Car People Blog
Unemployment: Going Down
December 2013 ended with lower unemployment
throughout the Pacific Northwest.
United States 6.7%
This graph shows a slower recovery, but a recovery just the same.
Much like prior recoveries over the past 40 years. Funny how on a
graph it's just a blip, but in living through that blip it's not funny at all.
Well, we're past that blip now and things are looking a lot better. Time
for several years of prosperity and fun.
US Unemployment Rate 1973 to present.
Locally unemployment in some Washington State counties gets down as low as 5%.
The West Coast Leads the WayKiplinger anticipates 2.6% growth in 2014 with the West Coast leading the way. Prime industries are aerospace and high-tech coupled with increased consumer spending for planes, trains and especially automobiles plus increased travel. The NW is poised for a great year!
Five Bosses You Don't Want (Or Want to Be)
By Jack and Suzy Welch 12-9-2013
What is lousy leadership? Here are a few of the most common ways leaders can get it wrong and too often do.
The first and perhaps most frustrating way that some people blow leadership is by being know-it-alls. They can tell you how the world works, what corporate is thinking, how it will backfire if you try this or that, and why you can't change the product one iota. They even know what kind of car you should be driving. Sometimes these blowhards get their swagger from a few positive experiences. But usually they're just victims of their own bad personalities. And you and your company are victims, too. Because know-it-alls aren't just insufferable, they're dangerous. They don't listen, and that "deafness" makes it very hard for new ideas to get heard, debated, expanded, or improved. No single person, no matter how smart, can take a business to its apex. For that, you need every voice heard. And know-it-all leadership creates a deadly silence.
If know-it-alls are too in-your-face, a second kind of lousy leader is too remote. These emotionally distant bosses are more comfortable behind closed doors than mucking it out with the team. Sure, they attend meetings and other requisite functions, but they'd rather be staring at their computers. If possible, all the messy, sweaty people stuff would be delegated to HR managers on another floor. Like know-it-alls, this breed of leader is dangerous, but for a different reason. They don't engage, which means they can't inspire. That's a big problem. Leaders, after all, need followers to get anything done. And followers need passion for their fuel.
A third category of lousy leadership is comprised of bosses who are just plain jerks—nasty, bullying, insensitive, or all three. As one reader wrote us recently: "My boss is abusive, by which I mean disrespectful, finger-pointing, and sometimes even paranoid." Such leaders are usually protected from above because they deliver the numbers. But with their destructive personalities, they rarely win their people's trust. That's no way to run a business, which is why these types of leaders typically self-destruct. It's never as quickly as you'd hope, but unless they own the place, it does happen eventually.
The next type of lousy leadership is at the other end of the spectrum: It's too nice. These bosses have no edge, no capacity to make hard decisions. They say yes to the last person in their office, then spend hours trying to clean up the confusion they've created. Such bosses usually defend themselves by saying they're trying to build consensus. What they really are is scared. Their real agenda is self-preservation—good old CYA.
Which leads us to a final version of lousy leadership which is not unrelated: bosses who do not have the guts to differentiate. The facts are, not all investment opportunities are created equal. But some leaders can't face that reality, and so they sprinkle their resources like cheese on a pizza, a little bit everywhere. As a result, promising growth opportunities too often don't get the outsized infusions of cash and people they need. If they did, someone might get offended during the resource allocation process. Someone, as in the manager of a weak business or the sponsor of a dubious investment proposal.
But leaders who don't differentiate usually do the most damage when it comes to people. Unwilling to deliver candid, rigorous performance reviews, they give every employee the same kind of bland, mushy, "nice job" sign-off. And when rewards are doled out, they give star performers not much more than the laggards. Now, you can call this "egalitarian" approach kind or fair—and these lousy leaders usually do—but it's really just weakness. And when it comes to building a thriving enterprise where people have an opportunity to grow and succeed, weakness just doesn't cut it.
Surely we could go on, but we'll end here with a caveat. We hardly expect lousy leaders to read this column and see themselves. Part of being a lousy leader, no matter what the category, is lack of self-awareness. But if you see your boss here, take heart. When it's finally your turn to lead, you'll know what not to do.
