4 Min Read • June 14, 2022
Growing and Keeping Your Technician Team
The “great resignation” didn’t just impact restaurants and boutiques. Many dealership Service departments are feeling the impact of staffing shortages more than ever before.
According to our recent Trendsetter’s Guide to Automotive Retail, dealers note that after inventory issues, staffing shortages are their biggest obstacle. And 47% of store executives found staffing shortages very or extremely challenging.
Collectively, there are things we as an industry can do to help. Evolving the perception of Technicians by elevating their expertise and significance in the industry is the first step.
Spreading the Word
Today’s Technicians are well-paid, highly trained and have a great path for career growth. But not many people outside of a dealership consider a Service career as a sustainable career. As an industry, we need to take every opportunity to spotlight the benefits and advantages of choosing these careers.
One thing you can do to spread the word is participate in parents’ night at local high schools, and visit community colleges and trade schools. This provides a great opportunity to dispel any lingering myths about limits on the career path and out-of-date stereotypes.
Many OEMs support programs that partner with trade schools and dealers to let students rotate between class work and real, hands-on dealership experience. Dealers who participate in these programs not only build the next generation of master Technicians for the industry, they also seed their own teams.
Mr. Ms. Right
2% of Technicians in the industry are female.
With women making up 50% of the workforce, the auto industry has a great opportunity to attract them. Though there may be some real barriers to entry, it's possible for dealers to find new workers by overcoming their stereotypes about female Technicians.
Adjusting your facilities so that both genders are accommodated and educating the crew on gender equality standards are two simple ways you can invite women onto the team.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is striving to defeat this problem by tackling it at the source. The ASE Education Foundation is working to develop more ways for foundation partners and schools to reach out to young women and underserved minorities about career opportunities. This is one way we can communicate that everyone is welcome and able to be a part of the automotive industry.
The improvements will take time, but with more education and fewer barriers, women will be more comfortable to pursue this career path.
Pulling Back the Curtain
Future Technicians need to know that being a part of an automotive Service team offers a sense of self-esteem. And one area that is infused into every element of their daily lives is technology.
Showcasing the technical advancements to your Service department can open eyes to the possibility of a career as a Technician for those who may not have considered it before.
Advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence aid in vehicle diagnostics and customer service. Video diagnostic capabilities allow Service Techs to use videos to show customers about problems and potential concerns with their vehicle. This gives the Technician more credibility and offers a sense of transparency for the consumer.
Creating an Engaging Company Culture
Money talks, but if you don’t have a positive company culture, your Service staffers may walk. When the pandemic hit, many experienced Technicians and Service team experts retired. Now, holding on to experienced team members is simply vital to a store’s operations. Our Trendsetters study found that having enough well-trained employees is one of the most challenging concerns for dealers in the next two years. To keep staff engaged, provide continuing training and introduce new challenges that will keep team members invested and motivated to grow.
EVs Could Open More Doors
As the buzz around electric vehicles (EV) continues to grow, dealers have an opportunity to ride the wave of interest and connect with potential employees keen on green technology.
Due to the unique powertrain and connected technology in the latest EVs, Service Technicians will need to learn a new set of skills. And while some will work on both internal combustion engines and EVs, others may be EV experts, boosting the perception of what being a Technician means.
Staffing Will Change
In our Trendsetters study, 76% of dealers said they will change their staffing practices in the next two years as a result of the changes going on in our industry.
Welcoming underrepresented populations, infusing a sense of belonging and engaging with the next generation around new technology will prime the pipeline for the workforce dealerships need today — and tomorrow.
Jeff Beals is senior vice president of Customer Delivery at CDK Global.
Jeff and his team focus on consistently delivering high levels of support for dealer and OEM customers through every interaction they have with CDK. He also spent nearly a decade in leadership roles at Elead, an industry-leading customer relationship management (CRM) software with a long history of exceptional service, prior to it becoming a valuable part of CDK’s suite of automotive retail solutions.