Better boss, future
Top talent are looking for a workplace with a better boss, a bright future and bigger vision.
A better boss sets aside time to connect and listen to his/her employees, seeks their advice and learns about their goals — and most importantly, expresses appreciation and encouragement.
Mr. White said if shop owners want high performers, they have to know what the employees' goals are and give them the resources and mentoring to move toward those goals.
He suggested several steps bosses can take to foster high performers, including:
- identify the employees' engagement levels;
- get to know them;
- appreciate them immediately and specifically — and in public, so the team can see what they need to do for appreciation;
- find out what is going on in their lives, in and out of work, and then connect and care;
- offer personalized messages of appreciation;
- develop awards for achievements; and
- create a "wall of fame" to hang certificates with photos of employees and their families.
Mr. White stressed that the shop owner sets the tone of the shop, including the passion, the purpose and the energy level.
He encouraged bosses to be regularly available to their employees; implement quarterly reviews, including employees reviewing the boss; and allow employees to offer suggestions and input on the business.
Bosses also should hold frequent "huddles" throughout the day to assess job orders, parts supply and any issues that arose.
Top talent are looking to develop more employable skills for the future.
"If you're not going to help them get to where they want to go, they're not coming (to your shop).Top talent wants a boss that's going to champion growth," Mr. White said.
He encouraged shop owners to hire someone who has ambition to grow his or her skills within the company and move up the ladder.
"Don't hire someone to fill the need today," he said. "Hire someone you believe is going to fill the need you have tomorrow, next month, next year."
It is up to the shop owner to develop a personalized development plan with each employee and provide that employee with the resources, mentoring and training to help him or her develop a skill set.
Mr. White also encouraged bosses to assign technicians some work that is beyond their ability so they can learn new skills and not get bored.
"Talent's not looking for a job, they are looking for a path," he said, adding that employers need to provide the stepping stones for employees to realize their goals.
"If you don't provide an opportunity for growth, they are going to look for it somewhere else," he said, adding, "Talent is there only as long as we can show them opportunity. You have to be a resource for them, cross-train them.
Don't pigeon-hole them into one area, one position. If you want them to stay long, you've got to give them opportunities to move up that match what they are shooting for and what they are capable of from a skills set perspective."
Top talent also want to work for a company with a vision and values, so employers can start by asking employees what matters most to them, help them understand how they can contribute to the corporate vision and help them feel like they are valued and making a difference.
This can be accomplished by creating days of service with charities that are important to employees, hosting fundraisers and celebrating employee accomplishments.
Tell your story
A business may already be doing these things, "but if you're not telling anybody, you're the only one that knows," Mr. White said
He said a business needs to know its message and then generate awareness of it.
"Your message is all about creating an employment promise. You have to be proactive. You don't wait until you need someone. ... You want to create a great story, and you always want to be recruiting."
There is a difference between hiring and recruiting: "When you're hiring, you're reactive. And most owners have a hiring mentality, meaning they don't look for help until someone is leaving or has already left. It means you're being completely reactive and you get 'Mr. Right Now.'
"But when you're always recruiting, it's being always vigilant, always looking out, being proactive. This is when you find 'Mr. Right' and you stay with them and you glean them and mentor them and you get them involved," Mr. White said.
He encouraged shop owners to stay in touch with someone they are interested in hiring some day and even invite that person to do training at the shop, even though they don't work he or she doesn't
He also encouraged owners to carry business cards to hand out to prospective talent and ask, "What it would take (for them) to come work for you?"
Owners should always be observant of prospective talent and let them know their good work was observed.
Shops should use technology to create and share their story on social media. He suggested shops share their daily activities and employee engagement events, and encourage employees to share and boost posts.
He suggested social media posts should show followers "who you are, the passion you have, how excited you are. ... Give someone an idea of what it would be like to be part of the team.
"So many shops are struggling to find great people and they never look at technology to help them," Mr. White said, noting that with the internet and social media, a traditionally small player, like a small shop, now has a lot more clout.
Shops should also "deputize" their people — have them help spread the word.
"Existing team members can become your ambassadors because they've got first-hand experience with your environment, your culture. It's better for your team to tell the story anyway because if you tell the story, you're bragging. But if they tell the story, it's proof. It has a lot more credibility."
But make sure employees have the same clear message that is talent-focused, Mr. White warned. Shop owners need to train their employees on the message and how to spread the message.
To build excitement, a shop can keep score and track social media likes, shares and comments for a contest, while providing employees with resources, such as business cards, presentations, brochures and videos.
To attract top talent, a shop needs to foster top talent within its ranks.
The workforce typically includes:
• Toxic talent (16%), who are really good at what they do, but who are extremely disengaged and actively try to hurt the business;
• Typical talent (51%), who are not engaged with the business, don't feel part of the team and are just doing their time; and
• Top talent (33%), who the "super stars" of the company, are actively engaged and expect a lot from the team, Mr. White explained.
"We are an industry that hires people for what they can do and fire them for who they are. … We're looking at skill set before we're looking at mind set. I want you to look at mind set first. I want you to hire attitude first and skill set second," he said.
"The hardest thing you will ever do in a business is fire somebody who is a top performer; that is absolute poison to your business. It's the toughest thing you'll ever do and the best thing you'll ever do," he said.
"If you are tolerating subpar performance or behavior from somebody on your team, then they are setting the standard in your shop. ... The mistake shop owners make is not hiring the wrong person; the mistake shop owners make is keeping them too long."