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What You Want Isn’t Alwasy What You Get

Be careful. What you expect sometimes isn’t what you get. Especially in the workplace.

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What You Want Isn’t Alwasy What You Get

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Be careful. What you expect sometimes isn’t what you get. Especially in the workplace.

Most business owners and managers are sure the factors that motivate white collar workers are the same that inspire blue collar workers. Good Wages. Possibility of Promotion. Good Working Conditions. After all, the best way to keep good employees is to give them more money. And our vivid hindsight dictates that the ones that get away really weren’t that good anyway.

And that mistaken line of thinking is where the problems can begin.

Like other businesses, tire dealers and store managers usually place tremendous focus on continuously staffing their operations with the "right people." But like other businesses, we tend not to place the same effort on understanding what really motivates our employees – individually or collectively – and what unique factors motivate divergent groups of employees.

On the surface you’d think the factors would and should be the same. But once you take a deep, hard look into the question, you’ll find two completely different sets of standards. Human nature says we generally try to satisfy the concerns of both employee groups with one umbrella. Long-term, that approach generally spells disaster. That’s right – it doesn’t work.

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Why doesn’t it work? It’s just a fact of life. The more scientific answer probably lies buried in the socio-economic status we were born into and the psychological make-up we were instilled with, deep stuff that can only be explained by the well-trained scientists who’ve successfully recognized many of the hidden secrets of the mind.

Or it could just be bad advice or an unfortunate employer-employee relationship myth passed down through the ages. Regardless of the point-of-origin, with so many dealers complaining about how hard it is to find and keep good employees, perhaps it’s time business owners and managers take a closer look at what really moves their people.

I read an article recently that analyzed much of the same question. Curious about the conclusions of that article, I decided to conduct a small survey of the tire market to see what light I could shed on the question of what employees want.

I pulled a few names and phone numbers of tire dealers from Tire Review’s circulation database and put together a thumbnail research project. The survey was admittedly pretty basic, but the purpose was to see if two different groups of employees located under the same roof wanted/expected the same things from their employer and working environment.

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The people I surveyed at dealerships were evenly distributed between store manager/front desk types and tire technician/shop types, both from the same dealer location. I asked them to rate how important each of 10 job criteria were to them – one being the most important.

Keep in mind that this was thumbnail research, not a scientific survey. However, the results (see chart) are very telling and should raise questions in the minds of all dealers on what they think they know about what their employees expect.

No matter how big or small the business is, these results should at least raise the question of what perceptions employees really have about where they work, what they do, and who they report to – and what will motivate them to excel. Please don’t make the mistake of reorganizing employees into two groups; even within the traditional "white collar" and "blue collar" groupings, there remain many individualized issues that may further determine your management course.

Testing the temperature of your own business and the people who work there can be the difference surviving and thriving in the years ahead.

 

Manager/
Front Desk

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Tire/Shop
Tech

Appreciation of Good Work

8

1

Feeling "In" on Things

10

2

Empathy for Personal Issues

9

3

Job Security

2

4

Good Wages

1

5

Interesting Work

5

6

Possibility of Promotion

3

7

Loyalty of
Owner/Mgmt. to Workers

6

8

Good Work Conditions

4

9

Tactful Discipline

7

10

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