A major concern facing tire dealers and retreaders today is the problem of attracting, hiring and retaining qualified, responsible workers. When Harry Truman was president of the U.S., he had a sign in the Oval Office: ``The buck stops here.'' Every tire dealer and retreader should adopt the same dictum.
If you don't like some of your employees, don't blame them; the fault lies with you. If you find it difficult to attract and keep qualified workers, look at what your firm has to offer. Don't blame the job market or competition. The buck must stop with management, because if you don't stop it, eventually it will stop you.
Most hiring decisions are made by novices-people who rarely hire more than one or two employees a year, who lack the experience or skills and who make decisions on how they ``feel'' about a particular prospect.
Care must be taken to see that job candidates are properly screened. Always check past references and inquire specifically about how employees measure up in delivering quality products or services. Keep in mind that a bad reference is as hard to find as a good employee.
A recent study by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that only about 50 percent of newly hired employees last more than six months. Most either leave on their own or are fired.
This often is the case with tire dealerships and retread shops. Many have as high a turnover rate as fast-food restaurants, the mecca for first-time job seekers.
A fact of life is that retreading and tire servicing is an unattractive industry. Many prospective employees believe it holds only unchallenging work performed by low-paid, unskilled labor. Because of this, it must be recognized that the job you're offering may not be all that attractive to good candidates.
Fewer people are coming into the workforce, which means that companies have to reach further down into the queue of qualified people. Many job applicants are woefully unprepared and the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow will be far greater than those of today. Workers will be expected to understand more about computers and mathematics and be more adept at solving problems and communicating.
Most jobs beyond entry level require a certain set of skills, experience or educational background. Hiring only people who have experience in retreading, tire servicing or automotive servicing not only limits the field, it leads to inbreeding. Often you end up with people who have been recycled through different tire outlets, retread shops or automotive shops.
Each time you hire a new employee, you must make an investment in training. Hiring a new employee is one of the most expensive decisions you make. The cost of advertising, orientation, retraining, supervision and waiting for them to get up to speed is unquantifiable.
Reducing turnover can help build quality. Turnover can be reduced in a number of ways, starting with hiring the right person. Granted, this is not an easy task-but think how expensive a mistake can be. Severance pay, workman's compensation, unemployment insurance are only part of the problem.
The condition of a company's premises is not only crucial when attracting customers-it's also important when attracting prospective employees. I can't begin to count the number of dark dungeons with dirty people working with obsolete, labor-intensive, equipment I have called upon in past years. Thankfully, many of these shops are no longer with us.
Your facility is the first thing seen and plays an important part in defining the image of your company.
Poor lighting, clutter and obsolete equipment add to worker dissatisfaction, poor attitudes and careless workmanship. It's difficult to motivate pride in workmanship if there is no pride in working conditions. Since most of us spend our waking hours at work, productive workplaces are worth examining.
Studies show that financial compensation is not the most important factor to American workers. In fact, depending on the study, employee recognition, a sense of accomplishment and job security all rank higher than the paycheck. Maintaining employee satisfaction doesn't necessarily mean you have to open the checkbook.
Some may complain that high turnover is inevitable among low-skill, first-time workers, but the evidence suggests the fault lies with management. Careful hiring, intensive and never-ending training and a variety of inexpensive and motivational programs almost always slash turnover.