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Looking To Drive Up Technician Productivity?

For decades management trainers have told shop owners that it’s good to have some “healthy competition” between their employees. Here at Elite, we agree. Competition can drive personal development, it can drive productivity, and there is no doubt that it can drive profits. Ironically, it can also take all three in the wrong direction.

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By Bob Cooper

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For decades management trainers have told shop owners that it’s good to have some “healthy competition” between their employees. Here at Elite, we agree. Competition can drive personal development, it can drive productivity, and there is no doubt that it can drive profits. Ironically, it can also take all three in the wrong direction.

Over the years, I have met hundreds of shop owners who have been to management seminars where they were told to post a “scoreboard” showing the hours each technician has flagged. The objective is to use peer pressure to push the techs who aren’t in first place. As you can imagine, this will work really well at first, but then as most shop owners discover, it soon becomes counterproductive. Here’s why: Let’s say you have four techs. Since every one of them will more than likely have a different level of skill and experience, it’s safe to say that after a few pay periods there will be one, or possibly two, that typically come in first place. This means that the rest of your techs will be losers. So ask yourself, if you were one of those techs who typically came in second, third or fourth, how long would it be before your morale and productivity would start to drop off?

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Instead of putting your employees in a position where you’re going to have one winner and several losers, have your techs compete … against themselves. By establishing productivity goals for each individual technician, you can adjust those goals based on their experience, skills, the work that is assigned to them, etc. If you take this approach, you will be putting each of your techs in a position where they are working to better themselves, and can encourage their coworkers to improve at the same time (since their coworkers are no longer their competitors). If you follow our recommendations, at the end of the pay period you will have a shop full of winners, guaranteed. As for your competitor down the street who has techs competing against one another … they’ll have one winner for sure. Unfortunately, they’ll also generate a shop full of good-hearted techs … who feel like losers.

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For additional help with recruiting, hiring or managing service advisors and techs, learn more about Elite’s automotive shop management solutions.

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