How to Tune Up Your Staff’s Health and Keep Them Around for the Long-Haul – Jiselle Perez, Bean Auto Group

0

It’s no secret that healthy employees are more likely to have positive attitudes and more energy to complete tasks at your dealership. Healthy habits can also lead to lower insurance premiums and a reduced number of sick days. But how can dealers encourage these healthy habits? Our next guest is here to tell us. We’re pleased to welcome Jiselle Perez, Director of Human Resources for Bean Auto Group in Miami, FL, and organizer of the Tune Up Your Health Program.

Dealer Principle Lorraine Bean began a dealership-wide weight loss challenge where she herself lost 60 pounds, and overall the dealership lost a combined weight of over 300 pounds. Since then, the dealership has continued to promote healthy eating and exercise with different challenges and activities for the dealership every year. Additionally, they offer healthy snacks to their customers in their waiting rooms so that even the community can be involved in their wellness efforts. Jiselle says that these programs not only help with office morale but also help them to connect with their employees and avoid a high turnover rate; it’s a way to show them that you truly and genuinely care about them and that you are not just comparing an associate to a financial statement, but that they are really the heart of the company.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION: 

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I’d like to welcome into to CBT News, Miss Jiselle Perez, who is the director of human resources for Bean Automotive Group in beautiful probably Miami, Florida.

Jiselle Perez:
It’s Miami, Florida.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. I stand to be corrected there. So welcome into the show Jiselle.

Jiselle Perez:
Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. So you have gotten some notoriety over the last year within in automotive news and in South Florida Business Journal and other publications that have really had you as a standout among your contemporaries and your peers in the automotive and other industries for running a super healthy employee base. Talk to us about that and talk to us about the Tune Up Your Health program that you run there at Bean Automotive Group.

Jiselle Perez:
Sure. So there’s so much to say, the tune up your health program is our employee wellness initiative. And so I wish I could tell you that it consists of a weight loss challenge, or that it consists some healthy eating initiatives, but it really is just part of our corporate culture and it’s embedded in the fabric of who we are as an organization. So the program has been in place for about five years. And within those five years, it’s grown leaps and bounds, particularly the last three years. And really what made the program take off is when our theater principal Lorraine Bean committed with the employee body to a weight loss challenge where she herself lost 60 pounds.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
60 pounds? Six zero?

Jiselle Perez:
60 pounds, six zero.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow, that’s …

Jiselle Perez:
And she led that way and the associates followed because, at the end of that weight loss challenge, the combined weight loss exceeded 300 pounds.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh my gosh. That’s great.

Jiselle Perez:
Yeah, so we did it through really, education. We brought in a lot of resources, and really our most valuable partner in all of this has been Sapoznik Insurance. And so they’re our brokers, and they connect us with local resources, vendors, people that can show us that you don’t have to have an employee luncheon and serve something that is high in fat and high in carbs and something that can be better for you. So we started educating our associates on swapping out rice for quinoa. We started educating our associates on maybe skipping the barbecue, but maybe we can do the grilled chicken. And so you know, wherever there’s food there tends to be a party there. So we started throwing a lot of parties with our associates and it worked out great because the engagement component came in at that point.

Jiselle Perez:
So with the president of the company that’s a triathlete, CFO of the company is very active, works out on a regular basis, department directors also very active. It’s something that came together just very cohesively and it’s increased. So we continue to have weight loss challenges. We continue to engage our associates with healthy eating habits. We’ll bring in smoothies, we’ll bring in things that are just kinda thinking outside the box. Last year our fitness component was the Olympics. And so we had Olympic challenges, department versus department. When you get two directors together and you say, “Hey, who can do more pushups?” You know, doesn’t matter what’s going on at that moment, everything stops and, and you know, that friendly competition comes in. This year, our program as far as fitness is concerned is more geared along the lines of the Spartan Challenge. So that’s boot camp and we actually have trainers that come in and we do grand finales at the end of the year and really get everyone engaged. So it’s been a lot of fun.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And are all of these free of charge to the associates?

Jiselle Perez:
Yes, they are free of charge to the associates. We work with all of our vendors so that we cover all of those expenses. We also work closely with our carriers who are seeing the changes in the trends and in the numbers. And so we put together a program that the only thing we ask of the associates is just their commitment. If they’re committed, I tell them all the time, say, “We cannot walk for you but we’ll walk with you.”

Jiselle Perez:
And so they know that that commitment is there and many of them have taken us up on that offer.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And you carry this all the way through to the customer’s waiting room, if I’m not mistaken, by having healthy snack alternatives for the customers as well. Talk to us about that?