Jack Welch is Executive Chairman at the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University and the former CEO of GE.
Technician Shortage –
Job Security in Any Market –
We Need Techs!
North America may soon see a severe shortage of auto mechanics, as demand grows but the number of new technicians entering the workforce wanes.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the demand for auto mechanics is expected to grow 17% between 2010 and 2020, but industry experts worry the supply of good, highly trained technicians won't keep up. The shortage is showing up now.
Some auto repair educators blame the looming shortage on a general lack of interest in automobiles among young people; others point out that even if kids are interested, it's harder for them to get started at a young age now, since most high school boards are cutting their shop class budgets. Locally, in the NW, we are seeing several high schools in a district that consolidate their automotive repair program in one location due to cost and lower enrollment. When approaching a Bellevue, WA area high school regarding a booth at their upcoming “Career Day”, a rep from UTI was informed that it would not be appropriate--“Our students are interested in going to college and post college careers”. WOW.
What they don’t realize is that a job coming out of a good Tech School is practically guaranteed. In a time when college grads stand in line for a job at McDonalds, this is clearly a realistic alternative for young people with technical and mechanical skills. And, with experience, it pays well too. Dealerships and shop owners compete for good Technicians and as demand increases, so will pay. In Texas, Master Techs are getting up to $45 per hour flat rate. Locally it’s closer to $30, but growing fast.
Answers to the problem? Not many.
~~Take good care of the Techs you have. Be competitive with pay, benefits and training.
~~Give them a good facility to work in. Clean, functional. Good support.
~~Talk to them, involve them in your business. Let them know you appreciate them.
~~Grow your own. Support a student who is in a program. Hire them when they graduate.
~~Hire a student part-time. Involve them in your training.
~~Keep track of qualified Techs that apply with you when you are not looking. Keep in touch with them.
~~Visit your local schools. Get to know the teaching staff. Participate in a “Career Day” if you can.
This is a problem that is not going to go away. We need Technicians!
So, when employers really need a Tech and craigslist is just giving them the rejects – they call Car People Agency.
Dave is our Tech specialist. He has dozens of openings he is trying to fill. Just about all employers are looking for qualified Techs.
Dave’s specialty is working with working Techs that can’t answer an ad or fill out an application on a web page. He represents them. Establishes what they can do and what they are looking for. Matches them to the right opportunity that meets their needs. And that is not an easy task. It’s a free service to Techs, as employers pay for this service.
WE NEED TECHNICIANS! If you know anyone who is looking, give them our number. We will help them find what they want, where they want it, confidentially. Placements are a win-win if done right. For over 27 years, Car People has done it right and delivered for NW employers.
We appreciate your referrals!
Law of the Garbage Truck:
One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.
My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly.
So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'
This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.' He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you ... Don't take it personally.
Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.
The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.
Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so ....
Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.
Have a Garbage-Free day!!!!
New Employees; Where to Find Them
Economic boom days again? I don't know, I'm not an economist. However, the big issue seems to be that companies cannot find the talent they need and are not willing be flexible for fear of making a costly hiring mistake. Regulations, benefits costs, orientation and training expenses have made business owners much more cautious.
At the same time, hundreds of talented candidates are looking and probably working right now, but maybe not for your competitors or even in your industry. The highly technical positions are going to be in demand of course. Up and comers stagnant at their current jobs. Graduates coming out of college looking for a career. People who are transitioning careers. There are plenty of good candidates out there--they just may not look like the candidates you would normally pursue.
Four Considerations When Searching for Talent
1) Fishing in a different pond. I remember steelhead fishing on Tokul creek. It cured me of my steelhead addiction. The river had a fisherman every 20 feet on both sides. Some caught fish, most just caught each other and got more than a little frustrated. Took all the fun out of the sport. But I learned that there are other streams and ponds. Some are over populated and under fished. Look for a market that is still slow to recover with high unemployment. Drop a hook there. You never know.
