In today’s economic environment, there is more pressure than ever on businesses across the industries to succeed, thus making the competition fiercer than ever. With longer business hours, layoffs, and uncertainty, it can take a toll on even the highest ranking executives on a business. In the automotive industry especially, there are lower incentives, higher levels of stress, and long hours which can lead to burnout.
According to a report by Statista, over 39% of respondents stated that their workload was the reason for their stress while roughly 31% of respondents stated that people issues were the reason. Also reported within the same study was the 19% of respondents stated that juggling their work and personal lives was the catalyst of their stress, while 6% stated that it was the lack of job security.
Believe it or not, stress levels have actually decreased from 2012’s recorded results, but they are on a steady rise from 2013 to 2017. In specific, the way the automotive industry functions can be quite stressful for those that are not cut out for the job. Employees might become easily agitated or argumentative, which is never good for sales nor for the dealerships morale. If that individual is higher up in the dealership chain, that attitude trickles down and can affect the floor staff. Frequent absenteeism, late arrival, smoking heavily, consuming unhealthy or increasing amounts of food can all be indicators of stress.
But how can one or multiple employees stress levels affect sales? Sure, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction are often seen as two drastically different metrics, but they can influence each other. Employees who are less stressed and generally happier have a higher tendency to provide service that yields higher customer satisfaction.
How Does Stress Affect Your Sales?
With the American Institute of Stress reporting that 80% of workers feel stressed while at work in just 2017 alone – it can be quite alarmingly. Stress can affect at personal levels and professional levels. It usually starts on within the personal realm and then moves into the individual’s professional life. Within the personal life of the individual, stress might affect the health and productivity of your employee. Within their professional lives and your business, you might see an increase in absenteeism, lower quantity and quality of work, and a higher turnover. All of which will drive your profits down at the end.
In terms of the stressed employee, there can be various effects that occur within their own bodies on a more scientific level, such as stress causing effects in their musculoskeletal system, which means that they might start to have muscle tension. In the respiratory system, stress has been known to make it harder to breathe normally, which can be quite dangerous for those with lung diseases or asthma. The list can go on and on, which shows the actual seriousness that lies behind stress and its effects.
A study by the National Institute of Stress found that stress cost businesses upwards of $300 bn annually due to ‘stress-related’ symptoms, such as legal costs, insurance costs, medical costs, decreased productivity, turnover rates, and absenteeism.
Causes of Stress
Before we get into how to overcome stress, we have to address what causes stress with employees. There are various factors that can aid in increased levels of stress, including:
- Task designs – longer hours that need specific tasks to complete can be quite overwhelming for employees. The traditional methods of the automotive industry can also tire new and younger hires who are not typically used to that style of business anymore.
- Management Style – If the employee feels that their input or opinion isn’t making a difference, it can take a hit on the dealerships morale. Lack of family-friendly policies as well as poor communication can also cause stress.
- Hours – Dealership hours are some of the longest, that usually start from 9 AM to 9 PM, usually six days a week. Now if an employee is working five or six days, that means they are working somewhere from 60 to 72 hours a week. There are some dealerships that are open longer than 12 hours, with timings like 7 AM to 9 PM, six days a week.
- Interpersonal relationships – lack of support from supervisors and colleagues, as well as a poor social environment.
- Career concerns – lack of promotion, advancement, and growth, rapid changes, and job insecurity.
The first step to resolve a problem is to identify it. If you are able to identify the cause(s) of stress for your employees, it’s more likely that you’ll actually be able to do something about it.
How To Overcome It?
The best way to overcome the issue is to stop the problem before it even happens, which means that it won’t have the chance to affect the performance or health of the employee. Some helpful tips to follow are:
- Ensuring that the workloads assigned or expected of workers are in line with their resources and capabilities
- Design and create ways in which their work provides them with stimulations, meaning, and opportunities for them to showcase their skills.
- Clearly define their responsibilities and roles.
- Ensure that they are given the opportunity to participate in actions and decisions that affect their jobs.
- Improve and develop communication platforms to increase future employment and career development.
- Ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for social interactions between the workforce.
- Work with the employees to create work schedules that are fair.
- Encourage physical exercise and fitness by offering discounts to local fitness facilities.
These are only a few simple ways that your dealership can improve and decrease stress levels. However, you should also remember that a little stress can be healthy as it pushes the individual to work hard and get the task at hand done properly. If stress has become a large problem at your dealership, it might be helpful to start an assistance program that allows employees to have space to get professional counseling done confidentially.