Diversity and skills

The second session of day two at IBIS USA 2019 was panel session formed by Carl Brabander, head of global franchise development, Fix Network World; Stacey Bartnik, industry relations manager for Intertek transportation technology; Ty Gammill, senior vice president of talent development for Caliber Collision Centres and Selvi Rizk, Owner and operator of two Fix Auto sites in California. The esteemed panel discussed creating a sustainable future for collision repair through skills and diversity.

Below are some of the highlights and key themes from the session.

Women make up 9% of staff within bodyshop industry

Minorities comprise less than 30%

What problems are there within the industry?

            –        Lack of new staff

            –         Aging technician force

            –         Often new staff hires only come from other bodyshops

–         Perception issue whereby parents don’t want kids to come into bodyshop industry

–         Industry isn’t reaching out to students early enough

–         Bodyshops are a hidden gem within the business world

–         Youngsters clamour to work in an Amazon warehouse, while failing to realise the opportunities within the bodyshop industry

WHAT ARE ORGANISATIONS DOING?

Fix has a Masters programme to stimulate and recognise skills in the network

Calibre looked at Tech Schools but also looked to scalability – where do you get regular, responsible, obedient staff? THE MILITARY because people leaving the military align with Calibre core values. Calibre tries to tap into soldiers up to 6 months before they demob. 300 staff will come from military in 2019 to help Calibre sustain an intake of staff that’s useful.

IT IS NOT A SEXY INDUSTRY BUT WE NEED TO PROMOTE IT THAT WAY

WE HAVE TO GET CREATIVE AS AN INDUSTRY TO FILL SKILLS SHORTAGE

DIVERSITY – WHY IS IT LACKING?

            – People are ignorant about the opportunities

            – Women inside the bodyshop industry tend to come in because they have already been exposed to it

            – Arguably, women will work harder than men when in any position to ‘prove’ their equality with men.

            – The industry needs higher academic achievers  – cars are now complex computers on wheels

            – Women have great empathy and great leadership skills

            – Our industry needs to be glamourised – at grass roots and corporate levels people need to see the benefits of coming into a lifetime career within crash repair

            – The industry needs to highlight how a youngster coming in can make more headway, and faster, than if they went into a career within accountancy or architecture

BUT – There’s still a huge ‘Boy’s Club’ within the industry which is holding it back

Anyone in management or ownership positions needs to mentor more youngsters to bring them on

Preventing staff leaving is about creating a professional culture – BUT MORE THAN THAT IT IS ABOUT RESTORING THE RHYTHM OF PEOPLES’ LIVES

Once that is on board within a company, it then changes the way the company thinks, operates and does business.

Why? Because as a technician you’re not just ‘fixing a car’. What you are doing is far more important. You are restoring someone’s life back to where they can go to the store, take kids to school, go to the doctor, commute to work. Effectively (within Calibre)  the culture is promoted that we are all working for a higher cause.

Which means:

IF you have great leadership and a great working culture, it changes the dialogue within the workplace. And what that means is that if another business offers a staff member an extra $ to cross the road and work for them, the staff member is more likely to stay where they feel:

VALUED – RESPECTED – HEARD – INVESTED IN -APPRECIATED – TRAINED

Businesses need a background strategy of becoming the ‘employer of choice’ in their neighbourhoods

Calibre: “We’re good at defining the customer journey. But historically the bodyshop industry has been terrible at retaining staff. We’ve had to go back and work to define the team-mate journey from recruitment to retirement”

Where will we be in five years time? Still having this conversation?

  • Success breeds success
  • The fact that 10 years ago no one was talking about these topics and we are now – means we are on a journey
  • Society needs to know we’re an industry – and that we provide truly great opportunities

IBIS USA partner were 3M, Axalta, Solera Audatex, BETAG Innovation, Symach, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Fix Network World, Mitchell International, PPG, RSG, Verifacts, CARSTAR, Caliber Collision, Chief Automotive, I-CAR, OE Connection, and PartsTrader LLC.