13 Jul 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Finest worksong

I’ve been thinking about staff recently. No, not the lot I have now, they all seem quite content and I have no particular issues with them, apart from their radio station choices sometimes. No, I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I did need to replace one of them, or even a few at the same time.

It has been a deeply weird couple of years. For some months, more or less, me and the boys only saw each other, family aside. This made for a good team vibe, but it could have gone the other way. I know a lot of businesses are having trouble filling vacancies, and keeping staff.

Maybe it is something we as business owners are not best placed to actually understand. After all, everything that goes on inside these four walls constitutes my life’s work…yes and yours too dear…sorry, Mrs P has a habit of listening to me as I write these, and she wanted it said that she has put as much effort in as me…yes, possibly more even…

It has also been suggested to me that if I didn’t murmur what I am writing, as I write it, that I might keep the thread of what I am trying to say…if I am trying to say anything at all…Well, there’s no need to be rude!

Anyway, when you own and run a business, it is your whole world. This means that staff disengagement can be really confusing. For us, there is  nowhere else to go. As an employee, when suddenly faced with something like the pandemic, you might come to the conclusion that there is more to life than Parkit Motors. I know, it’s crazy, but people have other dreams. 

What this means for us is that we have to work with our minions, and realise they may want to do more than what we are giving them. After all of this, if you want to stem the draining, talk to them, work with them and see what they can offer. I’ve actually started to get the guys to tell me what they would do differently. Some of this has related to workflow in the garage, and some of it has been focused on communication with the outside world. Obviously, there are all sorts of social media avenues I wouldn’t know about. The ones I do know about tend to be the province of us older types. After all, Facebook became mainstream, I am told, in 2007. That’s 15 years ago now, shockingly. Do you know what was 15 years before that? 1992. No social media then, unless you count the lonely hearts ads in the local newspaper. I was shown some of the dating websites my young people use these days. Crikey, some of what goes on there would have belonged in a different sort of publication back in the early 1990s. One housed on the top shelf at the newsagent. Yes…

In short, I’ve been learning a lot, and fortunately much of it is useful for the business. My staff feel more valued, and best of all, I somehow managed to negotiate control of the radio dial until the end of the month. Of course, it helps that when I was hammering out this arrangement with the team, it became increasingly apparent they didn’t know what a dial actually is. Sweet music to my ears!