Prioritize Training in Your Shop to Build A Culture of Success

It’s not always easy to make time for training, or to get the team to commit to continued training. But training is one of the most important things you can do to benefit your shop! Which is why I wrote this article, originally published in Motor Age Magazine, about building a culture of training for your shop.

If you have any questions about training solutions for your auto repair shop, contact my team at 866.826.7911.

Read the article below, then browse the training solutions available through Auto Profit Masters.

Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every single day — a black turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers. He was in good company; many successful people, including Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein, chose to wear the same clothes every day as well. Why? They had more important things to worry about than clothes. You’re no different.

I’m not talking about clothing, of course. For most people, what they wear each day isn’t a taxing decision. But, just like those innovators, when you can get rid of micromanaging, chaos, and stress, you can spend more time concentrating on more important things like growing your shop, which means you need a team that is empowered to make the right decisions.

Every one of your employees must know exactly what they’re responsible for, have the tools and training to hit their target, and know where they stand in hitting those goals every day.

In other words, you need a shop culture that prioritizes training — not one class or one day or training only for new hires. I mean ongoing training for the entire team.

Why should you prioritize training?

Because until you do, you’re trapped. You’re stuck working in the business instead of growing it. Consider marketing. What’s the key to get the most out of your marketing dollars? Delivering on what your advertising promises!

If your advertising promises superior customer service, then your customers will come to your shop expecting a great experience. But if your service advisors aren’t delivering on that promise, then you risk burning and losing every new customer your advertising brings through the door.

How can you make sure that everyone on the team is delivering on every promise with every customer, every time? You can do that by breathing down their neck every day. You can look over their shoulders to make sure they perform thorough inspections, advise the customer properly and don’t make any mistakes. You can micromanage or do everything yourself.

Or you can free yourself from that burden by making sure your team is empowered through training to deliver on those promises.

In other words, you need a team that understands your expectations, knows what to do and has the authority to do it.

Through training you can ensure that your employees have the knowledge and tools they need to make the right decisions — not only for one issue, but for every aspect of their job, their responsibilities, and the shop.

Training your employees may require more time up front, but it frees you from the time, demand, and stress of controlling every aspect of your shop yourself.

How do you make time for training?

Training isn’t optional in our shop; it is required. Every time I hire a new employee, they spend two full weeks in training before they even get to touch the cars or the phones.

It’s not that I don’t trust them. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have hired them in the first place. But their role is about more than ability to perform the job. They have to learn the processes in our shop. They have to learn how we answer the phones. They have to understand how we treat our customers.

One of our clients once told me, “I cannot find an employee worth a darn.” When I asked about his training process, he said, “Any qualified employee should know how to do their job without me having to show him.”

When an owner doesn’t take the time to train employees, teach them the shop’s policies and procedures, and explain their benchmarks and how to hit them, they cannot expect the employee to meet their expectations.

Many owners will tell you it’s hard to find good techs, but it’s downright impossible to find a psychic one.

Training should be the FIRST requirement for EVERY employee. In order to exceed expectations, the employee first needs to understand what those expectations are.

Success — for both the employees and for the entire shop — is about more than the ability to fix a car. Sustainable success for both employees and the shop comes when the whole shop is committed to a culture of training. You need a team that can work together with clear expectations and responsibilities and that has the empowerment to deliver on them. Everyone on the team should be able and incentivized to make decisions that benefit the entire shop.

Build a culture of training

Training is not a one-time solution. It requires ongoing commitment and follow through in order to be effective.

For our shop and our clients’ shops, we use a three step process. First, measurement. You don’t know what you don’t know. By paying attention to the key metrics in your shop and tracking them every day, you can identify trends and spot problems — and then correct them that day.

Second, training. Once the measurement shows an area of weakness, you can implement the right training to fix that specific issue. You can identify where a specific employee is struggling and provide the training and tools they need to improve. In the best case scenario, they can see everything for themselves, know exactly where they stand, and be proactive about training. They can seek out the resources they need when they need them.

Third, accountability. Instead of implementing a training program and hoping for the best, it’s important to follow through. After you empower an employee and give them the tools and training to hit a benchmark, you need to hold them accountable.

Training is what allows you to set clear expectations for your employees, communicate a clear set of processes for your shop, and hold employees accountable to those policies.

Training is about more than techs staying up to date on new technologies. It’s about the owner and service writers committing to constant training, too. Building a culture of success doesn’t happen overnight, but it is the only way to create sustainable success. It’s the only way to get freedom for the owner from constant micromanagement and stress and chaos.

Incorporating training should be your top priority to set yourself, your shop, and your employees up for success.

Once you understand this critical factor, it’s no longer a matter of “making time” for training because it is the most important thing you can do with your time.

– This article was originally published April 2017 in Motor Age Magazine and on SearchAutoParts.com