Robust Training Program With Steve Johnson

Robust Training Program With Steve Johnson

by Patrick Adams | Mar 27, 2023

In this episode, Steve Johnson and I discuss training paths and employee tools when it comes to the robust training program. What You’ll Learn:
    1. Why did you start a training program for technicians?
    1. What does the training path look like for a technician?
    1. Does an employee need any experience or certifications to start this program?
    1. Does the employee need any tools?
    1. How long will it take to complete this program?
About the Guest: Steve Johnson has over 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. He served as a certified technician at a local Gm dealership for about 8 years. Steve’s work ethic was unmatched, which is what earned him a position as a Service Advisor. Eventually, when a service manager position became available, Steve was asked to grab the metaphorical reigns and lead the service team to achieve an unprecedented level of customer service and shop performance. To achieve this, Steve had to develop a service team that would exceed his level of expectations for professional business and work culture needed to create the best service team Berger has ever had. The dealership has received GM dealer of the year award 11 times and has continued to break multiple financial records year after year. Links: Click here for more information on Steve Johnson To Contact Steve Johnson Directly: Click here for The Lean Solutions Summit  Full Transcript:
Patrick Adams  00:18 Hello, and welcome to the Lean solutions podcast. This is Patrick Adams and my guest today is Steve Johnson. Steve has over 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, he served as a certified technician at a local GM dealership for about eight years, Steve developed service team that would exceed his level of expectation for professional business and work culture needed to create the best service team Berger has ever had. The dealership has received GM dealer of the Year Award 11 times and has continued to break multiple financial records year after year. Welcome to the show, Steve. Steve Johnson  01:13 Good morning. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it. Patrick Adams  01:15 Absolutely. Now I’m excited to have you on the show. Your you as a guest are a little bit different than our normal guests. So I’m excited because you and I ran into each other at a career fair for young teenagers. And we started to talk and you told me a little bit about your the training program that you put together at Berger for technicians. And I was like, Oh my gosh, this is something that our listeners have to hear about. Because it’s it’s so powerful and the results of what you’ve been able to do. You know, no one can argue that it’s working, right? Yes. So Steve, tell us just a little bit more about your background and what you do for Berger Chevrolet, Steve Johnson  01:59 I’m the service manager here at Berger Chevrolet. And the great thing about here is they allow us to really change anything and everything that we can possibly do to make it better for our employees, our guests, and then ultimately the company as well. So we’re constantly looking for ways to improve. And, and again, there’s, we have a lot of people here, I have about 285 employees here. And so it we have a lot of wisdom to pull from. So a lot of that is just listening to people, and just looking at what they have and trying to improve on everything that we do. Patrick Adams  02:35 Yeah, I love that. And you your your role at Berger. Just tell us a little bit about that. Steve Johnson  02:43 Yeah, I oversee most of the front of the house, basically all the service writers. We have eight service writers in my main lane, then I have a quick lube that has another four service writers over there and oversee all of our rentals department as well as our business development center as well. So we want to do everything with the front of the house customer interaction. Anything. Yeah, Patrick Adams  03:05 yeah. So I want to talk specifically about your training program. But before we do that, what what problem did you identify that said, you know, what we need to we need to put some work into how we train people, our technicians specifically, like there’s a problem that we’re experiencing. And we need a solution to that. What What were some of the issues or the problems that you that you were faced with a prior to having a structured training program? Steve Johnson  03:33 Yeah, so what, uh, what it ultimately was, is we couldn’t find good quality technicians, that was the main thing, you know, we try to advertise and we try to spiff, you know, people coming in and giving them bonus sign on bonuses and stuff. The problem is, is there’s just not a lot of great technicians out there that are willing to what I call a bounce from another place to come here. And so they’re happier where they’re at. So the other thing that we had with that, too, is a lot of those people that we would interview that would come they didn’t have the culture that I was looking for. We have a specific culture that we have here in burger Chevrolet, so they may be a really good technician and a fit where they’re at, but it just wasn’t a fit for us. So we started looking at how can we fix this and, and then I have technicians that, you know, I got a technician that’s been here for 42 years, he’s getting ready to retire. And I got started looking around and I’m like, okay, in the next 10 years, I’m going to lose six, six of my technicians back here. How do we