Jiselle Perez:
Yeah, absolutely. So our dealer principal came in one day and said, “You know, we’ve got all of these healthy alternatives for our associates. We’ve been in business, we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year.” And she says, “We’re connected with this community and we’ve got to offer some of the same things for our local community.” So the first place to start was with the waiting room snacks. And now some of the partners that we’re working with, we are also establishing different events in different avenues where they can access benefits.

Jiselle Perez:
One of the most recent ones that we were able to confirm is a mammogram van. So we are breeding a mammogram van, we do our physical examinations, we bring on doctors on site three times a year. And so we partner with Baptist Health, I’m sure you know of them from the South Florida area.

Jiselle Perez:
And so they bring out what’s called physicians on site. They’ll also do biometrics for associates and they’ll also two different types of screenings. We have angio screenings that we comes up on site for associates, we have dermatological screenings and this year we’re bringing a mammogram van, which is a portable mammogram unit.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow.

Jiselle Perez:
For all of our associates and it won’t stop there. We’re offering that to our local community and so that really helps us partner with our community and let our community know that we’re there for them as well as our associates.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
My Gosh, that’s incredible. And Kudos to you and your entire team for putting a program like this together. Speak to us about the importance of health and wellness when it comes to retaining employees. As you know, in the auto industry, you know there’s as much as a 75% turnover rate among employees at automobile dealerships. It’s something that we’ve been suffering from in the industry for many, many years. Does this kind of program help in retaining your employees?

Jiselle Perez:
It absolutely does because it allows you to connect with your associates in a way where as I said before, they know that you truly and genuinely care about them. You’re not looking 30 days out ahead of time and you’re not comparing an associate to a financial statement. They are the company. And so when you’re very focused on establishing a sound foundation with your associates and they understand how much they mean to you, then that relationship extends the employment. And so the turnover, as a result, comes down.

Jiselle Perez:
And you know, one of our key aspects of the wellness program is really awareness. We bring in as many screenings as we can conduct, as many screenings, as many have medical professionals that can just kind of think out of the box. We do antioxidants screenings, we do many things that will allow for if there is an issue or red flag to go up and then the associate would be able to look into that problem a little bit further with their medical healthcare provider.

Jiselle Perez:
And so going through that process with the associates is a process that helps you bond. And so when an associate does have a red flag that comes up and they found out about that situation in one of the wellness fairs that you do and you’re able to connect them in a very timely manner with treatment or with something that otherwise gone undiagnosed could have been potentially terminal.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Jiselle Perez:
I would say that they are very grateful for that. And for you taking the time to think beyond the standard HR capital structure or the automotive dealership structure and really look at them as a human being with needs, and be able to facilitate services for them.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
What would you say to other dealers and dealer principals and other HR directors that are listening to us today? What would your recommendation be in starting a program like this?

Jiselle Perez:
I mean, I would recommend that they start small and that they really just put their feelers out amongst their associates and see what the needs are because people respond when their needs are met.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Jiselle Perez:
And so as you begin to meet those needs you discover more needs, and that’s how the program’s evolved. And that’s how the solutions become one that you can offer collectively to an entire company. And if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it’s going to grow, it’s going to snowball, and it’s something that everybody is going to be able to take advantage of. And that’s where you see the win-win. If you do it because someone else is doing it, you may not see a take off the way that you’d like to see it succeed. But if you’re doing it because you carry a passion in order to serve your associates and really see that their wellbeing is taken care of, well you know, you’re going to see that growth.

Jiselle Perez:
I’m very pleased to work with a leadership team is very passionate about our associates, passionate about seeing our employees healthy and with a human resources department that also is equally as passionate, call them the invasion of the body snatchers. When they come out to do the health fairs, we go out into the tech bays, we go into the parts department, we go into the business development centers, into the executive offices and say, come on, you’ve got five minutes to invest in you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Jiselle Perez:
You may not have invested five minutes in yourself this entire day, but you’ve got five minutes to get an examination or screening and they walk out feeling better.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, that’s for sure. We’ll Jiselle Perez, director of Human Resources for the Bean Automotive Group in Miami, Florida. I want to thank you so much for spending the time with us today here on CBT news. We very much appreciate it. Kudos to you and continued in all of your success with your health program for your employees. Sounds phenomenal.

Jiselle Perez:
Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thanks.

CBT Automotive Network, the number one most watched network in retail automotive. This has been a JBS business media production.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here