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3 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Technician Shortage

Tools on workbench
Article Highlights:

  • There will be an industry-wide shortage of 37,000 new techs each year.
  • Focus on the big picture to make your dealership competitive.

We’ve heard it, we’ve seen it, and we are just getting started on this nationwide struggle. Right now, it’s harder than ever to find technicians. In fact, according to NADA, the industry will face a shortage of 37,000 techs each year.

With fixed operations nearly surpassing variable operations as a profit center for the dealership, it’s important every bay has qualified technicians to handle incoming work.  So how do dealerships combat this ongoing shortage of qualified talent?

1) Start With Trade Schools and Higher Education

With such a shortage of new talent, it’s important to have a head start wherever fresh talent is available. Your store needs to be the first place that pops into a new technician’s mind when they think of starting their career. Donate to local automotive technology programs, sponsor projects, and visit schools around graduation to encourage them to apply at your dealership. Many trade schools and colleges also have careers fairs you could attend to help bring some new faces into your dealership.

2) Set Clear Goals and Rewards

Its crucial current and future technicians see your dealership as a place to have a career, not just a job. Anyone can give them a paycheck, but you need to give them a place to grow and develop their skills. Make sure your technicians have clear milestones and expectations. For example, help them get new certifications, make sure they are recommending more work on vehicles, and have them complete certain training on the software you provide to make them faster and more proficient. Review in-depth reporting for each technician as well as for the overall department and let them know areas where they can improve or are improving.

Based on those reports, set realistic expectations and reward their achievements. Rewards can include things like lunch or gift cards, specialty tools, awards that highlight their achievements, and monetary incentives. One dealer group is paying the weekly insurance premiums for basic health insurance packages and gave away company stock if the employee stayed for a year and met specific benchmarks.

No matter what, give your employees a reason to stay that they won’t find at other stores. Or, make transitioning not worth it financially.

3) Understand Generational Expectations

Most dealerships have a wide array of technician talent and ages. These various generations have different levels of experience, variations in training, and are used to working with different types of technology. To keep everyone on the same page, standardize processes, enable ongoing feedback, and provide easy to use software tools.

Looking Forward

No matter where your dealership currently stands with its technician supply, you need to prepare to fight for good technicians.  Technicians will easily go from dealership to dealership to get the benefits they want and the workplace they desire. You need to have a unique service drive that attracts the talent you need and technology that makes the technicians’ job easier at the end of the day.

Is your dealership ready?

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Product Planning, Reynolds and Reynolds

Jeff Adams is a Product Planning manager for Service applications at Reynolds and Reynolds.

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