How to Acknowledge and Recognize Employees in an Auto Repair Shop – Not Just Money

Jobs aren’t all about money! They are about connecting with the individual. 

That was the message Joe Marconi, Elite Business Development Coach & entrepreneur, shared at a recent AutoLeap webinar. Two themes, recognition and acknowledgment, should shape how you interact with employees at your auto repair shop. 

In this session, Marconi covered:

  • Base definitions of recognition and acknowledgment 
  • Why these values matter to employees 
  • How to recognize and acknowledge
  • What effect this approach will have on your shop

Let’s dive in! 

Defining recognition and acknowledgment

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Marconi describes acknowledgment as “appreciation for a person’s inherent value.” It is one of the core building blocks for healthy workplace culture in your shop.

“Everybody that works for you has some talent or skill of value they can bring to the organization. As shop owners, we have to tap into that. Find out what people are really good at,” says Marconi. 

He defines recognition as “giving people feedback based on performance or effort.” It’s important to recognize that your shop employees will sometimes stumble and make mistakes. That’s okay, and something you should accept. 

But don’t only focus on the negative and harp on issues. Provide constructive feedback. Most importantly, recognize your shop employees when they do good!

Fast facts on employee sentiment

Employee engagement is crucial for your auto repair business. Do your employees feel connected to the mission and vision of the company? Are they invested in the shop’s success? Will they go the extra mile? 

Industry data reveals employee engagement as an issue for many companies: 

  • Gallup’s poll indicated that only 36% of the average workforce feels engaged at work
  • Glassdoor surveys indicate that 53% of employees would stay at their job if their boss showed appreciation. 81% of surveyed employees state they are motivated by appreciation 
  • Harvard Business Review’s survey found that only 29% of employed respondents say they received recognition in the past year

“These are important stats to understand. You need to understand the employee’s perspective,” says Marconi. 

From these figures, it’s clear that money isn’t the motivator we think it is. “If you have a problem with your workforce and think throwing money at them will solve the problem, you won’t.” 

Of course, money is still important and a factor in why employees choose to stay or leave a business. But increasing pay doesn’t guarantee that qualified techs will remain employed at your shop. 

On the contrary, Marconi shares multiple examples of people he knows quitting their jobs and moving to other positions for less money. “Money alone won’t solve the problem. It’s everything we’re talking about here, acknowledgment and recognition. That’s what will keep people motivated and in your business.”

Run this exercise for yourself. Ask the employees at your shop what their true motivators are. Based on this data, many answers won’t start with salary. 

Why you should acknowledge & recognize employees

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The reasons for acknowledging and recognizing your employees are simple. Marconi says these thoughtful efforts: 

  • Send the right message 
  • Bring out the best in people 
  • Lead to employee engagement 
  • Promote honest feedback 
  • Improve workplace morale

People want to feel their work matters. If your employees feel engaged and bought in, they will go the extra mile for your company. Remember, the best football stadiums don’t deliver championships. You can have a state-of-the-art facility, but it’s your employees that help you win. 

To create this environment, encourage your employees to provide feedback. Do your techs not like a new process you installed? They should feel comfortable enough sharing those thoughts with you! 

“If you don’t have a healthy workplace, you don’t have a healthy company,” says Marconi. 

Ways to acknowledge and recognize employees

You understand the importance of recognition and acknowledgment. Now it’s time to implement these values in your daily interactions with shop employees. 

Here are some simple tips to get started: 

For check-ins, Marconi recommends visiting your techs out in the bays. Go where they are. See how they’re feeling. “By asking them what’s going on, you’re recognizing who they are and acknowledging their worth to the company.”

How everyone wins

So how does a shop that values recognition and acknowledgment perform? 

If you commit to these recommendations, Marconi says you can expect: 

Your company will no longer be limited to your strengths as a shop owner. This system creates take-home value, which will help you retain your employees. “People that feel secure in the workplace and what they do matters, they will think twice about looking over the fence for greener grass,” says Marconi. 

You can’t carry the entire shop on your back. That attitude will cause burnout and prevent you from bringing the shop together as a team. “If you are going to grow your business, it can’t be limited based solely on what you bring to the table.” 

Happy employees have a profound impact on your business as a whole. Improved customer satisfaction is another benefit of a shop focused on recognition and acknowledgment. “You can’t have happy customers without happy employees.”

Final recommendations

Ready to evolve how you interact with shop employees? Here are some final tips for this process: 

  • Become a better leader – communicate your goals and set the right tone 
  • Understand the needs of the individual 
  • Look for opportunities to praise & recognize 
  • Schedule one-on-ones with employees 
  • Enhance employee touch points and experience 
  • Work on the most important skill: your people skills

Use these webinar insights to create a unified shop where employees feel appreciated. 

Auto Repair Shop Management Software

AutoLeap is a powerful all-in-one auto repair shop software that helps to keep complete track of your business – from scheduling appointments to managing technicians and generating invoices.

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