10 Proven Ways to Keep Your Repair Shop Employees Happy

by Amara Zulfiqar

In one of our previous articles on tips to improve your repair shop sales figures, we discussed the positive impact of happy employees on your business. But to keep your employees happy, you need to recognize their sources of motivation. Getting the RepairDesk cellphone repair shop software is one way but read on to know more.

Did you know that 79% of employees prefer additional employee benefits over a pay raise?

Understanding your employees’ source of motivation will help you incentivize them. While money is an excellent motivator, there are many other sources of motivation, e.g. knowing expectations, getting constructive feedback, having a good work environment, knowing avenues of professional growth, and more.

So, letting you in on secrets shared by some successful repair shop owners, we give you 10 ways you can motivate your employees, retain them and keep growing your business.

  1. Give Monetary Incentive


Monetary incentives are a great way to motivate your employees. The employees will work harder and the resultant monetary reward will make them feel appreciated.

However, it is important that any monetary incentive can be objectively measured. This will avoid any confusion.

For instance, Andrew Mourer of YCD Electronics financially motivates his employees in multiple ways. He pays commission over the hourly payment and he offers specific bonuses on selling less popular inventory. This helps his staff remain motivated and work harder to achieve the business goals.

“We offer hourly plus commission, so the commission definitely incentivizes them. And then I’ll look at our metrics on Repair Desk [cellphone repair shop software] and see what products aren’t really selling through, and then we’ll offer bonuses.  I can go and say, well, you know what, now we’re going to give $5 on every one of these items every time you sell one. It puts a little fire up under them. And it always works.”

You can also offer employee discounts. For instance, if your employer wants to buy a device or get a device repaired, they should get 15% or 20% off. With employee discounts, the repair shop owner does not have to pay anything from the pocket and simultaneously, improve employee retention.

  1. Empathize


Empathy is perhaps one of the most underrated traits. However, an empathetic work environment is conducive to improvement in employee engagement, retention rates and employee satisfaction.

To create an empathetic environment, show compassion to your employees and understand the different backgrounds that they come from. Moreover, use cultural context to analyze certain behaviors. This will help you improve employee attitudes.

Showing empathy also helps you become a more effective leader. And employees are more likely to be more loyal to a helpful leader. For instance, learning to use a new cellphone repair shop software can be hard. Instead of getting frustrated with your employee, find ways in which you can help them.

For instance, Denis Gutsu of First Response Phone Medics makes sure that he checks in on his employees. One of his employees recently contracted COVID and went into quarantine. Denis made it a point to inquire on her health and make her feel cared for.

“I actually just had an employee, today is the second week and she’s in quarantine due to COVID. So, I messaged her on Sunday night, and I just wrote her name. I said, ‘how are you doing? How are you feeling? Is everything okay with you? Is there anything that you need?’ Sure enough, she texted me back and the first thing she said was, ‘Hey, you know, thank you so much for checking in. I’m feeling a lot better…’ I said, well, let’s go ahead and give you another week off, make sure to take the test. But again, it’s making sure that you’re showing that your employees, that you care about them as much as you care about yourself.”

  1. Train Step-by-Step


Training your employees reaps multiple benefits. Initial training gives employees the required skill set to function well and avoid frustrations in their new workplace. Additional training further adds to and hones their existing skillset.

However, you need to factor in the speed and complexity of training. Make sure you train new employees step-by-step to avoid overwhelming them with information. Moreover, you need to know which employee needs what kind of training. For instance, it would be ideal to teach a salesperson the cellphone repair shop software but a technician does not need to go into the details.

Nicole Russell of CellBotics trains cell phone repair business owners and employees. She emphasizes on knowing the employee’s level of expertise before training them for anything. This helps create a tiered training program that will bring out the real potential of an employee, rather than dumping all the information in one go.

