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Employee Retention in the Automotive Dealership


I have been writing a lot about how employers can find employees in the hiring stage, and recently had a few comments about the difficulty in keeping  quality staff once they are found.

For the next few days there will be a series of posts about creating the environment and culture that helps retain employees.  This post is a frame work and in the subsequent days there will be a more in depth blog post for each individual piece of the puzzle.

Retention is all about one thing, relationship.  Relationships are all built on one foundation, shared commitment.  Commitment happens when people share a vision of acting together in the future.  Communicating a clear vision to share with your employees is the key to creating this lasting bond.

Here are the elements and topics of communication:

Mission Statement – This is your opportunity to define the overarching path for the dealership.  The best mission statements include; what it does for the clients, what it does for employees, and what it does for ownership.  This can be stated in one up to a couple of sentences that define a topline business strategy.

Core Values – These values are the foundation on which we perform all work and tasks within the dealership.  While tasks and products may change for a company, core values are a constant that guides all our activities.  These values are the basic elements of how we go about completing our mission.

Job Responsibility Guidelines – Job responsibility guidelines are the tasks, skills, needed equipment, knowledge, and relationships necessary for a position to fulfill their individual part of a mission statement.  Core values govern the way we go about putting the job responsibilities into action.  These should be living documents that meant to challenge employees.

Compensation Plans – This follows the old axiom, “You get what you pay for”.  Compensation should be designed to encourage employees to excel in the company’s mission, values, and their own job description.  Match bonus programs up with your true stated goals.

Business Plans with Evaluations – Success happens when planning meets energy.  Business plans are a quarterly road map of not only what is going to be produced, but also how we are going to attain our goals and vision.  Employees should generate their own plan, otherwise they will never take true ownership of enacting it.  The evaluation is a quarterly review of this plan that allows management to give insight as to possible improvements, suggestions on actions to take to achieve the quarterly plan, and a look at the previous quarter for learning moments.

Each of the days going forward I will post a detail on creating and communicating each of these elements.  

Feel free to connect with me for more personal direction, and definitely comment if you can share and help others :-)

Michael Crain
I believe that retention starts with the quality of people your hiring and the training they receive and the on going training from the dealership. In training the pay plan is always explained. What is not explained is how you can make 6 figures in 3 to 5 years by staying at your dealership. The third year you will get a few repeat customer by the 4 and 5 year you should be getting 30 to 50% repeat customer. The 5th year they should be selling 25 units a month. Managers should spend 2 to 4 hours a week roll playing with the sales team. Now you have consistency, you have improved relationships and built loyalty. The sales team as well as everyone in the dealership needs to see that they care.

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