2) Consider being more flexible. Plug and Play, totally qualified people are not monitoring craigslist ads on a daily basis. Look for very talented people who only have maybe half of the requirements you are looking for. Recent estimates predict that as much as 50 percent of the jobs that will be created in the next 10 years do not even exist today. So evaluate your search formula. Do you need specific talents for this job? For some jobs, yes. For some jobs you need smart and talented people who learn and grow with your industry and have a strong potential of filling one of those non-existent jobs you will need to fill in the future. Hire talent.
3) Cultivate your own! Identify people in your organization now that show potential. Work with them. Give them the attention they need to know that you are looking at them for future growth potential. Coaching and mentoring is the key for retaining your best. Pay them right. Don’t wait for them to give notice to offer a raise. You know this, but often times I hear more about the "counter-offer" strategy for retaining someone when they are poached than about the "keeping" strategy. If managed right, they may know that they can make more money somewhere else but will stay because you are acknowledging their talents, value and potential for growth with you. This will require a set of processes and a calendar of events.
4) Call Car People – It’s what we do!
The challenge of finding great talent is only going to get harder. With new jobs, changes in traditional jobs and who knows what’s around the corner, finding people who are adaptable may be more important than specific skills. Get them while you can or watch the best be taken by your competition.
What happened to the Recovery?
A panel of economists at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars said this last that the future of the North American auto industry is so bright that we should all be donning shades.
It was happy talk, yes -- but backed by a big wad of data, said Larry Vellequette in a front page editorial for Automotive News.
For 26 straight months new car sales have been on the rise. Automakers are on track to exceed the North American production record of 17.2 million units in 2016. But with exports to growing markets elsewhere in the world ready to take off, production records are expected through at least 2020.
Forget the recovery we still keep hearing about. The Auto Industry is in a BOOM!!!
What Makes Working for You Attractive?
We know, after years of experience, that the most frequent reason a person wants to leave a job is not pay. It is a factor, but rarely the motivating factor. But what attracts a person to an employer? That is a different question. What are they looking for in a new workplace.
Oddly enough, a recent survey of over 7000 respondents by Randstad US, the second largest HR service provider in the world, shows that money is the star attraction. Actually, that would have to be money and benefits with the growing impact of medical plan costs to employees. When asked for their top criteria in selecting a new employer, their responses were:
- 66% considered income was a top consideration
- 43% felt that work/life balance was a top consideration
- 40% convenient location
- 39% financial health of the employer
- 32% flexible work schedule
Actually, that should not be such a surprise. After the recession and the years of recovery pay has not reached the pre-recession level yet. Employees can see that the economy has picked up, especially in the automotive industry. They read about it every day. But their pay has been slower to recover. My explanation to people who ask is that an employer is entitled to a profit on their business. They have a lot of money tied up and have every right to a competitive return on that investment. After the recession, during which most lost a big chunk of their investment, they have a right to recover some of their losses. But people today are becoming impatient and feel that it’s time to get pay back to where it was. A good number of employers already have, but some not so much.
My big question: Why do their percentages total 220% ?http://www.randstadusa.com/workforce360/jobs-the-economy/us-employment-data-for-may-2013/93
In his weekly Kiplinger Letter, Knight Kiplinger and his staff attempt
to forecast economic and legislative outcomes in a dispassionate,
nonpartisan way, without regard to their own or their readers’ wishes.
Award winning, highly respected perspectives that every business
manager or owner should consider as a reference on a weekly basis.
The Kiplinger Letter, Aug. 2, 2013
Auto sales are shifting into higher gear.
This year’s already-brisk selling pace will accelerate
into 2014, hitting levels not seen since the recession
and restoring a once ailing industry to sound health.
This year will finish up better than last:
15.6 million total sales vs. 14.8 million
in 2012…for the fourth straight year of growth.
What’s more, a variety of vehicles are selling well,
from compacts to full-size pickups. The only models
not selling quickly are the biggest SUVs and sedans.
And 2014 looks to be even stronger:
16.3 million, the highest volume since 2007,
when dealers moved 16.5 million cars and trucks.
Powering the rebound: Pent-up demand
from consumers who have held on to old vehicles
much longer than normal. Many would-be buyers
who steered clear of showrooms during the recession
are finally feeling confident enough to buy a new car.
