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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Bart Wilson

Bart Wilson Director of Operations, Media

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Driving Employee Engagement

Have you ever been riding in a car where you got to your destination and had no idea how you got there? Maybe you're in an Uber. If you had to describe the route the driver took could you do it?

Let's call that "passenger thinking". Because you weren't accountable for driving and didn't need to focus on the route, you didn't think about it. You were happy to let someone else take over.

It's ok to have passenger thinking when you need to get from an airport to a hotel. But his same thinking can happen with your employees, and it's dangerous. Passenger employees are just along for the ride. They aren't involved in their own failure or success. They rely on someone else (their manager? The dealership?) to drive. This isn't healthy and you need to do anything you can to eliminate passenger thinking in your organization. How can you do this?

First, set correct expectations. Encourage your employees to think about tomorrow as well as today. What do they want to do when they grow up? How can their current role help to get them there? What do they need to do (learning, performance, etc) to get there? This is a very valuable conversation to have with an employee.

Next, employee engagement is a two-way street. When setting goals, implementing new processes or initiatives, conducting 1 on 1's, make sure each of your employees knows that you need their input and feedback. This is essential because you can't read their minds. 

You may think or know exactly what each employee needs to do to improve, but you want your team to discover this for themselves. This establishes that they are the drivers of their career, and you are there to help them. This can actually help make your job a lot easier. You aren't babysitting,  but rather leading.

Another tip is to provide regular, structured feedback. I've always said that if you want me to be successful, you need to show me what success looks like. Create performance metrics for each job role and sit down with each employee monthly to review their actual numbers. This allows you to course-correct and celebrate the wins. But more importantly, you can have a conversation with them about where they are in their growth. 

Engaged employees are invested employees. They can see a clear path to success and take an active role in their development.

Quit driving your employees around. Implement a structure that allows them to take the wheel of their future.

 

Morgan Hardy

"What do they want to do when they grow up?" - I ask myself this often haha

Jason Volny

@Bart  Well said. Everything starts with a choice. And a dealership must choose to be a different place of employment for the modern workforce. Once the choice is made, you must start with your leadership team. Leadership teams all over the country are having these conversations, however, a few are actually doing something about it. Once the leadership team is onboard, ACT!

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