Do You Know If You Have Employees Looking to Quit?

employee quitting

A recent 2024 Gallup report indicated that employee engagement in the U.S. dropped to an 11-year low, with only 30% of employees enthusiastic about the company they work for. The report went on to say that 17% of workers are actively disengaged, which means that these employees go out of their way to voice their dissatisfaction in their workplace. While this news is alarming, perhaps the more telling statistic in this report is the percentage of people who are simply disengaged, a whopping 53%! The people in this group feel indifferent about their jobs and are the ones who are most likely to look over the fence for greener grass. Many have already begun their hunt for a new job. This could be your repair shop. 

For a business to be successful, requires a team where everyone is pulling in the same direction. When a high percentage of your workforce is disengaged, productivity suffers and so do profits. More importantly, disengaged workers, and especially actively disengaged workers, damage the morale of the workplace. When morale is poor, a company’s future is in jeopardy.  

The typical employee today is much different from years ago. When I was a young technician in the mid-1970s, the owner of the shop worked side by side with me, and his attitude was his way or the highway. While I am not judging the shop owners of the past, that employee management style no longer works. What also doesn’t work these days is to assume that all is ok with everyone in the shop. When the shop owner or manager is not in touch with the employees, a disconnect develops. This eventually leads to worker apathy.  

Most companies will always have engaged workers, the loyal ones, who are enthusiastic about their position and come to work each day ready to rock the world. The problem is that most shop owners don’t know how many engaged workers they have. Or how many disengaged workers there are. Your future success largely depends on increasing the percentage of engaged workers.  

If you’re a shop owner, here’s another factor to consider. There’s been a big push recently by recruiting companies and focusing on auto repair shops. Who do you think they target? You guessed it. These companies target disengaged employees because these are the easiest to snatch away from where they are working now.  

In this blog post, I will break down the reasons why some employees shut down and begin to look over the fence for greener grass, and ways to improve your workplace environment to increase your number of engaged employees.  


Why do Employees Look to Leave?

When employees become indifferent about their jobs or the company they work for, the cause is usually a lack of effective leadership. Many employees feel as if they are on an Island, all alone with minimal support from management. In a work environment like this, there is very little recognition, little communication, and no meaningful feedback on performance. These employees feel stuck, with no future or career path. Over time, these feelings break down the employee emotionally. And while the employee will come to work and perform their job, they will not go the extra mile. Innovation, creativity, and high levels of productivity suffer. 

It’s often said that money is a powerful motivator to keep people employed. I am not too sure about that. While everyone needs and deserves to earn a competitive wage, with opportunities to earn more, all the money in the world will not keep employed those who feel they have no future in their job.  

In a recent LinkedIn survey, the number one factor for people actively seeking to change jobs was for better work conditions and career advancement, not more money. The survey went on to state that most employees want to improve their skills, have a career path, and want to be aligned with the values and culture of the company. When these critical factors are not in place, that’s when people begin to look elsewhere for employment. And while they may not quit today, their heart may already be gone, and infecting the entire workplace with complacency and indifference.  

The bottom line here is that when people feel stuck in the position, with no hope for a future, or no career path, they begin to look for better opportunities at other companies. This is not to say that people decide to leave easily. It’s often a tough decision, largely because there are many unknowns. This is why many people, even though they are unhappy, hang on to their jobs, going through the motions each day at work, but contributing the bare minimum.  


How to Improve Employee Retention

Too many auto repair shops these days focus heavily on recruiting. Every company must have a recruiting process, that’s a given. However, if turnover is high, due to poor retention, this revolving door scenario will eventually damage your company. That too is a given.  

Shop owners need to focus more on employee retention. You need to look inside your company and develop the talent you have already. Not everyone in your company may be an experienced seasoned veteran. But everyone has to start somewhere. Michael Jordon, considered by many as the best basketball player of all time, did not make his high varsity team as a sophomore. Even Michael Jordon needed time to develop into a superstar.  

I hear many shop owners who spend months, even years, looking for a master technician, ignoring the young technicians they already have. Why not spend the time and energy developing the people you already have? I  know, you need to fill this position now. But months, maybe years go by before you find that perfect technician. In that time, how much could you have improved the skills of those already employed? Hiring someone to fill a position, rather than investing in your current employees, can be disruptive and cause morale issues.  

Perhaps the most important facet of improving the workplace and retention is effective leadership. Those who are familiar with me know that this is a recurring theme in everything I write about or when I make a presentation. It’s because, over the years, I have learned that leadership can be the most effective management strategy in terms of business success.  

As a shop owner, you are the leader of your company. To keep your employees engaged and prevent them from looking over the fence for greener grass requires a higher level of understanding people. Build relationships with your employees. Look to give genuine praise and reasons to recognize the accomplishments and efforts of everyone. These are powerful motivators and morale boosters.  

Leaders can enhance their employee’s performance or shut them down. Leaders who look to bring out the best in their employees will have higher retention rates, increase productivity, and profits and grow an amazing business.  



The key takeaways from this blog are about empowering people, employee development, and how this improves employee retention. At Elite, we take this very seriously. Our Elite Master’s Course for service advisors, based on integrity and honesty, elevates people to their potential. The Fly with Eagles course for shop owners and managers dives deep into developing leaders to become the best of the best, taking care of employees, and bringing out the best in everyone on their team. From Elite’s peer group Pro Service to our one-on-one Coaching, to our training programs, we promise to give you the tools that will help not only you, the shop owner, but also develop your team into superstars!  


Headshot of Joe Marconi

About the authorJoe Marconi – With over four decades of industry expertise, Joe is a seasoned professional whose accomplishments include owning and operating one of America’s most successful auto repair companies. A graduate of the Automotive Management Institute, Joe is a recipient of the CARQUEST Excellence Award, served on industry panels, and played a role in developing the ASE Engine Performance Certification test. As a former columnist for Ratchet & Wrench Magazine and co-founder of, Joe has been a keynote speaker at the Ratchet and Wrench Conference. After selling his automotive company in 2021, Joe now dedicates his time to giving back to the industry as a Top Shop 360 Business Development Coach with Elite Worldwide and serves on the board of directors for the Service Stations Dealers of Great New York. Joe, a Bronx native now residing in Patterson, New York, enjoys family time, community involvement, and pursuits such as tennis, golf, and woodworking.

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