The Importance of Good Employees

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When talking with shop operators, I’ll often ask what, more than anything, is the biggest contributor to their shop’s success.

The answer has become so predictable that it’s almost not even worth asking: It’s the people. Without the right team, the shop would be nowhere.

I used to get a little annoyed at this, as the point of the question is to get into a discussion about the specific processes and philosophies that drive some of the collision repair industry’s great shops. But the answer of “people,” as common as it is, makes perfect sense.

Most of the business strategies we write about month after month would be meaningless without the right people to implement them. It’s why there’s a recurring discussion among shops about the challenges of finding quality staff (declining numbers of students working through trade schools aside). If anyone could do the job, there wouldn’t be any worries.

The truth is, people make or break a business. All of the individuals featured in this issue, the winners of the 2013 FenderBender Awards, recognize that. We recognize it. It’s why our awards program continues to gain traction year after year.

This is the sixth round of the FenderBender Awards, launched to recognize the finest professionals in the industry. That’s a bit vague, I know, but there’s a reason for that. The awards honor individuals working in positions spanning the industry who are deserving for a broad range of reasons.

We’ve had people win for extraordinary skills, indisputable industry influence, unmatched community involvement and a host of other achievements. There are many people doing great things in the collision repair industry and more are introduced to us each year.

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the awards program, here’s a brief overview of how it works:

We accept nominations throughout the year, forms that simply include detailed explanations of why an individual is deserving of recognition, along with specific achievements. We’ve found that nominators take the process seriously and will write the praises of candidates at length.

When the nominations process closes, the FenderBender editorial team reviews each submission and comes up with a list of finalists who are debated ad nauseam until we have winners and runners up in the following categories: Executive, Management, Shop Staff, Administrative Support and Wild Card (open to anyone who doesn’t fit in the other categories).

With as many as 200 deserving candidates to choose from, it’s a difficult process. But it’s also one of the most rewarding aspects of the job, to surprise winners and the people who thought enough of them to fill out a nomination form.

If you have a colleague or industry peer who deserves to be recognized, please let us know for next year. Nominations for 2014 FenderBender Awards will open soon.

And thank you to everyone who nominated this year and congratulations to our winners. The collision repair industry is better because of your contributions.

Jake Weyer, Editor

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