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Best Workplaces 2021: The Value-Added Workplace

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Owner: Aaron Glaser Staff Size: 55 Average Monthly Car Count: 300 Annual Revenue: $8.5 million Average Employee Tenure: 6.25 years

Most business’s core values are spoken or more likely, listed in the employee handbook—that’s not the case at Glaser’s Collision.

The Louisville, Ky., area MSO sports its seven core values on banners, toolbox magnets, and more at each of its locations, says owner Aaron Glaser.

“We’ve got the banners, so if somebody’s lacking, you can just point to it,” he says, adding his employees have permission to note when he’s not living up to the shop’s values. “They’re welcome to call me on my BS.”

A second-generation shop operator, Glaser and his wife, Heather, run four shops bearing the family name. He says his parents, Gene and Susan Glaser, started the business in 1986.

“We all had the same sign out front, but depending on the personalities in the buildings, they were all different.”
—Aaron Glaser, owner or Glaser’s Collision

“I started out washing cars in the summertime, I’ve spent a lot of my life in the paint shop …” says Glaser. “When we started our third location in Shepherdsville, I started that store.”

His parents are now in semi-retirement, and to best lead what they started, Glaser says he works with a business coach.

“I’m a technician at heart,” he says. “I have to grow myself to grow my business.”

From his coach came the idea to codify the collision repair shops’ core values as a way to bring together what was at the time three shops with disparate cultures.

“Each building just felt different,” Glaser says. “We all had the same sign out front, but depending on the personalities in the buildings, they were all different.”

Raising all ships

Just about two years ago, Glaser convened his managers and top technicians into two off-site meetings on separate days to identify what values mattered to them as the business’s leaders and best performers.

“It was really cool watching,” says Glaser, who expected a quick and dispassionate process and instead witnessed rugged techs arguing that if having a good attitude wasn’t a core value, the rest would all be for naught.

Though there were initially more, the group came up with seven core values for Glaser’s Collision:

  • Good Attitude
  • Team Work
  • Excellence in the Ordinary
  • Quality
  • Customer Service
  • Accountability
  • Passion

That Glaser didn’t come from on high and unilaterally implement the core values noticeably helped how they were received.

“It was one of those of those hidden benefits, we never really planned it,” he says. “Having the team develop it, it was really easy to roll it out.”

That the values came from the team, Glaser says, “helped us enforce it and teach it to other people,” making it more than a management tactic, but something experienced at the shops everyday.

“If we all live by this it just makes the business better,” he says, noting it literally has made business better.

“It’s really driven up all the business’s KPIs,” Glaser says, before pivoting, “when in reality we were just trying to create a better work environment.”

That cultural improvement has played out at Glaser’s Collision, making all the shops into more accountable workplaces.

“It makes it so much easier when everybody knows what the standard is,” says Glaser, who points out he’s currently looking to add more shops in the near term.

“I’m very fortunate to just have a phenomenal staff,” he says. “If we keep growing we can keep developing opportunities. Bring your friends along with you to make a much more fun ride.”

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