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AYES a prime tool for dealers to recruit, retain technicians

November 22, 2010
Proper staffing of the service department is essential to the financial health of any dealership and represents the backbone of any new-car franchise. If finding a winning team poses a challenge, keeping them can represent another challenge. Have you designed a pay plan that is going to get the most out of your technicians? In "Recruiting and Retaining Technicians," a workshop presented at the NADA's 2004 Convention and Exposition, presenters suggested structuring a plan based not on hours worked but on technician proficiency. Such a plan encourages techs to seek training and other information to bolster their skills. Their growth, and your encouragement, makes for a happy and fulfilling workplace. Service departments aren't what they used to be. The average automobile today contains more electronic equipment than the Apollo spacecraft that first traveled to the Moon. Technicians should be treated with the respect that such expertise deserves. Money talks, but Bob Atwood, one of the workshop presenters and an NADA Dealer Academy instructor, said the top motivator for a technician is the respect shown by superiors. The pools of prospective employees from which to recruit are numerous. One of the most beneficial, both to your dealership and the community, is the Automotive Youth Educational Systems program. AYES provides a line of communication with local schools, which can educate youth about post-graduation opportunities at dealerships. More important is the relationship that can be created with young, eager students who would learn under the dealership's manufacturer-certified technicians. According to a 2001 Wirthlin Study done for an ART task force, 45 percent of high school students decide on a career in their junior or senior years. For more information on NADA workshop programs or the Dealer Candidate Academy, call 800-252-6232. For more information on the AYES program, call Jim Butcher at the CATA at 630-424-6020, or see the Web site,