5 Ways To Increase Employee Retention In Your Mechanic Shop


Good Mechanics are hard to find, ok that is a bit of an understatement. Hiring good mechanics is near impossible in some markets. Trust me, I have been recruiting mechanics for over 10 years and the battle for talent has only gotten worse. There are more mechanic jobs than ever and less qualified mechanics to fill the spots.

As a recruiter, my success comes from finding good mechanics who are open to making a move. Very few good mechanics are actively looking for a new job but most will listen when a new role is presented to them, especially if it sounds like a better fit for them.

My job then becomes finding out what a technicians biggest problem is with their current employer and then finding them a new opportunity that solves that problem. I will let you in on a little secret, money is usually not their biggest problem. It makes the top 5 but is number 5. Below are the top 5 reasons why a mechanic might leave, solve these problems and you solve your retention issues. If you fail to solve these issues then you risk your mechanic getting recruited out.

If you currently have openings for mechanics (Diesel Mechanics, Heavy Equipment, Automotive etc.) and you need help filling them give us a call at 1-833-762-5787 or visit www.rockstarmechanics.com to see how we can help.

1. Get Rid of Your Whiners, Slackers and Pranksters

One of the biggest complaints that I get from Mechanics looking to leave is that they can’t stand their co-workers. It is usually not all of them, it is typically 1 or 2 guys in the shop that bring everyone else down. The issues are typically with one of 3 types of employees.

The Whiners – These are the guys that are constantly complaining. They will always find something to whinge about, usually the boss or the company in general. These guys are not only annoying but they also make the rest of your employees start thinking the grass might be greener elsewhere. This attitude can spread through the shop like a cancer, get rid of the whiners before they take over.

The Slackers – Unless you are in a flat rate shop the Slackers can cause a great deal of frustration with everyone else. If you have someone not pulling their weight it makes everyone else feel like they shouldn’t bother either. Why should they have to stay late when they worked hard all day and someone else was just taking up space. If you tolerate slackers in your shop your other techs will not only resent the slackers but will also start to resent you and may look for greener pastures.

The Pranksters – Every shop has them, at best they are annoying and at worse they are dangerous. 2 stories from mechanics I have helped find new homes. 

1) This one was more annoying than anything else. They had a guy in the shop who thought it was hilarious to tear off people’s pockets. You don’t realize how often you use that breast pocket until some jerk yanks it off.

2) This one was dangerous. Walking around a corner a mechanic got blasted by another mechanic that was waiting for him with a fire hose. This ended up causing damage to his eye that he needed surgery to fix. He was off work for several months and when he came back to work he saw that the other tech was still employed. He immediately handed in his notice. Safety violations can not be tolerated.

The hardest thing here is that a lot of times your most skilled mechanics might fall into one of these categories and it can be really tough to let them go. Sit them down, have an honest conversation with them and if the behaviour does not correct they need to be terminated. Otherwise you will risk having others leave.  

2. Invest in Training

Your best mechanics got into the trade because they love tinkering and figuring out how things work. If you leave a tech to work on the same stuff everyday they will get bored and move on. Keep them interested by sending them for training and then letting them work on new jobs. A lack of training is often cited as a reason for making a move. Techs want to be challenged and want to stay up to date. The trade changes too fast that if a tech is not getting updated training regularly they know they will fall behind. 

Investing in training also helps your customers as your techs are now capable of handling more and may also learn better ways to do things. Training can be expensive but it pays off. Technicians treat new certifications like badges of honour and often brag about them.

3. Equip Your Shop

Working conditions are a huge factor of any job, especially for mechanics. A well equipped shop can make any mechanic shine, a poorly equipped shop can make even the best mechanics average. You need diagnostic software, hoists and specialty tools.

I worked with one tech years ago who refused to take a job because during the interview he realized that the shop only had 3 air lines for 10 technicians. Sharing a line was of no interest to him so he turned down the job.

4. Train Your Foreman/Managers

A relationship between a tech and their supervisor and manager is one of the most important. Most foreman and managers were once techs and have moved into management but were never given any training. There is more to running a shop then knowing how to wrench. Your manager needs to know how to manage their techs so they don’t run away. Send your foreman and managers for training on how to manage employees. They need to be there for their techs, have their backs and provide guidance.

5. Pay Them Right!

Techs talk, when they are out grabbing a drink with their other tech buddies you better believe that money is going to come up and if your tech finds out that he is getting paid significantly less than his buddies then he is going to start looking to leave. On the opposite side of that if his friends find out they are getting underpaid then they are going to want to join you. Paying techs right helps retain as well as attract. 

Don’t pay them so much that it hurts your bottom line but make sure you pay them enough to stay.

I hope these tips help. If you need to get rid of some problem employees but don’t want to be left down a tech give us a call (1-833-762-5787) we can get a confidential search started to replace your headache mechanics with Rockstars. Visit www.rockstarmechanics.com for more info.

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2 thoughts on “5 Ways To Increase Employee Retention In Your Mechanic Shop”

  1. Great article! As a Heavy Equipment Technician for over a decade and superior for sum I believe the nail was hit on the head on this one. Money is a great motivator to get you in the door and on the job, but high quality Technicians have pride in there work. That is why they are the elite. Things like training, modern tooling, and being apart of a quality driven team are what make a guy looking forward to his everyday.
    Looking forward to the next article!

  2. Pingback: Tips To Avoid Rejected Job Offers - A Guide For Recruiting Mechanics | Rockstar Mechanics

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