Auto Service World
News   October 18, 2022   by Adam Malik

Why this expert encourages poaching

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Poach or be poached, an automotive aftermarket talent expert warned automotive aftermarket shop owners.

So long as the automotive aftermarket has trouble attracting new people to the industry, poaching is a very real business strategy that all companies need to take advantage of, said Linda Brenner, managing director and founder of Talent Growth Advisors, who has worked with aftermarket and other industries as an advisor.

Even if you don’t poach, you can bet your competitors are trying to poach from you, she said.

“More and more people are trying to hire skills that have not grown in the marketplace. Technicians are a perfect example — software developers, nurses, drivers [are others] — that just the amount of people doing these jobs has not changed to the extent that the demand for them has changed,” Brenner told a group of ASPs at NAPA Expo 2022.

However, Brenner was very clear on one point: Poach from your competitors, not your suppliers. You have an ongoing relationship with your suppliers; they depend on you and vice versa. Don’t take their talent. That said, it is possible that you may want to hire someone from a supplier. The best thing to do is for both sides to talk it out.

But your competitors? “All day long,” Brenner said.

The people you’re looking for are not laying in bed all day long and scrolling through job openings around town.

“These people are already working and they’re working for your competitors,” she said.

And look for people who used to work for your competitors and are now working elsewhere, perhaps even in another industry. Have a look at resumes posted to Indeed or even on Facebook if people post their work history — someone may be out there who is familiar with what you do, Brenner said.

You can even poach back former employees. Check in with them if they’ve been gone for a while — the grass may not have been greener on the other side. Tell them how you’ve changed and why it would be a good fit for them now, Brenner recommended.

Don’t want to have your employees poached by your competitor? Brenner recommended having meaningful conversations with your employees. For example, take them to lunch just to talk. Find out the good and bad. The key is getting honest and transparent feedback.

The reason you’re doing this is to make the business a better place to work — tell them that. Then ask them, given all the competition out here, how can things improve? What needs to be communicated better?

Figure out what needs to be done and how it can be achieved. Don’t forget to include them in the process of implementing those changes, Brenner advised.

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1 Comment » for Why this expert encourages poaching
  1. John Post says:

    As a former aftermarket technician and now college professor, in my opinion one of the biggest hurdles facing both the technician and shop is quality training. There is some great online training available, but that’s not a replacement for real hands-on training. The other big dilemma I see is the reliance on statistic based repair as opposed to proper diagnostic trouble shooting. Getting a code and replacing a part because someone said that it fixed the code when they had a similar problem is not diagnostics. I do my best to teach students proper trouble shooting techniques, but it’s very disheartening when they return to the college for a visit and tell me that they actually get reprimanded at work for trying to test. This has to change for the sake of the customer and the industry.

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