replace them? And so that was, you know, just looking into the future of how we’re going to attack this. So we don’t get left out in the wind. So Patrick Adams  04:43 Right. Yeah, those are some some massive challenges that it’s interesting to hear that coming from a, you know, an automotive dealership because those are the exact challenges that I hear, you know, in the healthcare industry that I hear in the manufacturing industry and so many Different industries are experiencing some of those same challenges. And so it’s interesting just to hear how different industries are responding to that, you guys clearly had a really, really great outcome to what you put together, which was your training program. But, you know, talk to me a little bit about, you know, where did the idea come from to develop this training program? So why did you start it? Obviously, we know the problem that you were experiencing. But but, you know, where did the Why did you go, Okay, it’s training, that’s, that’s where we need to go to. Steve Johnson  05:34 So what initially started, we did have some people that had the drive, and that want to do it, they just didn’t have the schooling, or the finances to do that for them, but they were really good candidates. And that’s kind of what kicked that off. And we hit and it’s morphed into what it is. Now, when we first started out, we just started, you know, just kind of side by side with a technician. And it did work, we had results with that, but it wasn’t, wasn’t going fast enough for me, per se. So we had to evolve that and then we ran into some problems with an I’m sure this is across the industry, in any industry is the quality of people that we’re coming in. For every 10 people that I would interview, I might get one that was like a good fit for us. And, you know, that would have the quality to even be able to do the job. So that’s why we, you know, we initially started on one on one, but it worked out, but it just wasn’t enough. So that’s when we came up with a new strategy. And, and how we have it’s now is, we got it dialed in pretty good. So we’ve been doing it for about nine years now. So it’s been working really good. Patrick Adams  06:51 So the training path, we’re going to talk a little bit about that, and kind of get into detail on that. But you did mention earlier. And I also want to backup to this, you mentioned earlier about the culture, and that you guys have a very specific culture at Berger, and probably looking for people that that that hold certain values, can you talk to us a little bit about that, before we go down that training path? Steve Johnson  07:13 Sure. So um, the the culture that we’re really looking for is you have to have a great attitude, I can train you how to do a job. But if you have a crappy attitude, it really doesn’t mix with what we’re doing here. You got to be a team player, you know, this is something that you cannot do by yourself, we have to rely on everything from parts to our advisors, everybody has to be working together to make this happen. And also, you have to just be willing to do whatever it takes, you know, there are some times that we have to, you know, just say, hey, you know, this is the way it is, this is what we got to do figure out a solution and then implement it. So and you have to be able to adapt to change here, it’s we’re constantly changing. So I would rather have a change, and fall on my face and go, that was not a good idea, let’s back this up and start over, I would rather have that than never change at all. So we we are constantly changing constantly. And that’s you got to be able to roll with it. And if you don’t adapt to that, well, it’s like, man, every time I turn around, we’re doing something different. We’re trying to do this, we’re doing this, and the reason we’re doing that is because we are trying to get better. And so it’s worked very well. And we’ve even even broaden that to our managers, how we get along with other departments within Berger. And it’s worked very well in that as well. So that’s amazing. Patrick Adams  08:33 I love to hear that. And that continuous improvement is necessary. And obviously, the results I mean, being GM dealer of the year, you know, 11 times and, you know, breaking multiple financial records. I mean, those are the results of you guys continuously improving, you know, never being content with the status quo, but always looking for what’s next. How do we, how do we make this better? How will we solve this problem? You know that. So that’s amazing, I love to hear that. And I’m sure it makes a big difference, you know, again, with your culture, when you have people there that are that know that they have the freedom to come up with, you know, innovative ways to do things or better ways to do things. It makes a difference for your work for the workers to Steve Johnson  09:15 for sure. And it comes back to our teams, we build very solid teams. And that is where the culture really grows. Because once you get that culture established, everybody starts to have ideas, and they’re not my ideas. Most of the stuff that we implemented our did not come from Me. It was from people that are right in the trenches, and they’re going, Hey, why don’t we try this? And we’re like, that’s a great idea. Never thought of that. So we start implementing that stuff. And that’s why I love working here is because I do have that authority, we can pretty much change anything at the drop of a hat. So it does work very, very well. Once you get that culture behind it. And then everybody the team comes behind it and then they have