How the best dealerships surpass the good

By numerous measures, this year's 100 Best Dealerships To Work For surpass, in worker satisfaction and engagement, dealerships that applied but failed to make this year's list.

In fewer cases, the 100 dealerships differ from each other based on their size: small, with 25-49 employees; medium, with 50-99; and large, with 100 or more.

For instance, at the dealerships that applied for but didn't make this year's list, 81 percent of employees agreed with the statement, "I can trust what this dealership tells me." Pretty good, but well below the 97 percent of employees at the 100 Best Dealerships To Work For who agreed.

Or how about: "I feel this dealership has created an environment where I can do my best work." At the Best Dealerships, 97 percent of employees responded positively to that statement. At the others: 84 percent.

And 97 percent of the Best Dealerships' staffers agreed that "I feel part of a team working toward a shared goal," vs. 84 percent at the others.

To identify the Best Dealerships, the Best Companies Group asked management about their personnel policies and such, and separately asked employees questions covering: leadership and planning, role satisfaction, corporate culture and communications, work environment, relationship with supervisor, training development and resources, pay and benefits, and overall employee engagement.

While the employees' responses varied marginally only by store size, there were a few areas in which smaller dealerships apparently try harder.

For example, 88 of the 100 dealerships on this year's list said they invite immediate family to corporate events vs. 81 percent of the dealerships that didn't make the list. But among small dealerships, 93 percent of those that made the list invite the family, vs. 80 percent of those that didn't. Among large dealerships, 80 percent of those on the list invite the immediate family vs. 77 percent of those not.

Of the small stores, 90 percent of those on the list pay bonuses to employees who refer new hires vs. 74 percent of those that didn't make the cut.

For medium-sized dealerships, it's true for 97 percent of the ones on the list vs. 80 percent of those that aren't. In contrast, just 75 percent of the large stores on the list pay such a bonus vs. 79 percent of large stores that didn't make the list.

You can reach James B. Treece at

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