June '18

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86 • RV PRO • June 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S no sense of the way they are to fit into and support the mission and goals of the company. Employers miss the opportunity to mold new employees at the precise moment when they are the most mal- leable and compliant. Onboarding and integration are simple enough, but fre- quently they are not accomplished. In prior columns, I've talked about the importance of the company culture and how the mindset matters. Left to chance, all your employees develop their own mindset. When someone first comes onboard is an ideal time to shape the future atti- tudes and performance. It's a great way to establish and perpetuate the way your organization does business. It will set you apart from the competition. Think about it: A new hire naturally wants to make a good impression. Why leave the picture of a good impression as unclear or undefined? Doing so only encourages employees to bring forth a mixture of their own desires, expectations and experience. Chances are great that those will not exactly match with your company's. There are several easy steps you can take to gain a new hire's adoption into the company culture. Most of them don't involve more than time and min- imal expense. There's an axiom that says for every minute you spend in planning, you save 10 in execution. I believe that's also true for this topic. Here's a short list: • Appoint someone as the new hire's "mentor" • Be certain to furnish written copies of the company's mission/ vision statements. • Give a short talk on ethics and furnish a copy of the company's Code of Conduct. • Let them "shadow" another employee. • Give them a handbook of the processes they will need to know. • Have them observe a PDI and a couple of unit deliveries. • Give them a written training plan for them to work on and check off over the next few months or years. • Show them the path for advance- ment from their starting position. Being Part of Something Bigger There's another point I want to be certain you understand: We all want to be part of something. Something bigger and more important than we could be by ourselves. We need to be relevant. We want what we do and say to count for something. It's part of your culture, whether you see it or not. The question is this: Are you guiding the developments or simply letting them happen by chance? Let's talk a bit about training. We, in the RV industry, are blessed with an abundance of good, knowledgeable and enthusiastic trainers. I personally give credit to RVDA for the focus they have placed on education over the years. There isn't room to go into the merits and methods of the individual training and consulting firms available (or maybe I just feel odd promoting the competition). Low- or No-Cost Training Ideas There are some things that you can and should do that happen in the dealership and cost virtually nothing. Here's a bit of elaboration on that list I mentioned earlier. • Have all new hires (every posi- tion) observe the delivery of your product. You may want them to do both a towable and a motorized product. They will become familiar with the product, nomenclature, features, and cus- tomer's responses. And it's all free. Having a receptionist see that process helps them to understand the complexity of the product and from that point to under- stand why service writers may be involved in such detailed expla- nations. Having the recent hire in accounting watch a prep may help them explain to a neighbor how much the customers like a certain feature. • The same thing can be said for shadowing a pre-delivery inspec- tion. Also, if they see the care that's taken to be sure a product is deliv- ered in top-notch condition they will likely have a greater sense of pride and confidence in the shop's efforts to satisfy customers. • Have new hires shadow someone in a similar position. We learn in different ways. Seeing someone accomplish tasks in the proper way helps to establish a standard of performance as "routine" in the company cultures. If the position is one that is "downstream" or "upstream" from the new person's role, it will help them to see the bigger picture regarding how the work they do is important to someone else's success. • Give your new hire a "mentor." Introduce them to one of your better-performing and senior employees, who can answer ques- tions. Let them know they can count on the mentor for advice on any work questions they might have. This works especially well with a new tech in the shop. You may even consider giving that "mentor" tech a small monetary override on the new tech's performance. Money Isn't Everything In my last column, I mentioned that money isn't the only motivator to get someone to work for or stay with any given company. It ends up that two items are particularly significant: One is that the employee sees a route for personal advancement. The other is having a relationship with another employee at work. Those two, or the lack of them, seem to be keys to employee's happiness with their job and the longevity of their employment with a company. As a real-life example, there is a deal- ership that has a waiting list to become a tech. That's unheard of! But it's real and it's a result of the dealership culture. It's both fun and demanding to work there. Clear expectations are set. If you aren't a fit, you don't last in the performance-based cul- ture. But the reason I mention it is because they have the career path well-defined and clearly communicated. Starting on the Path to Advancement The idea is that a tech starts on the

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