financial goals that they hit To achieve, and then there, then they really get the buy in, you know, when they start to see the money come around to that makes a big difference as well. So Patrick Adams  10:08 absolutely those incentives come back and definitely are icing on the cake. Yes. Okay, so let’s talk about the training path. So a technician now, first, a technician. So talk to our listeners about what do you define as a technician first, sure, Steve Johnson  10:25 sure that we have three categories that we have, we have an a technician, a B, technician, and C technician. So your a technician is going to be master certified, they’re going to be able to work on anything that comes in the shop, there’s not a whole lot of technicians out there, I have over 30 technicians in my shop right now. And there’s about six that can actually work on just about anything you throw at them, they’re certified in it, they have 10 years experience and everything. So obviously, it’s not going to be somebody that younger, because you have to have that to be an A tech. And then you have a BTech, which is basically they’re going to be very rounded technician as far as their capabilities in their area. So there may be a transmission technician, or drivability or heavy tech. We even have electric vehicles. And also we got volts and bolts so that we’re working on those. And then we have our specialty techs in there too, that will work on like convertible tops, and water leaks and air noises and that kind of stuff. So and that’s what you would call a BTech. And then you have a C tech, which is basically there are growing, and they don’t know exactly what they want to do. As far as their career, they want to be a heavy tech, or they want to do multiple things, you know, and that’s what most techs do. Anyway, they’re going to have a handful of things that they work very well on. And they’ll touch a little bit here and there. But they try to stay in their lane of those five things or six things. So that would be a C tech, they just don’t know yet their certifications not quite there, their GM trainings not quite there. And that would be a C tech. And so that’s, that’s where I’m trying to get a person that comes in that knows nothing about cars, they just have a want. And hey, I’ve always wanted to work on cars. And I think it would be you know, I worked on my stuff with my dad, and my grandpa, and I really want to enjoy doing this. And they just need a way to get from that, knowing nothing about to get to my C tech, and then we grow from there as Patrick Adams  12:16 well. Yeah, that’s really interesting that so peep, so someone coming into your team, they don’t necessarily have to have any experience or certifications, when they start you’re gonna give them all that they just need to have the attitude, like you said earlier, you know, match up with some of those values, understand that that, you know, there that you guys are continuously improving and moving forward. So they have to fill that piece but, but no experience or certifications at all, Steve Johnson  12:45 they don’t have to have anything. So when they start, we’re basically going to look for those qualities that we talked about earlier for the Berger culture. And then we look for, you know, obviously, they got to be here and on time, and they got to be able to follow an order. And, you know, hey, this is how we do things we have, we have processes and procedures for pretty much 99% of the job that you do. So if you can find all that there and and be able to change on the fly and adapt to new things that we’re doing. You know, that is a very good prime candidate. So what we would do is we would start them in our quick lube area. And they’re basically going to learn your basic stuff, tire rotations, air filters, changing the oil, you know, light bulbs and wiper blades, just some maintenance stuff, filters, that kind of thing. So they get in there. And that’s where we can really find about their culture, because sometimes you can interview real well, and then you get in here and I’m like, boy, this is not what we were thinking. So this gives us an opportunity and them an opportunity to really shine. And so we’ve had great success with it, because I’ve been able to what I call weed out some of the stuff, you know, because I’ll have somebody that’s really excited, and they get here and then two weeks into this, they’ve been late 10 times, you know, I’m like, wait a minute, hold up, this is this isn’t working. And then other times and I’ll use a gentleman that we just moved out of there, he came in and really wanted to become a technician and he actually went on his own and got some certifications while he’s working in there. And he was in there for a couple months. And we’ve actually moved him out into our next phase now, if you want I can talk about that too. But so that’s really what we look for at the beginning is just we want to find out exactly about them, are they going to be good culture for us? You know, are they going to be here on time and and be able to follow the processes that we have. Patrick Adams  14:40 So and So, what is your what is your interview process look like then? Steve Johnson  14:45 So when we interview basically we you know, obviously ask the basic questions, but again, we are looking for that culture right up front. That’s, that’s the number one thing that we’re looking for. Are you going to be a good fit here? You know, because uh Um, there are some things that maybe we do that wouldn’t work well for that person. So just talking to them, asking them some