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Human Resources 101 for workshops

By autotech-nath on July 23, 2023

Within a series of articles, Human Resources expert Julia Crawford from People Pillar provides practical advice on all things people related – here, she explains how to retain and develop your staff.

Retaining and developing your staff is crucial, regardless of the size of your team. Keeping everyone happy and motivated can be a challenge, as even minor changes can disrupt the balance of your business, leading to devastating consequences. Once you have an unmotivated team or individual, it can be very difficult to turn things around. Even just one employee, who isn’t enjoying their role, or working for you, could impact everyone.

What does that mean for you and your business? For you, this means loss of productivity, spending time on conflict resolution, and a far higher turnover of staff than is necessary. That’s before the cost of recruitment. We have some questions to start you thinking about whether your business is a great place to work:

1. What is your Happiness Level?

On a scale of 1 to 10, honestly assess the happiness levels within your business. Understanding this baseline is essential for initiating improvements and developing a strong, motivated, and productive team.

2. What do you need to do to increase your Happiness Level?

The higher your level, the more likely you will have developed a strong, motivated, and productive team of individuals, who are committed to your business and their growth within it.

Whatever your level, there’s always room for improvement. Putting in some work now could mean your business sees a real surge in motivation, and inspiration, over the weeks and months to come.

Often, it’s the getting started bit that’s the biggest hurdle, so we’ve put together a list of the 7 key areas to look at. They will help you to make positive changes for you and your team:

1. Share your visions and goals

You know where you want your business to go, but do those who work with you? It may be that you are happy with how you are, your business is at the optimum size, or maybe you aspire to have more locations, or increase workload and staff. If your staff know where you are going, they are more likely to go on the journey with you, working towards the same goal.

Speaking to everyone together regularly means that everyone gets the same message. You don’t have to make it a dull on- site meeting, it may be that you down tools and have a cuppa, or why not order in a pizza? Keeping everyone involved with the progress will mean you also need to regularly set clear, measurable goals for your people. It’s important that your employees know why these goals are being set.

How will this help your business get to where it’s going, faster? Take time to speak to all your staff on a 1:1 basis. We’re not suggesting weekly, but every month or so. You might be surprised what you learn. That quiet team member who does a great job day in day out, might just aspire to develop their skills further, but they’ve not had an opportunity to talk to you about it. This makes sure your employees feel included and valued, and they don’t head off in the direction of your competitors. Again, this can be done quite informally.

2. Communicate

Everything revolves around communication, but it’s so important. It’s not all about one-way communication from you telling your employees what they need to do. You must do something really important too, which is listen! You also need to be approachable. Are you? Do your employees know that they can come to you for advice and to give feedback, or if there is a problem?

3. Cohesion

We don’t need to tell you that a well-oiled machine works better than one without any! By encouraging and promoting teamwork, it will in turn boost productivity. This brings with it stronger relationships between employees and a fully engaged team.

4. A healthy working environment

Having a safe and healthy workplace is essential, especially when there is large machinery or tools in use. It can often be noisy and hot. How do you tackle that? For example, do you have a water cooler? Is it easy for an employee to step away from what they are doing, if they need to? What’s the lighting like? We know we are asking lots of questions, but it’s all these sorts of things that you need to consider, so that your employees have the best possible working environment.

5. Offer regular feedback and reward

When was the last time you told one of your employees they had done a good job? Was it just ‘good job!’ or did you take the time to explain why? For example, did their actions offer great customer service? Did they spot something that was wrong, or needed doing?

Praise costs nothing but is priceless to your employees. It’s also great for motivation, but what if something goes wrong? Don’t voice your anger or despair in front of your team. Take them
to one side and stay calm. After all, if there has been a mistake made or an issue, you want them to know that they can come to you with it, and you can discuss the solutions together, rather than things being kept from you or covered up.

6. Opportunities for development

You don’t want to spend time and money training someone, investing in their career development and skills, only for them to leave you and move on, taking those skills to your competitor. You’ll no doubt have some staff that are just happy doing what they are doing every day, but there will be others who are more ambitious, who would like to take on more responsibility, or undertake additional training and development, which benefits both you and them. This is something that will come out naturally in your regular 1:1’s.

7. Offer more than just a good salary

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our work lives will never be quite the same again. In your line of work, its often impossible to work at home or flexibly. But there are other things you can do, as well as offer a good salary and opportunities for growth and development, which we have already spoken about.

There are many perks-based apps around, you could subsidise gym membership, wellness programmes, health insurance, or additional help on top of Government subsidies for childcare. It could even be as simple as a day off for their birthday. It’s all about making your employees feel appreciated and show that they matter to you and your business. At the end of the day, when you look at the different types of perks, they also benefit you by helping with attendance and wellbeing for your employees.

If you want to retain and develop your staff, you need to put the work in, both time wise and financially (although it doesn’t need to cost much). The returns will be great. You will have a happy, motivated workforce. This not only makes it a great place to work, but also a great place for your clients to visit. The knock-on effect of this is that your referrals and recommendations will also grow.

You will have a business that your competitors aspire to be like, and potential employees will want to work for you because they have heard about your reputation and that you put your employees first. What could be better than that?

If you would like to talk further about the above, or find out more about how People Pillar can help your business with HR, please do get in touch.

01303 769700



About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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