Want committed employees? Treat them well, employee survey says

Peter B. Burke

In the automotive sales world, drivers are potential customers.

In my world of workplace research, drivers have a completely different meaning. My firm, Best Companies Group, measures employee engagement and satisfaction. We use that information to decide which companies make our Best Places to Work lists. In determining the Best Dealerships To Work For, we surveyed just more than 53,000 employees to find out what they thought about their employers. Those with the highest engagement levels made this list.

The big question that employers typically ask: "How can I create an environment where the employees are committed and emotionally connected?"

High employee engagement is a result of how the company is managed and how all employees are treated.

Many believe that adding benefits and hoping for the best will do the trick. It likely will not, and it will be expensive. Many say they are committed to improving the employee experience, but don't really believe in what they are doing. Those attempts also will fail. You have to believe.

In the auto sales business, knowing the ideal driver for any given car will put you at an advantage when working with a potential client. You know your driver. Now you need to know more about the person who just wandered onto the lot. What will motivate the customer to become a driver of your car?

The same holds true for employee engagement drivers. Through employee surveys we collected a lot of data. From those data we can point to the top 10 drivers that contribute to converting employees to committed and connected associates.

Our employee survey results are divided into eight focus areas used to evaluate each organization. You can see the complete survey at bestdealershipstoworkfor.com. The first seven focus areas are designed to get specific about employees' experiences and satisfaction levels, and eighth measures overall employee engagement.

Here are some survey responses by the year's 100 Best Dealerships To Work For.

We can identify which statements in the first seven categories have the biggest impact on overall employee engagement. The top 10 drivers of employee engagement in the auto dealership industry are:

1. Leaders of the organization caring about their employees' well being.

2. Being able to trust what the organization says.

3. Having confidence in the leadership of the organization.

4. Being paid fairly for the work performed.

5. Feeling valued in the organization.

6. Understanding the long-term strategy of the organization.

7. Being treated like a person, not a number.

8. Having adequate staffing levels to provide quality products/services.

9. Employees liking the type of work they do.

10. Retirement plan benefits.

Knowing the drivers of engagement is the first step, like knowing the details and features of the vehicles you sell. And as with the person who just walked onto the lot, you now need to find out what your employees are thinking and feeling.

How do you find out what drives your associates? Ask them. Those conversations will go a long way in building that connectedness that you want with your team.

Peter B. Burke is president and co-founder of Best Companies Group.

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