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Like many in the automotive field, Casey’s Automotive owner Bryan Jewett started at the bottom — but he didn’t stay there for long.
“I started as a janitor at a shop and worked my way up,” he says. “Each level that I got to, I just wanted a little more, and eventually found myself here at Casey’s.”
Working closely with the original owner of Casey’s, Bryan was mentored into an advisor and eventually a manager. Then, after working at a couple other shops along the way, he found his way back to Casey’s where he worked out a deal to purchase the business. “Emotionally and time-wise, to say I was in love with the shop,” Bryan says, “that’s really an understatement.”
But even the deepest love doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges. From managing employees to creating a team that works to its full potential, Bryan knows a thing or two about overcoming workplace obstacles. “Being a manager and advisor is a totally different world than being a shop owner; there’s so much more you take on,” he says.
Here, Bryan shares his top three tips for successfully managing employees as a first-time shop owner:
1.Recognize Differences — and Make Them Work for the Business
“We have a wide range of employees here at Casey’s, from age 18 to 62 years old, so the challenge is always to bring everyone together and get that team of employees to gel,” says Bryan. “What has grown our business the most has been overcoming those challenges.”
To do this, Bryan says they don’t focus on the age differences between employees or varying work styles, but instead on what each individual employee brings to the table. “We can’t all be superheroes in every aspect of our job,” Bryan says. “Having a team that works well together with multiple positive attributes to provide — you can make a lot of people happy and get a lot of new customers that way.”
2.Develop a Clear Mission Statement
“I had everyone involved in writing our mission statement,” says Bryan. “What I found was, no matter their age, everyone pretty much had the same needs for employment: job security, opportunities for growth — whether it be getting that next raise or educating themselves so they can grow in their job — and a really enjoyable place to work.”
At Casey’s, the goal as a shop is to bring a car in, find out what the customer’s pain is with the car, diagnose the problem, educate the customer and let them make the decision on how they want the team to proceed, and get the car back to them as soon as possible. “If we do that well, then all those things that are important to my employees — the job security, the opportunity for growth and this being a good place to work — will happen as a byproduct. We’ll be able to grow and succeed.”
3.Invest in Your Team
Perhaps most importantly, Bryan suggests providing a work environment where employees can grow into creative thinkers who come up with solutions to problems. “There is no question,” he says, “within the culture here, we promote, we reward the guys working as a team. When my older generation is out here and kicking butt and fixing cars and they run into a problem, my younger guys are right there YouTubing it and using everything they can to find new information. The two groups working together — it’s like an unstoppable force.”
Ready to meet the full Casey’s Automotive Team? Check them out here.