Our Dealer Panel gives voice to dealers, GMs and sales professionals to share their experiences — sales techniques, new technology and ways to motivate staff — giving our readers the benefit of learning from their peers.
Question of the Month
WHAT EMPLOYEE BENEFITS DO YOU FIND YOUR EMPLOYEES APPRECIATE THE MOST?
Renee Durham, General Manager, Harry Robinson Buick GMC
“We asked all of our employees to give feedback on this question. The most popular answer was ‘the people.’ Others were our training, Christmas party, Thanksgiving gift card, HRBG girls’ nights (more than a few votes for this one), the gym discount, employee of the month, promoting from within, corporate challenge, family days (go carts, etc.), potluck, bowling nights, employee discount for vehicles, birthday and anniversary gift cards, the moral and financial support when people need help and ice cream or sno-cone socials.
“Our employees are very appreciative of all the small and big things we do. Although we do a lot of things throughout the year, the thing employees thank me for the most is the Thanksgiving card I mail to them with a gift card to a local grocery store.
“Potential employees expect the standard benefits today like health insurance contribution, vacation pay and certain holidays off. It’s all the other small things we do that helps us retain employees and makes them come back to us if they leave.”
Chris Lee, General Manager, McCarthy Chevrolet Lee’s Summit
“At McCarthy Auto Group, we try to promote a culture that values a healthy work/life balance. One of the ways we have fostered this is to close all locations for every major holiday.”
Kimberly Cardinal Piscatelli, VP and Partner, Cardinal Honda
“I decided to ask our employees for help with this question. The conversations were great and reminded our employees of some of the great benefits of working on our team. The conversations reminded me of what was most important to them. The top answers all included time spent together socializing. Each year, we have an extravagant holiday party for all employees and their significant others. In the summertime, we have monthly picnics when employees are free to invite their friends and families to join us for a barbecue lunch during the workday.
“Each department is allowed to have a celebration or gathering to celebrate a milestone or goal achieved. Other popular answers included our generous personal time policy, holiday pay and an annual reimbursement for unused personal time off paid with a 10-percent premium. In the end, the coffee must be good and plentiful, but the relationships built at work keep the team happy!”
Mike Good, General Manager, Street Toyota
“Employee satisfaction and productivity go hand in hand in today’s modern dealership. Start with fair compensation. As an industry, we need to embrace the fact there are no bargains in people. Paying as little as you can get away with is short sighted. You may be surprised to learn yesterday’s bargain will soon work for someone who appreciates them and demonstrates same with ample compensation.
“The next category of benefits that occupy no line on the financial statement are respect, gratefulness and appreciation. An individual feels valued when the quality of their work matches management’s genuine feelings.
“Other benefits associates enjoy are liberal time off, flexible hours/work places and meaningful skill development. Investing in employment development and flexibility can pay rich dividends. This is a team sport. Appreciated associates directly impact appreciative customers.”
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