Worker Shortage - Why collision repair companies are struggling
Including what you can do about it.
The great resignation, quiet quitting and the lack of workforce are all affecting the collision repair market.
With a mix of employees wanting to continue working from home, bosses are requesting they return to the shop. This divide of workforce stems from the pandemic and how everyone got used to working from home. Body shop owners are no exception, with workers requiring to be in the shop fixing panels – now may be a turning point for the demand of this industry.
MSOs (Multi Shop Operators) were asked about the market. They mentioned all repair shops could do with a few extra skilled workers to cope with demand. As California and New York pose a real issue in finding the right employees.
Which means getting your current team onboard with your values and mission is vital at this stage. Here are some important steps to ensure they stay at your firm.
Involve Employees in Decisions
During the pandemic, the key managers and owners needed to have more efficiency in their decision-making processes. They ignored the views of members of the team including technicians and head painters. For a better job satisfaction and long-term engagement from employees, it’s best to re-introduce them in the decision processes.
Begin by including employees that do not form part of the management team. Ones who are directly involved with the everyday work to be involved in decisions.
A survey from body shop owners said that the interaction between employees improved during the pandemic. As it was necessary to make the collision repair business function. With Zoom calls taking over face-to-face interactions, it was now normal to get messages across to staff whilst also being effective. However, despite this pivot to a virtual meeting world, collision repair shops cannot fix cars remotely.
Communicate With Employees
Those who have been forced to come back into the shop, as it is part of their day job, are seeing their families less and spending more time commuting. This needs to be carefully managed to help them get back to speed with how they function in the workplace.
The other side of the coin shows body shop owners that didn’t communicate effectively during the pandemic. Their employees then were stressed out because of lack of direction and guidance were results of miscommunicating to staff during meetings. This led to employees quitting, taking retirement and even in some cases selling their shops.
Establishing a great partnership with your employees is now beneficial as you need to keep them onboard. Because now we are mostly back to normal, employees may start looking elsewhere due to the increase in job openings across the US.
Reduce Staff Turnover
Employees that feel part of a team and allowed to offer suggestions result in more satisfaction. With a high turnover comes lack of commitment and suggests something is up at your body shop. Having a bad reputation in the area is not good either, as new employees will be dissuaded from applying for openings. If a technician is happy, and you need new employees, they will likely recommend and encourage friends and family to join the body shop.
September 2021 saw a loss of 865,000 women from US workforce. This figure is over four times that of men quitting. Therefore, keeping your female workforce is vital with the risk of them moving to different roles, or quitting altogether.
Get Millennials Involved
Now millennials are a big part of society, they want to see diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Make sure they are heard in discussions, no matter what their experience. If they have more responsibility and exposure to big decisions, they feel rewarded and included in the workplace.
Do make sure to reduce the meeting lengths for younger employees and adapt to their style of offering improvements to the collision repair center.
With a new chapter in our everyday life, the economy and our workforce, a new way of thinking is needed. As there are a lack of workers joining the collision repair sector something needs to be done to address this. Those who do not adapt face the consequences of low demand for employees and a lot of turnover. Which heavily impacts repair shops profits. Following the advice in this article could go a long way in tidying up your business.
Some aspects never change though. Keeping your workforce happy should always be a priority. Along with effective communication, low stress environments and noticing changes to the behavior of your workforce to improve satisfaction.