Dare to Care: Change How We Relate to Employees. - BodyShop Business

Dare to Care: Change How We Relate to Employees.

As this industry continues to struggle with attracting and retaining quality people, we need to change how we relate to employees. They work hard and deserve to be treated better. Time spent listening, talking and building relationships with your employees will be time well-invested — and appreciated.

We need to be more than just employers and managers. We need to care about our employees.

Not long ago, one of our technicians and I had a conversation about his potential and what he was missing out on by being so inconsistent with his ability. He agreed!

When I asked him what was going on in his life that could be causing such behavior, he said, "I’m in a relationship that’s bad, but it’s so hard to just leave." When I asked him how long this had been going on, he said "Years!"

Then he went on to tell me that his mother had been battling cancer. It was in remission until recently. His mother had worked two jobs before, so now he was trying to help her with the bills and around the house.

"And my relationship with my girlfriend doesn’t help matters," he said.

"Do you think things are going to change with your girlfriend?" I asked. "Don’t you think you need to make some decisions?"

"Ron," he said, "I know I need to do something, but I just don’t. We’re always fighting; things just aren’t working out. But I don’t do anything."

I asked if I could give him my opinion — and then did just that. "Get out of the relationship," I said. "You’ll be happy, and she probably will be, too. If you have things you’ve purchased together and know it’s going to cause a fight splitting things up, just give them to her. Go back to your mother’s place and live there. Help her through her hard times, with the bills and around the house.

"This all has to be done in stages," I said. "Make a plan and then do it. You’re going to find that your life, job and attitude will be so much better."

Eight weeks later, that same technician asked to talk to me again. The first thing he said was, "The first stage is done."

At first, I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. "I moved back to my mother’s," he said with so much pride. "I’m going to save so much money. I thought I was going to feel bad about doing it, but I actually feel pretty good, relieved. Now I can help my mother, and I’ll have more money than I’ll know what to do with. It’s great."

I was stunned. I didn’t realize that what I said eight weeks earlier had been absorbed. All I could say was, "That’s great." Then I asked him what the second stage was, and he said he planned to buy a new car, pay off some student loans, get caught up on some bills and save some money.

The feeling I had after talking to him was better than the feeling I get when a customer picks up a car that’s been in a train wreck and now looks like new.

The Moral of the Story
Sometimes we get so caught up in day-to-day operations, customer service, insurance-company relations, and everything else that goes on in the shop, that we — as employers and managers — forget how important our people are. The wonderful feeling I received knowing that someone’s life was changing because I took the time to care about him rather than his production schedule was overwhelming.

As this ever-changing business continues to have problems with attracting and retaining great people, I think we as an industry need to change how we treat employees. I call them precious diamonds. They work hard and deserve to be paid more and treated better.

As owners and managers, we also need to spend more time helping some of them get back on the right road when they’re having a hard time. Like everything else in business, caring takes time — but it’s worth it when even one person says, "Thanks for helping me."

Writer Ron Peretta is owner of Professionals Auto Body in Altoona, Pa.

You May Also Like

Cruise Postpones Release of Driverless Taxi Service

Cruise, a GM subsidiary, recently announced that it will miss its goal of launching a large-scale self-driving taxi service in 2019.

Cruise, a GM subsidiary, recently announced that it will miss its goal of launching a large-scale self-driving taxi service in 2019. Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said the company plans to dramatically increase the number of its autonomous test vehicles on the road in San Francisco, but will not be offering rides to regular people this year, according to an article from The Verge.

Cutting Edge Automotive Solutions Partners with Andretti Rallycross

Andretti Rallycross announced that Cutting Edge Automotive Solutions will serve as technical partner on Cabot Bigham’s No. 02 OINK Clothing Beetle for the remainder of the 2019 Americas Rallycross season, showcasing their SP Tools USA brand.

Ford, Volkswagen Expand Collaboration to Include Autonomous, Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG announced they are expanding their global alliance to include electric vehicles – and will collaborate with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the U.S. and Europe.

CCAR Updates Website with More OSHA Alliance Resources

CCAR (Coordinating Committee For Automotive Repair) has announced the addition of new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Alliance content on its main website, www.ccar-greenlink.org.

CARSTAR McLaren Lake Forest and CARSTAR McLaren Irvine Open in California

Owned by husband-and-wife team James and Mary Davis, CARSTAR McLaren Lake Forest and CARSTAR McLaren Irvine are a family business.

Other Posts

CIECA to Offer Webinar on What Businesses Need to Know to Implement CIECA Standards

CIECA will hold its next CIECAst webinar, “Implementing CIECA Standards: Implementation Guide and Appendix C – BMS, Code Lists and Shema Components,” on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 at 11 a.m. CST.

CARSTAR Urges Customers to Stay Winter Ready

Cold weather can create some of the harshest driving conditions of the year. The months between October and February top the list for accidents, vehicle damage and injuries.

CIECA Adds Broadly as Corporate Member

The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) announced that Broadly has joined CIECA as a corporate member.

NABR Launches BillableGenie Online Searchable Database of Insurer-Paid Not-Included Procedures

National AutoBody Research (NABR) has announced the launch of its BillableGenie online service, an independent, centralized source of actual data on insurer paid not-included procedures and operations, labor rates, labor rate concessions and other manually entered estimate line items.