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Workshop bonus scheme ready for restructure

Workshops in franchise dealers need to restructure the way they handle bonuses, according to motor industry consultancy Forester Grant Associates.

The company says some technicians are achieving wages in excess of £40,000 with bonuses while those working alongside them with a similar level of responsibility might be paid only half.

Tim McGing, managing director at FGA, said: "Most workshops pay bonuses based on time saved, so if a job is listed as taking three hours and the technician completes it in two and a half, they are paid more.

“There are a number of problems with this system. Firstly, it ignores the element of teamwork that goes into any good outcome and this is as true in workshops as anywhere else. No job is achieved by just a single technician in isolation but through a number of people working together.

“Secondly, it favours people who are good at particular jobs. You may have someone in your workshop who is an excellent all-rounder and a real asset but achieves little bonus, while another worker who is just very rapid at one particular job, perhaps fitting brakes or carrying out basic servicing, scoops a much larger bonus, perhaps all that is available.

“Thirdly, because of these structural problems with time saved bonuses, there is a real chance that two similarly qualified technicians who both work hard and achieve good results could be paid widely differing wages. This can obviously be very divisive.”

The alternative, McGing argues, are pay plans, which are designed to reward everyone working in a workshop proportionately.

He said: “A pay plan is a single pot of money that is distributed across the whole workshop when time is saved on a job. The largest share will probably go to the senior technicians but there will also be shares for all other roles, even apprentices.

“This means that everyone pulls together in the same direction and has a stake in any successes. Of course, there may be a member of staff not pulling their weight but the answer is not to hold back their bonus, they should instead be handled through other management techniques.

“We have now put these pay plans in place at a number of dealerships and, while the highest paid technicians sometimes lose out, the schemes produce better results as a whole across the workshop.”

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