benefits, and the opportunities available. When that list is ready, then look to list your vacancy online or through social media.
From October 1, 2015 workshop owners will be able to utilize the services of JustMechanicJobs.com.au to find suitably qualified mechanics for their vacant roles. Employers.can choose to receive all candidate resumes for their job, or have candidates vetted by professional recruiters prior to being sent through for consideration.
Rachael Sheldrick is Australia’s number 1 mechanic specific business mentor. Rachael is the author of Turbo Charged – How to Take Your Auto Repair Business From Survival to Success, and the facilitator of Auto Superstars Academy, an 8 week online program designed to overhaul your auto repair business and turn it into the profit making machine of your dreams. Visit www.workshopwhisperer.com or call 1300 31 75 76 for more information about working with Rachael.