In sports there is an over used saying “next man up” that is referring to the next person in line to fulfill the position vacated by an injury or poor performance. The really good teams have two or three people capable to fulfill the position “waiting” for their chance and for their name to be called. In most cases, when asked most athletes have a story of when they received “their chance” and what they did to make the most of their opportunity. I could go through and name several professional and collegiate programs that perennially have a lot of success and when the coach is asked about the success they often refer to the fact that they have a very experienced team and when someone gets injured there is a person waiting for their opportunity to step up. I could also name several athletes in team sports that have gone on to have a very good career when they received “their chance” and they went on to make the most of it and became a superstar.
The point of this, we need to be looking at our organization and constantly develop people that are ready to be “the next man up” when a spot becomes available.
Think of when your service advisor has a family emergency or is sick, maybe they take that summer vacation, who fills in for them and how ready is that person to fill their shoes. My guess is there is a significant drop off in talent and that person is simply filling a hole for you to help reduce the stress on the department and the other employees.
This is not an easy answer and it is even harder to execute, taking in consideration that fine line of being over staffed and over expensed to simply have the pleasure of having a person ready to step in and help on the service drive.
So how do good organizations do this? They put a premium on training, cross training and a build a culture within the walls of the dealership that fosters this mentality.
The first step is to look at every position; this includes the manager position all the way to the car wash or porter position. Evaluate who would fill the position tomorrow if you lost someone for an extended period of time and then evaluate what training do they need to be ready to take on the added responsibility. I know we all have a shuttle driver, support person, office clerk that could “fill in” but the point is great companies have people ready to do more than simply fill in; they have cross trained and developed the next person in line to be ready for their chance to step up and take on the new role. As managers we need to be thinking, who is the person to take on my duties when we are away from the office? Who is our replacement?
Identify and develop your people, the more knowledge they have the better off your team will perform. Take the time to cross train and grow your people from within, they will perform better and faster than trying to hire someone from the outside. As you are evaluating your team and you have someone in a position that is not able to step up in the next role, you need to really look at what type of exposure that is to your organization and determine a game plan. The ultimate goal is to have a cross trained person that has been trained in all facets of the organization that is simply looking for their opportunity to “step up.”