Are Your Technicians Happy? What They're Saying About Their Workplaces and What They Want You to Do About It

Government Fleet's exclusive survey reveals how fleet technicians feel about their jobs and what makes them stay. Find out what they're proud of and what they want you to change.

October 2012, Government Fleet - Cover Story

by Thi Dao - Also by this author

At a Glance

Fleet employees who responded to the survey said:

  • 20% plan to retire within the next five years.
  • 48% feel there is no room for advancement at their job.
  • 53% said they would not or probably would not leave their organization for another similar position with higher pay.
  • 51% said they're most proud of the expertise and experience at their facility.

What keeps most government employees at their jobs? Most would say the stability and benefits, but for some government agencies, these benefits are slowly being reduced and there are increasing concerns of job security.

At a time when many public agencies are cutting back their budgets, some fleet agencies are feeling threatened by outsourcing, lowered benefits, furlough days resulting in lower pay, not to mention salary freezes. Fleet managers are worried about employee retention and the retirement of the aging work force, resulting in loss of skilled veteran technicians. So are fleet technicians happy, or do they want out? What’s keeping them at their jobs, and can you do anything about it?

Government Fleet conducted a survey in May asking fleet employees on the shop floor about their satisfaction level, concerns, and ways management can improve their jobs. One hundred and eighty qualified fleet employees from agencies in 24 states responded to the survey.

Survey results show that 86% of fleet employees enjoy coming to work most or all of the time. Yet 47% of respondents said they would definitely or probably leave their agency if they were offered another position with slightly better compensation or comparable benefits.

Benefits and job stability are the top reasons why fleet employees stay at their jobs, and only 40% of fleet employees cite compensation as a factor. Higher compensation, not surprisingly, tops the wish list for changes, with some survey respondents stating they hadn’t received a pay increase in five to six years.

The following pages go into the details of the survey, including employee suggestions, in their own words, about how fleet management can help them.

What They Like and Don’t Like

GF reached out to a few respondents who wanted to discuss their thoughts further, keeping their responses anonymous.

Fleet employees state that they enjoy their jobs and the new technologies that make their jobs a continually evolving process. “In automotive repair, nothing is a carbon copy,” a fleet technician in Texas said. “Every one of them presents a little different challenge, and I enjoy the challenge.”

Other things technicians and fleet supervisors said they liked about their operations include newer facilities, tools, and equipment if they have them.

However, the job they enjoy does take a toll. The Texas technician, who is 63, said one problem he has is the “congestion underneath the vehicles. With my body getting a little aged, it’s hard to get in there.”

As for management, he said, “they’re looking for a way to work smarter, not ­necessarily harder.” He noted that management does often know what technicians need but aren’t able to quickly acquire things such as costly up-to-date diagnostic equipment.

While management knows what’s going on in some fleets, one Southern California-based shop supervisor said: “Management isn’t really in tune to daily goings-on of the shop environment and what happens on a day-to-day basis. When there are decisions being made regarding anything that involves work environment, these decisions are being made without the input of people it actually affects.”

For full survey results, click here.

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