Culture in the garage

Tina Drayson from CCM examines whether a positive culture within a garage is possible, and how to create one for your own business

Published:  23 November, 2020

What is culture in the workplace? Is that not something that you would normally associate with big corporate companies? Can we have a good culture in the independent garage sector? The answer is yes.

Culture is about having a place of work where every member of staff feels valued and respected. How do we achieve this? It is not just about giving them Christmas parties, Christmas bonuses, breakfast on a Friday. These things are important, but it is not the whole story. You need to tap into their emotional side.

Have a vision, this will define you, your passion and your values and every member of the team needs to match your work ethic and your commitment to your customers. It is vital that you have a good company culture if you want your staff to perform their best and having a vision sets the standard.

Our industry is evolving daily, who can ever say that they are fully qualified, whatever role you do, there are always things to learn. Do your best to enable your staff to keep learning, give them every opportunity you can to train and learn new skills, allow them to do this in your time, why not, it is to your benefit. Quality family time is short enough without getting your staff to do training outside of work.

Do not micromanage. If you cannot trust someone to do the job that they have been employed to do, then you have the wrong person. Set parameters, processes and measures, I do not mean the financial kind. Create conditions that give them autonomy, ask them to set their own goals, this will be empowering and staff are more likely to strive to achieve if they are reaching for goals that they themselves have set rather than being told to.

Your staff carry out their roles daily, they are the ones at the forefront with the best knowledge of the processes and what is working and what is not. Listen to their views, you the manager do not always know what is best. Embrace their ideas and viewpoints, allow them to reach their full potential, it will not only make them feel valued but could save you time and money in the process.
Communicate, the more the better. You cannot overdo this. Tell your staff what is going on in the business, how well things are going or not, else they will only speculate.

Mistakes. They happen, we are all human. How we deal with them is crucial. Embrace the concept of ‘Assume Positive Intent’. Do you want your staff to be afraid to own up and cover up mistakes they make? Alternatively, you could generate a positive place for your staff to be open and honest about their mistakes and use those instances as opportunities to learn and not to criticise or blame. This will encourage your team to engage more. Be aware that everyone has their own areas of expertise, strength and weakness and encourage your team to ask for help.

True colours
Do you allow your staff to come in late or leave early so that they can go and watch their child take part in sports day or other activity? Why not? Life is precious and you do not get a second chance to make these memories.
Say thank you! They are only words but often go an exceptionally long way. ‘Be kind, loan someone your strength instead of reminding them of their weakness’. Be empathetic and approachable you will be pleasantly surprised. Be that manager that you always wanted.

Some of you will be thinking, that you have staff that would take advantage, maybe you do. By having a good culture, these people will soon show their true colours. The question you need to ask yourself, do you want a member of staff that on paper ticks all the boxes for the right skill set but has a negative approach or do you want a member of staff who fits with your culture? New skills can be learnt, but you cannot change a person’s mindset, only they can. You can change the culture that they work in and that in turn will have a positive impact on those individuals.

At CCM, we are not perfect, but with the help and guidance from others, we are continuously striving to give our staff a better culture. We have discovered, during this recent pandemic, that it is paying off. Our team were great. They stepped up, went above and beyond what we asked of them because they wanted to give something back.  

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