Letter From The President – December 2021

That went fast. 2021 is over. Many of you will (and should) look back at the year and be proud. Year two of the global pandemic is almost done and you SURVIVED! While 2021 was different than 2020, it had no fewer challenges. Be proud. You navigated inflation spikes, disruptive increases in technology, and massive labor shortages.

If you are like me, you lost some employees this year for a variety of different reasons. It caused a lot of stress in me and the rest of my team. I was worried about burn out of loyal employees who were stretched thin and giving their all to serve our customers.

As you look back on your performance of the last year and set your goals for the new year, there is one forecast I encourage you to spend some serious time on: how are you going to grow and train your staff in 2022?

We cannot control all the reasons an employee may choose to leave our business. However, we can control how we invest in our employees. Not every investment in people means hard dollars. Investments in time can often yield greater returns than dollars. Try breaking up the monotony for our general service and other entry level staff. Cross train them to do different jobs. Pair a general service with a master tech a couple of hours per week. Teach them to do maintenance items like flushes. Delegate some responsibility and teach someone how to count your inventory or prepare payroll. There are lots of tasks and functions that happen in our shops every week. You’ll be surprised how far a little change up and learning new skills will go for employee engagement.

As leaders of our businesses, we must have empathy for our team. Nobody wants to work a dead-end job. We are the coaches, and the coaches are responsible for developing the players. So, how will you invest in your people in 2022? Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Help a tech who is not a great test taker study for their ASE’s. Pay for the tests.
  • Send a tech to Hunter Alignment School
  • Send a GS to get their state inspection license.
  • Pay for leadership training for a manager.
  • Pay for a community college online or night class.
  • Send a service advisor to a sales class.

Your people will feel special when you invest in their growth. Send them a message that says, “You are valuable to my organization, and I want to help you grow.” When you do this, the law of reciprocity will kick in. Your employees will recognize that you have done something nice for them and they, in turn, will give back to you in terms of their engagement and effort.

With all the upheaval and changes the last two years, The tire and auto repair industry remains a people business. Our jobs cannot be offshored to China. Your community needs you to keep the teachers, police officers, healthcare workers, and moms and dads driving with safety and peace of mind. And your employees need you to coach and invest in their growth and development.

North Carolina’s most successful businessman, Jim Goodnight, Co-founder and CEO of SAS Institute says it best, “Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.”

I hope you had a great 2021 and wish you success in 2022. On behalf of the board of directors of the ASTA, I thank you for supporting the association. We are working hard to ensure there is great value in your membership. We look forward to partnering with you to learn and grow together in the new year.

Best regards,

Marc Pons

President, Chapel Hill Tire

President , ASTA