Frank Leta Honda, O'Fallon, Mo.
Automotive News -- October 18, 2012 - 12:01 am ET
At Frank Leta Honda in O'Fallon, Mo., outside St. Louis, getting fired for poor performance isn't easy.
The dealership, which is part of Frank Leta Enterprises, has a philosophy: Rather than just get rid of an underperformer, offer the person a transfer or provide the training needed to move the person into a more appropriate job.
"If we can find a position in the dealership that plays to their strength, then we're going to give them an opportunity to do that," says Stephen Brown, general manager of Frank Leta Honda's affiliated store, Frank Leta Acura.
He says if talented people are underemployed, the store tries to find them positions that match their skills.
Stephen Brown is one of three brothers in charge of the dealership group. Michael Brown runs the Honda store, and their brother Joe is director of marketing at both dealerships.
At the Honda store, the culture is built around character and personality, Stephen Brown says.
He says the company isn't always looking for a sales all-star but rather someone who can work well with the team.
"You can put the right personality in any position, sales, F&I, service adviser, and as long as they follow a certain process, they're going to be fine," Brown says.
Personality and attitude, he says, can't be obtained through training.
Like the Leta Acura store, which is a half-hour away in South St. Louis County, Leta Honda puts a lot of emphasis on rewarding good performance, through perks such as Cardinals baseball tickets.
It also gives salespeople a chance to roll the dice -- literally -- to determine what reward they get for various achievements.
The store buys lunch for workers who have to come in on Saturdays.
Another big focus is charity. Besides supporting various causes, the dealership donates $2 for every service appointment booked online.
-- Leslie J. Allen