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Finding and training lube employees

October 11, 2010
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As operators and managers of a lube facility, the demand for finding employees is high, turnover can be frequent and there are time pressures to fill positions as quickly as possible.

Soon after hiring, operators get involved in the day to day workings of the business and training and ongoing development often suffer.

You cannot have satisfied, loyal customers without satisfied loyal employees.

The right environment

There is an important formula to follow when creating an optimal work environment.

Although some of these things may already be in place in your organization, the key is to drive all of them in order to maximize performance.

Development: Build confidence, motivation and growth through learning.

There is nothing more meaningful for your employees than taking the time to develop and expand their horizons.

Compensation: Reward performance — establish an incentive plan that is generous to those who perform.

Make it consistent, simple, measurable, and fair; your highest paid employees are your best value.

Communication: The ultimate goal of any communication is to create action.

Employees will have a lot more confidence if they understand the why behind it. For managers to be effective communicators they have to keep it positive, simple, and consistent.

Opportunities: Employees need to know that opportunities exist in the areas of financial and personal growth.

Awareness of these opportunities and a path that shows employees how to get there can be what motivates them to succeed.

Support: Employees need to see you as willing to help in any way you can.

By taking responsibility when things go wrong, facing challenges, helping with solutions, listening, encouraging and believing in them, they will feel supported.

Recognition: Employees need to know they make a difference. It can impact their self-image, which will make them feel more confident with customers and it can motivate them to perform at a higher level.

Recognition can be verbal or written, formal or informal. It should be consistent, positive and appropriate.

Input: Anyone who is affected by a decision needs to be given the opportunity to be involved in it. Those affected by the decision usually have the best ideas.

If you get your people involved, they will take more ownership and be more likely to support the decision and carry out an action.

Respect/trust: A relationship of mutual trust and respect between management and lube employees has a tremendous impact on morale, confidence, and performance.

When mutual trust and respect exist, a true team atmosphere can be achieved. It is important to be consistent to your word; be honest, straightforward, and deliver on all promises and commitments.

How to find the right fit

In any position at your lube center, it is important to find a candidate who has the traits to be successful.

A business can have the most successful environment, but if the person they hire does not have the potential or the desire, it is more difficult for them to succeed.

Source and selection also play key roles in finding the right fit. It is important to not wait until people come to you. Actively looking for applicants helps ensure you spend the time and energy placing that right person.

The right ad will make that easy. Knowing what you need to accomplish with the ad will ensure an ad that helps attract professional sales people.

When placing an ad, invest in a 1/4 page ad and consider utilizing Internet sites as well. The posting should be for a professional sales position and selection should include a plan to accept applicants, three levels of interviews and a defined follow up.

Expectations and training

The company should provide training to help employees find success at their job. That success needs to be defined by educating employees on the standards and goals of performance for their position.

They need to be able to measure their performance against the standard.

Once standards are established, it is the management’s responsibility to provide training required to enable employees to meet the standards.

It is demoralizing to give employees a specific goal that would not be obtainable without proper training.

Formal reviews should be completed on a consistent basis, and monitoring the service results and personal observations you make during coaching will help you determine ongoing training needs.

What motivates?

Motivation keeps employees trying day after day. What motivates people to be successful at their job? Money, ego and accountability.

One, two, or all three of these things are at the core of anyone’s motivation. People may be motivated by all three, but at different levels.

An incentive program that pays employees on their individual performance takes care of motivation by money.

Satisfying their egos can be accomplished by recognizing performance in different ways. Posting results, giving recognition as the good deed occurs and reviewing numbers and goals are examples of motivating by ego.

Making employees accountable to meet minimum performance standards will keep results consistent. Employees will continually strive to exceed them and incapable employees will be quickly identified.

While training is important, the right environment, with the right fit, and doing the right action ensures your lube center is on the way to a successful training program.

As Joe Paterno, a coach at Penn State for 35 years says "All teams want to win on Saturday. The ones who do are the ones who also wanted to win on Monday."

The teams/employees who want to do the work year round and not just every now and then are those who will reach their potential.

Anything less is short changing the customer, the employee and the organization.

Carole Wade is a senior account manager for the Khoury Group, Orlando, FL, which works with businesses to improve average yield per ticket, customer service, and decrease turnover through training and development. For more information email Carole at