questions where they want to be, we don’t ever want anybody, I don’t care if you’re a porter here, or if you’re a master certified technician, we always want you to grow. So, obviously, everybody grows at different paces. But I want everybody to grow. So even if you’re on the top of your game, you’re in master certified technician, we are going to stretch you to become better, whether it’s maybe going outside of and getting some schooling, or just being looking to the future for electronics, in the electric vehicles and that kind of thing. So we always want to grow and stretch doesn’t matter if we’re growing a little bit, but I want you to grow somewhere. So that’s, that’s my main job is I really need to grow everybody. And so that’s that’s what we do. Patrick Adams  17:16 Perfect. Okay, so now let’s get to that training path. So you gave us a little bit of a kind of a view of what it looks like when people you know, first are introduced or come in? Can you just kind of walk us through that entire training path from start to finish? And what does that look like? Because it’s very structured, right? Steve Johnson  17:33 Yes, yes, for sure. So once we, once we do the interview, get them started in our quick lube, we make sure that they can do the basics that we talked about, again, we want to make sure about the attitude, all that stuff, culture. And then we have our next step program is we have a master certified technician that will just work right with you, you’re going to be working under him. And so when we feel I have service, another manager in the quick lube once he and I get together, and we’re like, okay, who are we going to move out who’s really blooming, and we get to that point, then we actually will move on to what we call our five bays. And that is where our master certified technician takes over. And he really, you’re going to learn everything, pretty much on a car, you know, they’re not going to, they’re not going to be pulling the engine and trans and that kind of stuff. But they’re going to do the basic stuff, you’re gonna be doing wheel bearings, tire out in some slight oil leaks, programming, like diagnostics, we do maintenance services and transmissions and stuff like that. They’re gonna do all that stuff, alignments, tires, brakes. And so you actually will work under that gentleman’s number, because you obviously have to be certified. Now why he’s doing this, he is working on a training path for them specifically, he’s going to be getting certified through the state for brakes, and steering suspension, because that’s pretty much what they’re going to be working on back there. And so he’ll be working on that portion of it. As soon as you get moved to that spot. Also, he starts a GM training path for him. So they have to get what we call the fundamentals now and through General Motors, and then he works on a path for them that that will work for them. Because not everybody is going to go on the same category. And so that is his, his. That’s his whole job. That’s all he does all day long. And so he has between three and seven technicians at a time depending on what we have going on the shop. And then it would really depend on him. As far as this person is ready to move out in then we start our next phase of the training path, which would be pairing them up with a technician in the shop. And this is kind of the final phase of the training. And this is where they really they’re at pretty much on their own but if they come into a roadblock, they do have somebody that will help them out. And so in, everything that we do is computerized. So they’re very versed in looking up schematics and that kind of stuff. So they know the basics coming into the shop, and then usually about six months, then we, again, depending on the person, they go from there, and then they go on their own, and but at that time, they’re going to be that see technician and actually starting to be that B, B technician at that point. Patrick Adams  20:28 So is there, like, is there like a formal exam? Is there? You know, is it the master technicians that are determining that? How do they, how do you, you know, certify them? Or, or, you know, what’s Are there any formal, you know, exams or things that they have to do in order to to, you know, move through the process? Steve Johnson  20:49 Yes, there is, there’s two, there’s two testings that they can do, they can do the state certification, which is different in each state, I’m in Michigan, but each state has different certifications for a technician to work on a vehicle and they have to be certified in the category that they’re working on. So there’s eight categories. So they can be certified in steering and suspension, brakes, electrical and light engine, you know, they’ll have usually those when they come out of the five bays, and there’ll be state certified, now you can be ASE certified, but you have to have two years minimum experience in the field. And so a lot of them will be to that point by the time they come out. And so they would be ASE and we prefer the ASE. Because that’s industry standard across the board. So you can go to any state with ASE and work on any vehicle. So Patrick Adams  21:42 okay, perfect. So not necessarily, you don’t necessarily have an internal certification necessarily, these are external third party certifications, but you prep them internally to the point where they’re ready. And then once they’ve passed that, then they move to the next level. And they mentioned the, once they’re out on their own, is there anything that you do on a, you know, periodic periodically