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Paying HVACR Technicians Part Three

In Part Two of this discussion I presented the idea that some employers operate their business from the standpoint of lack and limitation rather than from the belief in abundance and opportunity. And, as a result of that negative approach, come off as stingy or someone who just uses technicians as a means to end to make a lot of money. Another offshoot of an owner or service manager taking this view is that it sets the stage for technicians who are paid on a commission basis to be less-than-honest when it comes to installing parts and completing service calls.

With this management approach, what often happens is that morning meetings are a negative event. The “numbers” are presented, and those who achieve the highest dollar average per call are praised for their efforts in maximizing volume. And it’s abundantly clear to those who have a lower dollar average that they need to find a way to bring their revenue up. Not just because it will put more money in their pocket, but because an environment like this instills fear that they might be fired if they don’t perform better dollar-wise. To put it simply, it’s an atmosphere of negativity, and it can foster irrational behavior. A technician may start out certain that they would never sell a customer something they didn’t need or want, but the fearful environment can slowly and steadily erode the technician’s belief system, and “justify” something that a month before would not have happened.

Of course, this approach to doing business is doomed to failure in regard to the retention of certain employees. A person can only be lead just so far down the path of “justification” before they decide that they must leave this type of environment. They begin to take steps to make the transition to another workplace as painless as possible for themselves and their family, hanging on where they are until they can be sure that the losses that can occur with a change in employment are minimized. And inevitably, they leave.

A technical professional who is competent in troubleshooting and diagnosis, performing repairs,  and communicating with customers is lost; the situation labeled simply as ’employee turnover’. And the expense of recruiting and hiring goes on and on through the revolving door of this service department.

And, then, there’s the technician who doesn’t leave. And the reason this person stays is because while they, like the employee described above,  harbor fears about money running out and the pie only having just so many pieces, their ethics and belief system allows them function in this type of environment. Not necessarily happy and professionally fulfilled, but functioning.

My point here is that paying technicians via an incentive system isn’t an evil thing to do….unless the people running the show are OK with it being evil, and they recruit technicians who agree with them.

Learn From Yesterday….Live For Today….Look Forward To Tomorrow