Keeping Your Technicians Motivated

When it comes to your shop, your profitability rests on several factors. And, one of the biggest factors is your technicians. The faster, more efficient they work, the more profitable your shop is going to be.

But, how can you keep your team motivated and working hard without feeling like an owner who’s just looking at the bottom line all the time?

First, it helps to understand what motivates your team in the first place. The book Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, written by Daniel Pink, explains that one of the biggest drivers of true motivation is autonomy. That is, having the freedom to work when and how we choose.

Now, many owners might not think giving freedom to their employees is a good idea. After all, isn’t the whole idea of management to control the employees and make sure they’re working?

Well, that management model has been in use for the past two hundred years. But leading scientists are discovering that this outdated model isn’t working near as well as it used to. Why? Because we, as a people, crave autonomy. When we’re given the freedom and power to make our own decisions, we work harder, not less. We’re more productive and efficient, not less. And, our job satisfaction and personal happiness go through the roof.

Electronics giant Best Buy has been using this new model over the past few years. Employees decide when to come to work, and what they’re going to do when they get there. They still have goals, and they still must provide excellent customer service. But the rest? It’s all up to them.

Seems like a management model that’s doomed to fail, right? Well, it hasn’t. It’s been an astounding success. The quality of customer service has gone up dramatically. Turnover is at its lowest point in company history. Profits are up. And the employees are much, much happier with their jobs.

So, can giving your team more autonomy produce results in your shop? Well, there’s no guarantee, but there’s a good chance it can make a big difference.

If you decide to give it a try, it’s important to start slow. Everyone, including your team, needs goals to work for. But, leave it up to them how they accomplish those goals.

It’s also helpful to explain to your team just how much they contribute to the dealership’s success. Show them, with hard numbers, just how much profits the shop needs to bring in to keep the dealership afloat.  The more your team has ownership over their work, and their contribution to the success of the company, the harder they’re going to work. Why? Because they’ll start to feel like an owner.

You can also keep your technicians motivated by tying their bonuses to their efficiency. For instance, imagine that your goal is to have 75% efficiency in the shop next month. This means that every day, your technicians are billing 75% of their time to customer work. So, let them know that if they’re able to hit this goal for the month, then you’ll increase their hourly rate by $2 for that time period. You can track this information with good OPE technician software.

Keeping your technicians motivated can pay off huge dividends for your shop. Trying new techniques like giving your team more autonomy and bonuses tied to efficiency will engage your team and keep them working towards a goal that matters to them.