throughout the year on any kind of frequency to to kind of re evaluate skill sets and things going forward? Or are there other trainings that they attend, you know, or anything like that going forward once they’re on their own? Steve Johnson  22:21 Yes. So once a technician, even when they’re in the five bays, they have concentrating, and it’s through General Motors. So obviously, every year we have new products coming out, so we have to be up on all that stuff. So they have to do all that training. Even if they aren’t going to work in that specific area, they still have to do the training in there. And that’s through GM. And so that portion of it, we, you know, you have you have to do to move out. If you don’t get that done, we we can move. Yeah. So that portion has has to be done. Patrick Adams  22:57 Okay, perfect. And then you obviously, as a maintenance technician, I mean, they need to have tools. And I’m just wondering like this kind of popped in as you were talking, like, do they need to come to the table with a toolbox full of all the tools they need? And how would they know what tools they need? Or anything like that? Or does Berger provide that? What does that look like? Steve Johnson  23:18 So that was kind of the last piece of the puzzle that we have added to the last, you know, in the last six months, that was another hurdle that we had that, you know, people were getting into the five bays, and they didn’t have enough tooling to be on their own. They do when they first go over there they will, they used the gentleman that is training them a little bit of his tools, and then they would just buy it as they go. It didn’t work real well. So that was one thing that we kind of morphed into what we have now but so what they can do now is we have a rental program. And so what we do is we as a dealership, we go by the tools, and the toolbox, and its basic starter set. And what we do is we do it on a rent to own basis. So it’s retention for them to stay here with us. And it’s also a great tool when they’re done. So what we do most of them, because each box is a little bit different, but on average is about three years to rent it and it’s a weekly rent that they pay us. And it’s interest free to them. And if they’re here at the end of that period, which is two and a half to three years, depending on the box, that toolbox becomes theirs, they want it and interest free. And and then we go and get another box and we start over and do it again. Now, if something happened, where they say, Hey, you know, I found a different job or I had to move out of state or whatever it be. And they’re, you know, a year and a half into it. They would just leave the tools here and it would have been renting that whole time while they were here and then we would rent that to somebody else and start over. So it’s a really good retention tool that we use. Again And what we found was some of these young people were going out, and we have tool trucks that come around. And the next thing you know, they’re $20,000 in debt, and I’m like, What in the world are you doing? And because you don’t have to do that. So that’s when we started looking into this, with the tools, and it’s worked very well. And again, it’s just that last little thing that you don’t, we’re trying to take all excuses away from anybody that would ever get into this as a career, taking all the excuses away, hey, I couldn’t afford the toolbox, or I didn’t have the training, you know, we’re taking all that away. And that’s what we look for is, is a problem or, or a solution. And so that’s, that’s all it is. So hopefully, that explains a little bit better. Because, again, what it boils down to is I don’t want them to use that as an excuse not to be able to follow a career path that they want to do. So tools work really well. And, and again, it becomes there as at the end of this, they’re smiling year to year, they’re like this is a great. And again, it’s interest free, we just want to you know, get them all the tools that they need to succeed. Patrick Adams  26:11 Yeah, that’s amazing. I love that, that that piece of it alone is is a great incentive to to attract, you know, individuals who want to get into the industry, but you know, are wondering, you know, that would be my first question as well, I don’t have all the tools that I need. Right. So. And the fact that it’s, they’re not necessarily Berger owned, they’re there, they will be yours in the future. So I love that as well. How long does it take, you mentioned a year and a half, and I heard, you know, a couple other dates out there. So from the time that you start the training program, if I come in and interview brand new, I haven’t, you know, don’t don’t know how to do anything with a car to the point where I’m a certified technician left on my own with my own tools. And, um, you know, you guys are comfortable with with with me, What’s the timeframe for that. Steve Johnson  27:05 So it really depends on the person, but average is between two and four years. And again, it’s going to be where we feel comfortable with the quality of work that you do. That kind of stuff. And obviously, the certification, it depends on there’s some people that can take a test and really pass it retain it. And there’s other people that are really good with their hands, but they can’t get it from, you know, from on paper. So they might have to take the test a couple of times. So it really depends on that person. But it’s on average is about two to four years, I have some had some people that were a little less than a little bit more. But that’s, that