A disturbing finding of our recent year-end surveys of independent tire dealers and retreaders is that both groups are having trouble finding, hiring and retaining good employees. In this era of intense competition, whether you're selling new tires and service or producing retreaded tires, having good employees, whom you can count on, often makes the difference between success and failure for a business.
The first prerequisite in employing top-notch workers is to pay them well. As the old saying goes, ``when you pay for cotton you get cotton.''
But beyond that, owners and managers need to instill in their employees a sense of ownership and pride in the business and empower them to do what is necessary to satisfy the customer.
This is the approach Jimmy Pickel has used successfully in guiding Universal Tire in Nashville, Tenn., a retail, commercial and retread dealership, which was expected to report nearly $60 million in sales in 1994, its 50th year in business.
In a story on page 5, Mr. Pickel talks about the importance of attracting and retaining talented employees. To help achieve this, he provides employees with a competitive benefits package and positive working conditions, and emphasizes continued service after the sale.
As he put it, ``If you can attract and keep good employees, they can be trained to satisfy the customer. The bulk of our business comes from referrals.''
Dealers and retreaders who have difficulty attracting and keeping qualified, responsible employees need to closely examine their wage and benefits packages, training programs and work environment.
Would these job features entice you to join the company and make a career out of working there? If not, then it's time to acknowledge where at least part of your employment problem lies and take steps to improve the situation.
Talk with any successful dealer or retreader and you'll learn that loyal and qualified employees are a key to their prosperity.