“Normally what happens when someone contacts us and they own a shop or multiple shops and they want to get some training done. We’ll first just have a talk with them about where their staff are at, because there’s one thing that we don’t like to do is have people in our class that can’t learn from our class. I will figure out what best matches the people that they’re sending. And then we deliver that course based on that person’s level. So then they’re getting really good value from that class.”

So, while it is important to train your employees, it is equally important to train them according to their aptitude and expertise.

Training increases your employees’ performance and productivity. It reduces the amount of time you spend supervising them and it boosts their morale. So it’s a win-win situation.

  1. Develop Open Communication


Remember that feedback goes both ways. Your feedback to your employees is as important as your employees’ feedback to you. Open various channels where both you and your employees can communicate regularly. You can hold weekly staff meetings and one-on-one meetings bi-monthly or as it suits you.

Your employees should feel comfortable enough to say their mind to you. Not only does this garner an innovative workplace, but it also encourages transparency.

The most important thing that you and your employees should know is the intent of the feedback. It should come from a good place. It should be delivered in a palatable manner. And more often than not, suitable solutions be provided so the discussion is constructive rather than demoralizing.

Andrew Mourer feels his weekly staff meetings help him know his employees’ grievances. This helps him improve his systems and the company culture well.

“Well, I think the meetings work, because it lets them know that we hear them.”

  1. Provide a Positive Work Environment


Employees look forward to coming to work if the work environment is positive. They are more comfortable voicing their opinions, sharing tips and collaborating with each other.

You can nourish a healthy work environment by encouraging communication amongst your employees. Moreover, having a strong workplace culture also helps spread positivity. Effective onboarding holds a lot of value in nurturing a positive environment.

Check-in with your employees regularly. Simple acts like adding relevant employees in email chains and mentioning work priorities on a whiteboard for everyone to see also helps improve work culture.

Last of all, make your employees feel special by throwing a small party every now and then. Such an exercise will help employees interact socially and create an inclusive, comfortable environment for everyone.

Denis Gutsu regularly celebrates his employees’ birthdays and work anniversaries.

“Speaking of relationships, how do you maintain a positive and strong relationship inside your store with your own staff members, with your technicians and your receptionists and anyone else that’s there? One important thing that we do here, especially is when it’s somebody’s one-year anniversary with us, we make sure everybody knows about it. When it’s their birthday, we make sure that they get fed, that they have a party and that they get recognized. So we make them feel comfortable.”

Such small acts help in the long run to cultivate your business’s values and work culture.

  1. Clarify Expectations


Almost 50% of employees in the US have no idea what they are expected to do at work. This results in less employee engagement.

If you set expectations for your employees from day one, there will be no confusion regarding work. Everyone will know their duties and increase their chances of achieving their goals. It also improves communication within the team.

Setting expectations early on also helps with creating a baseline for performance measurement metrics, based on which future performance can be judged. It also helps employees work more independently within the framework of the company guidelines.

Another important benefit of setting expectations is that employees can be held accountable for their job.

What kind of expectations should you set, you wonder?

Well, begin with company goals. All your employees should know the bigger picture and understand that all their actions have to benefit the larger goal of the repair shop. Is there a certain number of customers you want to serve per month? Do you want to focus on customer retention? Are repairs your focus to generate revenue? Is there a yearly revenue goal you want to achieve? Share all of these with your employees.

Next, share the job performance expectation in as much detail as possible. All employees should know exactly what their tasks are. Are they only responsible for iPhone repairs or all cell phone repairs? Should be well-versed in the cellphone repair shop software or not? Should they double as salespeople? Are they supposed to update the daily task board? These are some of the expectations your employees should be aware of.

Lastly, share behavioral expectations. All employees should know what unacceptable behavior is. Can you argue with customers? How many days off in a year are acceptable? Is tardiness every once in a while okay? Sharing behavioral expectations will not only improve your company culture but also give your employees better insight into what is required out of them.