is that’s about where that is. Now I do have on a different note, I do have some a technician that actually loves what they do in the five bays. So and that’s the farthest that he wants to go in his training. And his capability is right there as well. So it works really good because he stays right there. And he loves what he does. And it’s a really good worker for us. And but that is where his career paths stopped as far as growing. Now his growth comes with different things that he can do within the team, maybe helping some other people, you know, as they come in, and they’re pretty green, and helping the the gentleman that’s sort of master certified gentleman that’s back there training, you know, he might had to step out for lunch, and then he could step in and just oversee if there’s something like that. So there’s other girls that we do with him. But his skill level is that’s where he’s gonna be. So Patrick Adams  28:37 Right. Yeah. And so in to that point, what’s your way of tracking, you know, where people are at on their journey? You know, and I just think about, you know, in a lot of organizations, they use, like a visual training matrix, or there’s they have some kind of software that they’re using to track that. Or maybe they have a training manager who keeps track of that, like, what’s your way of just tracking individuals as they go through their process and where they’re at with their tool rental and where they’re at with, you know, what level they’re at, and what they have to do next in order to progress? How do you track all of that. Steve Johnson  29:12 So we are constantly doing what I call coaching sessions, one on ones. And we are constantly saying, Hey, this is what is next for you. So this is where we want you to be. And we usually have a timeframe on there, depending on what it is, it might be six months, or it might be two months. But we’re constantly coaching and having those one on ones where the we can say hey, this is where you should be. And you know if they make that, and some people do and they blow it out of the water and they’re further than we have to reevaluate when they get there. And some people just fall a little bit short and then we have to take it back a little bit and say okay, this is what we want you to do next. This is the training path. Have you done this with your GM training? Have you done this with your certifications? You know, that kind of stuff. And then when And that is done mostly by the managers that are overseeing them. 99% of them we have, we also have a shop foreman manager that gets involved with their pro tip productivity finds out, you know, what kind of workload that they’ve been working on. And we constantly change that via computer because everything is dispatched through a computer. So we’re constantly trying to get them to go to that next level. So once they hit that, then we put it, what I call dangle a carrot, you get to the next one, and obviously, every time this happens, there’s pay with, you know, so there’s a financial reward as they go through these steps. And I would love to say that there’s like, hey, at six months, you’re gonna be here in at a year and a half, you’re gonna be here, it’s just unfortunately, with the person, it could be less or more depending on the person. So we we adapt very well with that. Because not everybody learns at the same pace. So it works very well. But how we do that is kind of to communication in one on ones. And those that’s, that’s where we have a lot of growth, even for us as Berger, because they come up with solutions of stuff that I wasn’t even thinking of. So those one on ones are very important and constant feedback. Both ways. Work, make it work. Patrick Adams  31:17 Absolutely. No, that’s great. I love to hear that. Well, I love what you’re doing. Steve at Berger, and obviously, the results speak for themselves, some pretty amazing things that are happening. And the training path that you guys have put together is clearly one that you know, others can look at and say, you know, this is this is the right approach, you know, for, for, I’m just thinking through, you know, maybe there’s listeners on that are in the manufacturing industry, you know, who are having those similar issues. Now, you might not be a car dealership, you know, working with automotive technicians, but you know, maybe you’re a manufacturing plant, working with, you know, setup techs, or maintenance personnel, or whatever it may be, you know, having a structured training program with, you know, incentives and levels to move through, and having that open communication, to talk with people to understand, what is it that what’s their vision for their future? What do they see for their own personal development? And then what do you need as an organization from them? You know, what’s your expectation of them and the growth path that they’re on? So all of that, you know, is not just applied in, in your industry, but it can be applied to any other industries? Yes, I love that you talked about the communication piece and the one on ones too, because a huge part of this is the leadership that you have in that your team has, in this process. And, you know, so so it’s not just about putting a structured program in place, it’s also about the leaders that are behind that, and how they support it, and ensure that it continues forward. Right. So being with them one on one communicating, I mean, that’s a huge part Steve Johnson  32:59 of this, for sure. That’s the only way we really know how far they’re growing. You know, obviously, we can look at the