Automotive Service Professional Day is on June 12, 2023. Have you thought about what you’re going to do for your staff yet?
Despite the long hours and physical labor, the job is very rewarding for the right person, in and of itself — but that doesn’t mean a little appreciation wouldn’t be well received. Automotive technicians and mechanics have been in high demand in recent years, making it all that more important to show the ones on your team how much you appreciate them in order to keep them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be about 73,300 open technician and mechanic roles per year due to workers switching careers or leaving the labor force to retire.
As a bonus, when you make your techs feel celebrated and recognized, they’re more likely to share their positive experiences with friends, family, and others in their network — which can ultimately help drive more applicants to your open roles. If you’re like many Hireology customers, employee referral programs are your number one source of talent making this a win-win for all involved!
Read on to learn how you can make the auto service professionals at your dealership see how valued they truly are.
How to celebrate your auto service professionals
You know your employees best and what they’d truly like, but the important factor is to tie all of the messaging around your appreciation to customer experience. Make sure it’s clear that without this team’s hard work and dedication, dealership customers wouldn’t have nearly as good of an experience.
With that in mind, here’s our advice:
Say “thank you”
Sometimes the simplest gestures can mean the most. Make an effort to say thank you in person to everyone in the shop, send out personalized emails or notes with your gratitude, and hang signs up in the break room and in the bay that say thank you and show that your dealership values them. A genuine thank you is an easy way for you to show your appreciation and it means a lot to the recipient. As a bonus, you can continue this practice all year long — not just on Auto Service Professionals Day!
You can use this day to highlight some standout workers, celebrate team member anniversaries, or even toast to personality awards. For example, you could create a “Tech of the Year” award to recognize a technician who goes above and beyond every day. Or, you could even give out spoof awards for things like “Best Morning Person” or “Fueled by Energy Drinks;” the idea is something that wouldn’t be offensive but shows a bit of levity in your work culture. You could also choose to recognize team members on this day once they reach their one-year, five-year, or ten-year work anniversaries. Recognizing time of service is a good way to keep technicians at your dealership, as it gives people something to look forward to and prevents them from considering other opportunities.
Spotlight your workers
While privately sharing your appreciation is important so you can personalize your messages, you shouldn’t forget to publicly share your appreciation either. You can do this by shining a spotlight on your auto service professionals on your social media and on your career site. For many people, public recognition can add even more value to the message. As an employer, this is also a great employer branding strategy to show applicants how much you value your team.
Gifts are another good way to show your techs and mechanics appreciation. You can choose to give them gift cards to local restaurants and businesses, an allotment for their preferred tool retailer, cash bonuses, water bottles, sweatshirts, or other branded items. As a dealership, you’re in a unique position to help mechanics expand their toolbox compared to other business models. But remember: people can tell when a gift has been given with no true feeling or emotion behind it. Giving gifts, then, should always be paired with some of the other tips in this guide, like genuine thank yous, public displays of appreciation, and internal recognition.
Open the door to feedback
Sometimes the best form of appreciation is simply listening to what your staff has to say. Take this day as an opportunity to send out a survey or install a suggestion box where staff can open up and anonymously share what they like about working for you and what they’d like to see changed. Of course, don’t stop there — commit your dealership to taking action on the feedback you receive. By making real and legitimate changes in response to your team’s responses, you demonstrate that you care about their well-being and happiness at your workplace.
A fully staffed crew is the best form of appreciation
When you have a fully staffed team, you make it easier for your workers to be more flexible in their schedules, arrange for paid time off, and avoid burn out. With the industry predicted to have a deficit in techs in the next decade, you need to do everything in your power to support them.
Unfortunately, recruiting for auto service professionals isn’t easing up anytime soon. There is still a great imbalance between the supply of workers and the demand of consumers; so long as there are vehicles on the road, we will always need technicians and mechanics to keep them running smoothly. It’s tough to stand out amongst the other dealerships in your area that are hiring from the same shrinking talent pool as you are — which makes attracting applicants who want to stay in the automotive industry even more high stakes.
The good news? There are adjustments you can make to your automotive recruiting strategy to attract more tech talent.
Here’s our advice:
- Establish and enhance partnerships with local schools: According to our Future of Automotive Hiring study, only 43% of dealerships utilize this in-person recruitment method to find talent. By fostering relationships with local colleges and high schools, you have first pick of up and coming talent; as a bonus, you could help train these students if your dealership opts to participate in a co-op program.
- Leverage your existing employees: As mentioned earlier, employee referral programs are one of the best ways to recruit while maximizing ROI. All you have to do is find a way to tap into the existing networks of friends, family, and peers that your staff already possess. Incentivize your employees to share open roles with their networks by offering cash bonuses or other prizes for techs who are hired via referral — and be sure to make the process itself easy for all involved parties.
- Embrace candidate texting: Techs and mechanics aren’t in front of computers all day; they’re often underneath a vehicle, getting their hands dirty. The free time they may have, then, they’re more likely to be on their phone rather than a laptop. When you do have someone interested in your open roles, communicating with them via text can make all the difference. Emails are difficult to create on a phone and are too easy to mix, whereas a text is rarely overlooked and are easy to respond to on-the-go.
Technicians and mechanics are often the unseen and unsung heroes of the retail automotive industry. They provide a very valuable service to their community and customers with their knowledge of vehicles and proper maintenance that would be difficult, if not impossible, for the average person to achieve. So during National Auto Service Professional Day (and beyond), use the above advice to go out of your way to show these important team members just how much you appreciate them and value their work.