  1. Set Achievable Goals


You can only set expectations well if the goals and expectations you share are achievable. Everybody wants to see changes in company culture and revenues overnight. But the reality is, a lot goes into it before it is achieved.

So set ambitious goals, not impossible goals. This will help your employees push themselves, instead of getting demoralized and frustrated.

So what comprises achievable goals?

For starters, your employee goals should align with your repair shop goals. Another excellent exercise is to ask your employees to identify goals specific to their job. This will help you come up with ideas that you perhaps did not have. Moreover, it will also make the employees feel like they came up with the goals themselves instead of them being imposed.

Generally, goals should be set around the efficiency and productivity of an employee as per their expertise. An effective framework to follow is SMART. As per the SMART theory, goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. Expecting your employees to know your cellphone repair shop software inside out in a week is a bit of a stretch.

Another important factor is that the success and achievability of a goal should be mutually agreed upon by you and your employer. So co-creating goals is a good idea. Basing goals on pre-achieved performance works well because there is an example to follow and it also means that the goal is achievable.

Make sure you reward and encourage employees who achieve goals. On the other hand, follow and check in with employees who are unable to achieve their goals. Help them and step in where necessary.

  1. Encourage Work-Life Balance


The benefits of encouraging work-life balance are numerous. Your employees are less stressed, their health is better and they take fewer days off. Moreover, their productivity increases, and they are likely to be more loyal to you.

Other advantages include better employee morale, lower staff turnover, reduced recruitment costs, increased employee engagement, and much more.

One of the ways you can encourage work-life balance is by allowing part-time work. Moreover, you can allow paid maternal and paternal leaves. Another way to encourage work-life balance is by organizing family events where employees can bring their families.

Using a good cellphone repair shop software like RepairDesk would help reduce the number of hours you spend on your repair shop processes. It will give you and your employees more time to spend with family.

An excellent idea would be to host an annual dinner that can work as an employee recognition program as well and encourage your employees to bring their families.

Alex Marini Garvin of Computer Repair Doctor is a big proponent of balancing his work and personal life well. He understands the need to get off time and sets an example for his employees. If his technicians are busy, instead of asking them to stay till late and finish up work, he gives his customers a late delivery date.

“We do a 24-hour diagnosis, but it’s a scale. You know, if I have 15 jobs waiting on my diagnosis shelf, the next person who comes in the door, I’m telling them two or three days. I have to adjust, you know, where we’re at, so that, I’m not going to stay here till 1:00 AM in the morning. For my sanity, I’m going to clock out. I’m going to go home. I’m going to relax. I’m going to see my family.”

  1. Make an Employee Handbook


Onboarding employees is an important step in the recruitment process. The best way to go about it is by creating a handbook.

Andrew painstakingly took 4 years to create an employee handbook which he feels reduces the amount of time he has to spend on employees’ initial training.

“We have a big handbook that they [all employees] go through when they first get employed so, they know all their expectations. Because that’s not how it was when we started. But the best way to run a good efficient business is to make sure that your employees know from the first day what your expectations are.”

  1. Appreciate When Required


The simple act of appreciating your employee when they’ve done well can have an exponential effect on their performance. Moreover, public acknowledgment of good work is even better. You can hold yearly recognition awards or even have an “Employee of the Month” board.

This helps employees feel like they belong. It also starts a healthy competition among the employees to do better and improves their morale.

Denis Gutsu advises not to call on your employees only for criticism but for praise as well.

“First of all, your employees, when they’re doing good, you cannot be that person that only brings them into the office whenever they did something bad. So one thing is, you have to recognize your employees when they are doing good. They’re just as good as any kind of person that wants to come in and get out. But when a person has been invested into, and they have been shown that they’re cared for, they’re willing to actually take on these burdens of a business and they will do that with a smile on their face, rather than with just being upset that my boss, the one that told me I need to do this, Oh, I hate him or her.”

Using these tried and tested formulas, we hope you will be able to increase your repair shop employee retention and create highly productive teams.

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