By louis
Published: May 9, 2007

Some observations on employees: Most employee problems are actually management problems. I have found good officers donít have poor troops.

1. The most important thing in employees, or anyone else is character, second comes attitude and skill. Skills can be learned/improved, attitude is generally a function of the way a person is treated. There is no substitute for character, but it is extremely hard to judge except in time.

2. Rules are largely unnecessary when you hire reputable people. The FEW rules you have should be firmly and fairly enforced every time, and apply equally to management.

3. Expect the best of everyone and lead by example. Be on time in the morning and do not take privileges you do not offer to others.

4. Pay people as much as you can afford, good people go where they are rewarded, but realize pay is not enough. People also want to be a part of an operation they can be proud to work at. A place where they and customers are respected.

5. Allow zero theft, not from the shop, other employees, or customers. Theft shows a lack of character and if you cannot trust a person not to steal, how can you trust them to repair customer vehicles.

6. Do not rate, rank or quantify employees. Most people are capable of superior performance when properly supplied with accurate equipment, a comfortable work place, quality parts and vehicles that are capable of being repaired. If a person lags behind the group find the reason and correct it. If he is not capable, and cannot be improved, let him go, quickly. It is not fair to others to have people that are not capable.

7. Do not try to analyze people, be courteous and respectful to everyone and tolerate nothing less from them. Friendship is precious and results from trust. I would hate to think I have guys that have worked for me for fifteen years and I would not be their friend. Laugh together, cry together, and enjoy working together.

8. Maintain regular business hours and do not expect people to work beyond them unless they wish to.

9. Train every employee to be self sufficient. Any person not capable of realizing his own goals in life is likely not capable of helping you realize yours. Assist anyone wishing to open his own shop, self employment is the American Dream. Give advise, sell him equipment you no longer need, a good competitor is a blessing. You can refer work to him and him to you as volume exceeds capability.

10. Donít judge a person by their appearance or possessions. Many very talented people, including myself donít really care what others think and are not hung up with the need to impress others with material possessions.

11. All training is valuable. Encourage techs to take classes on outside interest, broadened horizons are in everyoneís best interest. Pay for all training in full, pay techs for all time spent in training and allow them time off to take training.

12. Convince techs that salary is in their best interest and that you are not trying to cheat them. Average two year previous W2 forms and add 10%. Donít wait until they ask for a raise, monitor performance and give regular raises for increased quality of work.

13. Employees are each unique and different individuals. Take advantage of their talents, remove the things that de-motivate them, make their job more comfortable. Air condition the shop and heat it properly in the Winter. Hire porters to keep the shop spotless, and supply them with the best equipment available.

14. Treat employees as you would expect to be treated.

15. Listen to employees, you might be surprised at how much they know. You have two ears and one mouth, use them accordingly.

16. Discuss ideas and concepts with employees. Great minds discuss concepts, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss other people. It is staggering how management under utilizes the intellect of employees.

17. Cross train people so when people get promoted or leave you have backups. Treat employees fairly and respectfully so they donít mind giving notice before leaving and helping with training replacements.

18. Give employees time, money and authority to modify their areas as needed to maximize production and comfort.

19. Growth is not the answer to everything. Find a size that you are comfortable with and maintain it. A graveyard gets bigger, it just doesnít get any better. Work at continual improvement for everyoneís benefit. If better is possible, good is not good enough.

The goal is happiness, and not just for the owner at the expense of everyone else. There are many stakeholders in a business, the employees, the customers, the community and others. Strive for joy in work, have fun everyday, enjoy the people you work with and for and NEVER consider retirement. Work as long as you can, at what you love, be the best and help others do the same.

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