Food for Thought

May 1, 2021 | Workforce

By Jen Wilson

Too often we don’t stop to listen to the people we surround ourselves with at work. We hire, vet and get into routines but sometimes we need to stop and listen to the ideas and thoughts of our team and of our counterparts.

When sitting down to write for Automotive Recycling magazine, I find myself thinking of multiple topics that relate to workplace development and of course to me this means training, which is my jam!

However, I don’t want to talk about training or workplaces, but rather people. Our industry is filled with some of the most diverse and interesting characters you will ever meet. We have highly educated individuals out in fields pulling parts, non-degreed but life-educated owners and between the diversity in experience, education, life skills and more, we are one big family.

We laugh, fight and banter like we are all not only old friends but family – our conferences are like family reunions. They create and solidify the shared bonds we have for one another and for our place in the world. The love of vehicles, problem-solving, money and friendship sustain and build the workplaces and companies we are all apart of; changing it one conversation at a time.

As owners, peers, partners, and managers we all need to take a moment and listen. Listen to what makes each other tick, find what gets to the heart of why any of us are here. We are all not just here to have “work,” but to have a place of belonging, shared experiences and a place to grow. Too often we don’t stop to listen to the people we surround ourselves with at work. We hire, vet and get into routines but sometimes we need to stop and listen to the ideas and thoughts of our team and of our counterparts. What is going well? What is flawed? What needs to be changed? What could be improved? If you answer “nothing” and “it’s good” – be the mirror you need and ask – “Is it really”? There is truly nothing we couldn’t do better or are we picking at the wrong things?

Technology supports our businesses and our efforts to make it more efficient. We invest money in third-party add-ons and tools that perhaps only a few people know how to use. We don’t always share knowledge amongst our teams with co-sharing roles and responsibilities. We lean on those token individuals and technology to make it all work but what happens if they are no longer around? What if their situation changes?

This past year has brought a big boom and bust to our industry. We have been booming in filling the needs of an essential business, but we have been busting when it comes to hiring, supporting and reducing stress in our teams. We are leaning more on them but are not always supporting them by taking a moment to listen – to find what needs that support and the issues that need fixing because we are going full steam ahead. So, my longwinded point – take a moment – listen to your team – put a mirror in front of each person and each role and ask – what can be better? What can genuinely help you and all of us? How can I help you?

Jen (Jencey) Wilson has been training on a major yard management system since 2004. In 2006, she created her own company, Jencey Consulting, devoted to training and consulting salvage yards. The mission is to enhance a yard‘s comprehension of their YMS product by streamlining processes and training. Armed with over 20 years of customer service and technical knowledge she has a ‘boots on the ground’ approach to looking at problems and processes. She also appreciates third-party applications created by you (the users) in the industry like Titan Online and CarbenCode while welcoming the opportunity to contribute to those organizations as well.

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