Oh, Where, Oh, Where Has All the Help Gone?

Monday, July 18, 2022

Oh, Where, OH, Where Has All the Help Gone?

By Rick White,  president, 180BIZ

Rick White

We’ve known this train has been coming for more than ten years, and it’s finally here. What train am I talking about? The technician and advisor shortage. What was once a pool of talent has become a puddle and a very small one at that. 

Couple the shortage with the archaic recruiting and hiring methods many shops are still using, and it’s easy to see why we’re where we are. With unemployment at 3.6%, as of this writing, the fact is that chasing people to hire them just plain doesn’t work anymore. 

The cherry on top of all this is that every shop owner is looking for that A-tech who can do anything and diagnose everything. Do you know what I call those techs? UNICORNS. Those mythical creatures of old that live in folklore and whimsical stories that we tell our children.

It used to be that you could go “somewhere,” like a newspaper, Indeed, or Craigslist, and you’d find a group of technicians with their hands up and saying, “I’m looking for work.” The quality technician or advisor you’re looking for today just isn’t there. The great techs and advisors are working, generally satisfied, and not looking for employment. This means they’re not going to the gathering spots they used to, which is why you’re not getting any quality responses.

You can try different passive ways of getting in front of them, like radio spots, webinars, and billboards (I’m not a fan of this one because most drivers are looking at their phones, not the road ahead of them, and certainly not at a billboard).

There’s a better way to attract quality help to your business. You can create a business that attracts them. You heard me … attracts them. Let’s look outside our industry for a moment. Do you think that Google or Apple run ads looking for help? No way! They’ve got people standing in line to work for them, and they’ve been doing it this way for years!

Today, I’d like to share with you the three key differences these types of businesses take advantage of to create quality people waiting in line. These differences were discovered in a study commissioned by Chik-fil-A with the help of Prophet, a global brand agency, and AON, a global leader in Human Resources, and they interviewed over 7,000 high achievers from all 50 states from ages of 14 – 65, including both professional and hourly workers across all educational backgrounds and here’s what they found. 

Top talent is looking for a Better Boss, a Brighter Future, and a Bigger Vision. Let’s go into each of these differences and how they can help you become THAT shop in your area.

  1. Better Boss – to say the pace at many shops is beyond chaotic would be an understatement. For those shops that aren’t as busy, the owner’s focus is on getting busier. In either scenario, improving the relationships you have with your team is not very high on your list. Today, team members are looking for a boss who cares for them, supports them, encourages them, challenges them, and creates a safe place for them to not only work but thrive. They also don’t work for anybody: they work with the owner. They don’t want a hierarchy and closed doors. They want to be heard. They want to collaborate. 
  2. Brighter Future – today’s top talent doesn’t want a job; they want a career. A place where they can be challenged. A place where they can grow and develop. A place that pushes them and a place that appreciates them. They want to see a path to their goal achievement
  3. Bigger Vision – Top talent doesn’t want to work all the time. They want balance. They don’t want to work at a shop whose only focus is on the all-mighty dollar. They’ve seen their parents chase their dream and see all the things they’ve missed out on, and they don’t want that for their families. They want to make a difference in the world. Money isn’t the driver it once was. Yes, they need to make a living, and they want to make a good one. But they’re not willing to sacrifice their family to do it. 

Once you’ve successfully implemented a different way of doing business and dealing with the team, you’ll find yourself creating raving fans in your workforce that will want to spread the word about what it’s like to work in your shop, and you’ll then be attracting the talent others keep wishing they had.

If you’d like to go deeper on this subject, I invite you to attend my class, Becoming a Talent Magnet, at AAPEX on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. in The Venetian Expo, Level 1, Training Room. There I will deep dive into each of these points, as well as how to get the word out about your shop. I look forward to seeing you there! 

Rick White is a business turnaround and exponential growth expert who helps auto repair shop owners go from struggling to stay open to being recognized as the go-to shops in their market. He helps business owners with average shops transform their shops into the shop of the year in the industry. 

Currently, Rick is President of 180BIZ, an auto repair shop training and business coaching company proudly serving the independent auto and truck repair shop owner since 2006. He has also owned multiple successful auto repair shops over the years. 

Rick has taught at some of the biggest conferences in the industry across North America, including classes at AAPEX (Nev.), VISION (Kan.), ASTE (N.C.), BIMRS, ATSE (N.Y.), ASA National, and AASP National. Beyond Associations, he has conducted training classes for WorldPac and BG. He has been published many times over the years for publications like Automotive Management Network, Aftermarket Weekly, Ratchet and Wrench, Motor Age, and Autobody News. 

July 18, 2022