Keeping Great Employees Engaged


For any company, losing employees you like can be hard to deal with in and of itself, but losing those who are high producers and great contributors to your success can seem almost devastating at times. This is especially true if they have been with you for a while and much of what they do has been taken for granted for some time. Whether it is a top salesperson who sets the mark high every month or a skilled manager who has earned the respect of employees and customers alike, it can be hard to see them go for any reason. This can be especially disheartening when they are leaving in search of greener pastures or a more challenging opportunity.

Far too often, the company is not listening or does not become aware of the discontent a high performing employee is experiencing until it is too late to turn things back and save the day.  Often, the really good ones don’t complain. They simply turn in their notice one day and let it be known that they are leaving for one reason or another. They may seem perfectly satisfied where they are until the day you hear — for the first time — that they have accepted a position with another company.

Although it may seem that compensation and benefits are the primary complaint in such employee losses, nowadays it often comes down to the corporate culture.  When it comes to losing top quality staff, the main factor often turns out to be unknown trust issues by the departing employee.

Today’s most encouraging leadership paradigms focus on personal coaching and team building as a way to generate the kind of enthusiasm and success that keep employees excited about their future.  This is not something that happens on its own but is a process that starts with dealers and managers who will lead from the front rather than drive their team from behind. Creating the right kind of work environment and getting to know your employees on a personal basis can make the difference between helping them build successful careers in your company or having a group of people who are just hired to do a job.

Establishing clear lines of communication, responsibility and authority are essential to developing a quality teamwork environment.  Understanding what specifically motivates and drives each employee and shaping your incentive programs around that understanding take time and effort.  Yet, it can make all the difference in how they respond.

Top salespeople who understand that a commission-based car salesperson is basically self-employed often view their work as building a base of lifetime buyers who will always come back to them when they, or someone they know, is in the market for another vehicle.  This kind of salesperson is extremely valuable to a dealership. Keeping them should be a major priority for any company with long-term customer relationships as their main business strategy.

While the American automotive industry is experiencing a resurgence in consumer confidence, the retail part of the business is feeling the repercussions of practicing high-pressure selling tactics for far too long.  Today’s informed shoppers know how we sell cars and they don’t like it. Dealer organizations that recognize this and accept the criticism for how they have done business in the past are turning to companies like ours to train their employees in more customer friendly no-pressure sales processes.

This is not only good for bringing your customers back again, it also plays a big part in building a corporate culture that keeps your best people from looking for somewhere else to work.  If they can build a long and lucrative career, and feel good about the work they do, they are more likely to stay with your dealership for years to come. Add competitive pay, incentives and bonuses, regular training for skill advancement and a good benefits package and you give your best employees good reasons to stay.

Today’s car buyers are looking for a dealership that will give them a professional and friendly shopping experience backed by solid support for the products and services they sell.  A big part of that is the confidence they feel when they come back to your dealership and find the same friendly and professional people working there every time they have a need for what your company has to offer.

In the same way, quality employees are looking for a company culture that recognizes and supports valued personnel with opportunities to reach their own personal goals. For some, this means a pathway for advancement up the corporate ladder.  For others, a no cap policy when it comes to how much they can make when they are doing things the right way and building customer relationships that will continue to grow and produce higher profits for the company’s bottom line.

#1 Reason:  The number one reason employees leave our dealerships and our industry is lack of recognition.  We fail to recognize our employees as an integral part of our success. We don’t say “Thank You” enough, ask for their opinions or display our true level of gratitude for the work they do.

Always remember, without our staff we have nothing and with our staff, we have everything.  The choice is yours.