Could You Use a Manual to Diagnose and Maintain Your Team Culture?

Monday, October 24, 2022

Could You Use A Manual to Diagnose and Maintain Your Team Culture?

By Tara Topel, co-owner, Topel’s Service Center, Lake Mills, WI, and 2021 Women in Auto Care Female Shop Owner of the Year

Tara Topel

Is your workplace culture misfiring? Does your team need a tune-up? It is no secret that there is a massive shortage of technicians in the auto industry, and according to Wrenchway, by 2024, there will be a shortage of approximately 642,000 technicians (automotive, diesel and collision) in the industry.

According to CNBC, here’s why: 

  • low pay 
  • lack of a clearly defined career path, and 
  • a generational shift away from jobs in the trades

In recent studies, 88% of job seekers say that a healthy culture at work is vital for success. 

Sample Culture Inspection Sheet

Before you go posting want ads and spending your hard earned dollars on hiring services, stop and diagnose your current culture situation. It will take some time and discipline. Once you do, determine your repair path and make the necessary fixes. It will ensure your best ROI on ads and services once you do.

Just like the vehicles you service, once operating efficiently, your team culture is easier to maintain than it is to repair. 

  • CONCERN – Scan your current organization and look for any concerns you have in the areas listed on the chart on the left. Add any components you believe in.
  • CAUSE – Determining the potential causes can be the most difficult part of the culture repair process. Sometimes it is an individual within your organization, and many times that person is YOU! Once you gather the data and determine the cause, you are well on your way to the solution. You may have to perform several tests and procedures to get to your repair plan. It is worth the effort.
  • CORRECTION – Once you have determined your repair path, get your plan in motion and hold others on your team accountable for adhering to your new and improved culture. It can take time and patience. Just remember, it’s about the torque, not just the horsepower. Culture is not just one team member’s job. It can start on any level. Leaders must set examples and reward positive behaviors.
  • CONFIRM – What fixed it (and is it fixed)? Ask for feedback from your team. Make sure they are telling you the truth. The higher up the chain you get, the more people will tell you what they think you want to hear. 
  • MAINTAIN – Once you are getting the performance you were hoping for, be sure to perform regular inspections. Time has a way of allowing old habits to creep back in. It is crucial to educate new team members about your team culture and how they can be part of it as part of onboarding. And remember, your most effective recruiter is a loyal team member!
The late Bob Greenwood was an advocate for elevating the industry as he spoke often of “The New Automotive Aftermarket.” To this day, I continue to look to his support, his teaching, his coaching, and his wisdom.

Culture Tool Box (Resources to Learn More)

Oct. 24, 2022