numbers, the data, you know, what, how many hours are turning in that kind of stuff, and the quality of work. And, you know, or we haven’t come back to that they forgot to do something on, you know, we track all that stuff, but to sit down with them and really see where they’re at, that’s where in things change, because, you know, six months ago, we could have a one on one, and they’re like, Well, you know, what, I really think that I’m actually going to go into heavy now, instead of, you know, the drivability side of it. So it’s really, definitely needed when you do these. And it’s good on anything, really, anything that you do, doesn’t necessarily have to be at the dealership, but you have to have constant communication and an open ears and open doors. Patrick Adams  33:51 Absolutely. So in the beginning, when we first started, we talked about the problem that you guys identified, you know, being that you were having a hard time finding people or bringing people in also, maybe turnover was an issue. You know, so has this structured training program and this training path that you’ve created, has it helped? Are you seeing, you know, reduce turnover? Are you finding people to be able to plug in and are they staying with you long term what you know, what does it look like now? After again, you’ve been doing this for what you say eight years. Okay. Steve Johnson  34:28 So the how we measured success obviously is how many technicians that we had through the program that are still here in in producing so we have six technicians that have successively went through everything in our in the shop actually turning money, you know, making money generating money for the business. So and that’s huge. And again, it goes back to those are specific technicians that we have invested in the cultures there and Um, you know, I’ve had technicians that we’ve had in the past that just, they’re great technicians, but the culture wasn’t there. And unfortunately, we just had to part ways because it just wasn’t working. But when you get somebody that the culture is there with everything that’s been going on the training and everything, you know, you’re pretty much unstoppable. At that point, you can just vote break anything. And that’s, that’s where we’re at. And, of course, now I’ve had some technicians that have moved out of state and some people that have bounced and went to a different dealer or went to an independent. And that’s going to happen, and we knew that, but to have the success that we’ve had with a six, and again, we have still more in the process, those are just all the way through and have been here for many years and are doing very well. And again, these are younger, younger folks, you know, they got 24 to 26 years old. And doing very well. How I look at it, too, is if they would have went to college, even like a Texas Tech kind of place, like we used to have Ferris State here in Michigan, that had a automotive you know, schooling that they could go through it is it was a two year program. And so I looked at how much that would cost them to do that. And, you know, obviously, they’re making money this whole time where they’re here. So if I can take that cost of that out in the tools on top of that, and they’re making money, it’s just, it really is a win win for everybody. And, you know, the benefit for us is we do have those technicians. And again, I’m looking for the future. I won’t be in the business probably 2530 years from now, but they will be. And so that’s how we got to look at it. Patrick Adams  36:47 Absolutely. I love love that that the long term focus is the key. So that’s amazing. Thank you for what you’re doing, Steve. And you know, I’m sure Berger is very happy with obviously the results that are coming from the work that you and your team are doing. Steve, if anybody wants they have a question or they want to get a hold of you what would be the best way for them to contact you. Steve Johnson  37:09 They can go right to our website, either Berger, which is b r g r Or they can email me directly if they have any questions, I’d be more than happy to talk or chat via email or phone. You can do it’s s Johnson at Berger. So Patrick Adams  37:30 perfect. And we’ll drop both the link to the website as well as your email into the show notes. So if anybody’s interested to get a hold of Steve with any questions, feel free to reach out to him, you know by going to the show notes and grabbing his contact info. Steve again, it’s been great to have you on really appreciate your time and just the work that you’re doing at Berger. Obviously those technicians are set up for success and you guys are experiencing it. So great job to all of you and your team there. Steve Johnson  37:59 Thank you. I appreciate you having me on the show. I really enjoyed it. Patrick Adams  38:03 All right. Take care, Steve. Thank you.

Meet Patrick

Patrick is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, and professional speaker, best known for his unique human approach to sound team-building practices; creating consensus and enabling empowerment. He founded his consulting practice in 2018 to work with leaders at all levels and organizations of all sizes to achieve higher levels of performance. He motivates, inspires, and drives the right results at all points in business processes.

Patrick has been delivering bottom-line results through specialized process improvement solutions for over 20 years. He’s worked with all types of businesses from private, non-profit, government, and manufacturing ranging from small business to billion-dollar corporations.