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Two Quick Tips for Service Managers

Steve Hall
Written By: Steve Hall
Posted on May 14, 2015

It seems these days everyone is pressed for time and running in a million different directions. Because of this, your team can feel disconnected and often times alone in their jobs. They don’t get quality time with their supervisor and never get to really hear what is going on in the department or business as a whole. They have questions like, "Are we doing well or not?" and "Am I doing my job to your satisfaction?" or "Am I about to be the next ex-employee?" Most of the time employees don’t actually ask these questions; instead the questions just keep floating around in their minds.

It’s a shame when valued employees feel this way. After all, it doesn’t take a lot of information or interaction to quell these internal questions. With this in mind, I would like to give you two quick tips you can implement, with no added expense. These two items can help your employees feel more informed and secure in their jobs.

1. Monthly wrap-up and kick-off meetings

According to Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in the book First Break All the Rules, one of the key components to employee retention is ensuring the employee feels like they are part of the information stream within the business. One way to help your team feel included is to hold a monthly kick-off meeting.

On the first day of the month, bring your departmental team together for a quick three to five minute kick-off meeting. Think "pre-game speech" for a professional sports team. This meeting can be held right in the service department around the lifts and vehicles during normal business hours. Have the attendee’s stand, so the meeting stays short. For the wrap-up part of the meeting, let them know how the prior month finished up. Cover items like departmental gross profit, or shop hours versus objective, and be sure to cover CSI. Don’t forget to congratulate a few employees that had stellar performance!

For the kick-off portion, set goals for the month you're starting. Be sure to acknowledge upcoming employee anniversaries and milestones. Include anything that is upbeat and challenge your employees to reach the goals that are set. Giving just a couple minutes of your time, combined with the key information that is shared, will make the whole team feel like an integral part of the organization. This meeting costs nothing, but has a lot of value. By doing this you can bring the team together, and win together.

2. Coaching from the sidelines, not the locker room

I think that is worth restating. Do you coach from the sidelines or from the locker room? Let me explain what I mean. You would never see an NFL coach hanging out in the locker room while the game is being played. They are on the field, watching the action as it happens, and coaching everyone on the team to perform better.

Now, apply this to your service department. Game time for the service department is every morning from about 7:30 to about 9:00. Where are you during this time? Are you hanging out in your office running reports, answering e-mails, and reviewing numbers? That would be considered “in the locker room.” Shouldn't you be on the “sideline” watching the game and coaching the team while the action is happening? Absolutely.

Is there really anything more important to a leader than helping their team perform better? Wouldn’t this also help the employees better understand how they are performing their jobs? Keep this in mind each and every morning and spend the time directing your team, while the game is actually happening, and then perform the behind the scenes work during the non-peak times of the day.

Remember that your team moves at the speed in which you lead them, and to lead you must be in front of them. Don’t focus on the wrong items. Put your efforts into your people and unleash the power of the team.

Learn more from Steve Hall and the other NCM Institute instructors in the Service Management I, II, and III courses.

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