Friday, January 17, 2020

Oh No! My Service Manager Just Quit!

Losing key people in your business is always difficult. It could be a senior Technician, a Service Manager, or an important Office Staff Member. They may leave your business for any number of reasons. Many of those reasons you believe you do not have any control over and so you just to “buck it up”. Here is a partial list of reasons employees leave our type of businesses:

·        Moving out of the area  
·        Family issue such as divorce, new baby, or family illness
·        Pursuing another career
·        Health issues
·        Distance from the office
·        9 to 5 Hours
·        Not really suited for the service business
·        Pressure for change from the spouse
·        Benefits
·        Pay
·        On call
·        Going into business
·        Being a stay at home parent
·        Conflict with other Team Member or Members

I know there are others that I did not include but these are the ones I hear about the most. From owners I hear that it is often a total surprise that the employee is leaving. They had no idea it was coming. I don’t accept that in many cases. To me it is a fundamental issue the owner has failed to address in their business. That issue is communication with each and every employee on a regularly scheduled basis to discuss that employee’s performance and future with the company. Every employee should know how well they are performing and what the future for them with the company looks like. These are not the sit downs to discuss a pay increase, although those do need to occur. These are quarterly sit downs to discuss the progress the employee has made in the previous three months and what is expected in the next three months, one year and even five years. At these the owner should get a sense of where the employee is in their position at the company. Employees want to know how they are doing, what they can do to be better, and what the future holds for them.

Here is a method you could use. Get out your calendar and write in a ½ hour block of time for each employee sit down each quarter for the next twelve months. On your calendar mark ten days prior to each sit down with a note to give that employee an evaluation form for them to fill out and return to you at least two days prior to your sit down. Your will review the form and add your comments (constructive comments) and a plan of action for the next quarter, year and perhaps five years to the form. When you have the sit down with the employee you will review that form together, come to a consensus of the review and plan and have the employee sign the form and provide them a copy. Regular communication about their future will provide a way for the employee to be more open about what’s up in their head. Each time you meet you will use the previous meetings form and the new form to conduct the review and plan. This process goes hand and hand with a specific blueprint for each employee’s progression within your company in career development and pay. I call it “Blueprint for Success”. Between the reviews and the blueprint the owner will have reduced much of the “Where am I going” uneasiness of the employee. There are no magic bullets but regular communication and a plan will provide a more stable environment for the employee thus reducing the chances they will seek other opportunities and be lost to your company.

If you would like a copy of a form you could use in these sit downs and a sample of a “Blueprint for Success”, email me at and I’ll send you a copy.  

Dan has been in the service industry for nearly 50 years. He has operated a large plumbing, heating and air conditioning service company and for the past 12 years has helped small companies in the service business to grow and prosper. Contact him at

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