Or they have no choice: The age of the average car
on the road today is about 11 years…a record high.
Automakers are helping themselves by offering snazzier and safer vehicles.
New models sport bolder exterior styling than their prerecession forerunners,
along with more amenities and electronics plus anti-collision and other safety features.
Even humble economy cars offer niceties such as leather interiors and heated seats.
Improved fuel economy is an especially potent draw for buyers. Advances
in engine tech, transmissions, wind resistance and more are boosting gas mileage.
Low-cost financing will seal the deal for many folks. Auto loan rates
as well as leasing terms are very favorable. Leasing is at an all-time high…about 25%.
Among models with top sales potential: A new version of the Chevy Corvette.
Chrysler’s new Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. A redesigned Corolla compact from Toyota.
The newly released Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks from General Motors.
And an updated Ford F-150 pickup, which figures to be a hit upon its debut next year.
While automakers cheer rising sales, they face some bumps in the road, too.
Higher fuel economy targets. So far, manufacturers have been able to comply
with federal mileage mandates without too much trouble, but further fuel savings
will come at a greater cost. So carmakers will economize production wherever possible,
including selling the same basic car in multiple countries to cut costs and car prices.
They’ll also shift more production to areas with lower wages, especially Mexico.
And thinner profit margins on new models. Large pickups remain popular…
and lucrative…sellers, but they’ll be outnumbered by smaller, car-based SUV models
that get better gas mileage and are winning over many buyers looking to downsize.
Car Sales Continue to Soar
In January the bar for US car and truck sales was set at 14.4 million cars for 2013. Then in March it was raised to 15.3. Now, in July, the projections by JD Power and the Wall Street Journal are again raised, this time to 15.9 million cars and trucks for 2013. If you consider that this market peaked in 1999 and 2000 with sales over 17 million then dipped to a low of 8.7 million in 2009, this is quite a dramatic recovery. If it hits that mark it will be the best year since 2005. And, unlike 2005, huge incentives are not driving sales.
Click here for the numbers: Historical US New Car and Truck Sales 1951 – 2012
Washington Minimum Wage Proposal:
$9, $10 or even $15 per hour?
In 1938 an act was passed in congress that set the federal minimum wage at 25 cents per hour.
71 years later it had grown to $7.25 where it remains today. Earlier this year president Obama called for a federal target of $9 per hour and Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project (NELP), wants to see it above $10 per hour. In Washington state the bar is set a bit higher at $9.19 per hour, tops in the ....
Read More in our newsletter.
Addressing Workplace Discipline
Addressing disciplinary issues is a reality for most managers.
No matter what the detail of the situation, introducing discipline can be a very sensitive and stressful process that many managers deal with in only a cursory manner or avoid altogether. However, if disciplinary issues are avoided or handled poorly, very serious problems for the organization and the individuals involved can evolve.
While disciplining employees may not be a pleasant task, it does not have to be painful and laborious. Instead, the discipline process can be a valuable tool to help employees and the company achieve success.
All managers should be trained to understand that workplace discipline should not be viewed simply as a way to punish employees.
For best results over the longer term, it is preferable to view discipline as a way to correct some problem behavior or performance issue. It should be viewed as a way to develop an employee.
In the ideal situation, discipline should be kept as positive as possible and not used in a punitive or retaliatory way. Managers should be aware that the objective of any disciplinary action is to correct the problem, the action, or behavior, not the person.
Two other important rules regarding workplace discipline are:
•The type of discipline should fit the severity of the violation; and
•Discipline should be conducted in private.
Gen “Y” the Millennials
Born 1981 – 2001
How did they get here?
Over the centuries, each generation seems to have trouble understanding the generations that follow them. And each new generation finds a way to separate themselves from prior generations. It’s a continuous cycle or process. In this last century we have more clearly defined, identified and labeled them. The current generation, Gen “Y”, also called the Millennials, are today’s attention getters as viewed by their bosses, who are mostly Baby Boomers or Gen “X”ers. A survey by beyond.com* reveals just how distant their views are regarding their performance in today’s workplace.