Why do body shop technicians bounce around so much? How and what can you do to keep them at a shop when they're turning good hours but still want to go to another one?
Yes, body shop technicians are known for bouncing around, even in cases where they're getting a good amount of work and are “turning good hours.”
Employees often give pay as the reason they're leaving: “Boss, ABC Auto Body is going to pay me another dollar per hour, so I’m headed over there just as soon as I finish up the work here.”
“Well, Barry, I’ll match that and you won’t have to move all of your tools.”
A week later, Barry leaves anyway. That happens a lot.
In reality, people don’t leave their job over money issues. While pay is often given as the reason, it’s used because it’s easy to blame dissatisfaction on money. But it’s not money, or Barry would have stayed.
Barry should have said, “Boss, I’ve decided to go to ABC Auto Body. You see, I'm not really sure how I'm doing here. I don’t know what’s expected of me and I don’t know if I'm meeting those uncertain expectations. Sure, I get plenty of work, but I'm feeling frustrated because we have the same problems over and over and no one seems interested in my ideas to solve them. I don’t feel like I'm important here, and I don’t feel like I'm part of the team. So I'm headed over to ABC Auto Body to see if I'll feel better there.”
The challenge for owners is to create an environment that fosters all of those emotions that are not based in compensation. Some call the concept “building the great workplace.” Google "the great workplace” and you'll find plenty of good books and information on the subject. Also, read Charles Coonradt’s “The Game of Work” or “Managing the Obvious” to find out what's really happening in the employee’s mind and how to keep them happy, motivated and working.
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